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The Truth about Earmarks

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posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 02:11 PM
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During the 2008 presidential elections, Senator John McCain made numerous comments regarding the “wastefulness” of pork barrel spending (aka earmarks). In one nationally televised debate, he made it a point to say to the crowd, rather defiantly, “Any bill that crosses my desk as President of the United States filled with any amount of pork will immediately be vetoed and sent on its way.”

However, Senator McCain is not the only Republican vowing to vote against pork barrels. John Boehner, House majority leader from Ohio, often boasts about the fact that he often never asks for earmarks for his district. This fact is even shown on his website..

As a Libertarian, I have attended many political rallies and speeches, and at most of these events, there always seems to be at least one individual holding a sign reading something along the lines of “Cut Government Spending: Say NO to Pork Barrels!” And every time, I have to shake my head in disappointment.

The fact remains that most Americans DO NOT understand earmarks. Most Americans believe that earmarks are added to the annual budget, when in reality, they are already appropriated. In other words, each year, the federal government sets aside X dollars to be used as earmarks (=money spent towards a representative's district). The money that is not used for earmarks are given back to the federal government/administration in power to be spent however they please. Wanna know where this gets fishy? The federal government/administration does not have to report the way they spent that money to Congress.

If earmarks, or "pork barrels" as Mr. McCain is so fond of calling it, are so bad, then why does Congressman Ron Paul, heralded on this website and throughout the nation as one of the true fiscally responsible individuals left in American politics, believe that we need to earmark every penny?

I'll let him explain:


Contrary to popular belief, adding earmarks to a bill does not increase federal spending by even one penny. Spending levels for the appropriation bills are set before Congress adds a single earmark to a bill. The question of whether or not the way the money is spent is determined by earmarks or by another means does not affect the total amount of spending.


The rest of this speech, given on the floor of Congress, can be found here.

Here is a good video of the good doctor trying to explain the earmark process to Neil Cavuto:



Here is another video of Dr. Paul anwering a question about earmarks from an individual who obviously doesn't understand earmarks:



As I stated earlier, I am a Libertarian. I understand that massive government spending is wrong, and I do believe that there needs to be a reform to the earmark process. However, judging a Congressman/Senator on the amount of money they spend on their district is often overblown.

I guess there are many questions I am asking with this post.

- If John McCain and John Boehner understand the earmark process, which we can all assume they do, why do they continually vote against bills that they believe to have too much pork? Is it because they know most Americans do not understand earmarks, thusly they are simply trying to keep up "conservative" appearences? Or are they voting this way to make a point, when really they are aware that the money is going to be spent anyway?

- What do you think should be done about earmarks? What, to you, is an example of earmark reform?

Now let's move on to the discussion.




posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 03:20 PM
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To my understanding, earmarks are the means by which expensive projects that would benefit only a few states get passed, when if they were voted for on their own merits would never come to be, due to the majority of states receiving no benefit from them, just incurred costs. As at least a few of those projects are necessary for the states in questions,

The earmarking process could be removed from the bills. Instead some amount of earmark funds would go to the individual states in question, with the remainder being held by the federal government where the senate and senate alone, or senate appointed body, would hold an auction style voting process to get the rest of it allotted. I say senate as this will prevent the large and/or prosperous states from soaking up the majority of the earmark fund, as would happen if congress also got involved



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 03:42 PM
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reply to post by Judge_Holden
 


yes, I've know these facts for a while and it does disturb me that people are advocating for more executive control over spending.

In todays day and age, I'm surprised the charade is allowed to go on like it does.

I think earmarks are used as a propaganda tool by all parties as a way to say they are against "pork" - while at the same time still being in favor of pork.



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by mnemeth1
 





it does disturb me that people are advocating for more executive control over spending.


I couldn't agree with this more. What I find to be even more disturbing is the fact that many people (citizens, at least) aren't even aware that they are advocating for more executive control over spending. However, we can assume that people like John McCain and John Boehner are.




I think earmarks are used as a propaganda tool by all parties as a way to say they are against "pork" - while at the same time still being in favor of pork.


Agreed



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 04:10 PM
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Even Ron Paul said it.

"Most earmarks are wasteful"

The bills I have skimmed through lately are bad enough to vote against, nevermind the pork.



'nuf said.




posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 04:28 PM
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reply to post by havok
 


And I wouldn't disagree with him on that statement.

However, Mr. Paul also said that "the money is going to be spent anyways, why not give some of it back to the constituents?"

I believe that Mr. Paul meant that some of the money is spent on silly things, like duck crossings, cell phones for the elderly, etc, etc. But again, the money is going to be spent anyway. There is a given amount appropriated in every bill. The amount that is left over is sent back to the federal government/Obama administration, and that money is spent however they please, with NO oversight.

As Mr. Paul said, as long as there are earmarks, it is the responsibility of the Congress to spend every penny. Not most of it, or some of it... Every penny.



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by mnemeth1
 


I have posted on a few of your threads, and we have commented back and forth so I know where you stand in the anarch-capitalistic way of though, so I wanted to ask you a question:

From an anarcho-capitalist viewpoint, what is your solution to earmarks? What kind of reform would you like to see?



posted on Dec, 22 2010 @ 08:49 PM
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Just wanted to give this thread a bump. This will be the only one



posted on Dec, 23 2010 @ 06:25 AM
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Originally posted by Judge_Holden
reply to post by havok
I believe that Mr. Paul meant that some of the money is spent on silly things, like duck crossings, cell phones for the elderly, etc, etc. But again, the money is going to be spent anyway. There is a given amount appropriated in every bill. The amount that is left over is sent back to the federal government/Obama administration, and that money is spent however they please, with NO oversight.

As Mr. Paul said, as long as there are earmarks, it is the responsibility of the Congress to spend every penny. Not most of it, or some of it... Every penny.



See, unlike Paul, I don't see the necessity of even spending the money in the first place.
Like you said, and Paul, I think we all agree it can't be stopped.

But there lies the problem...
If we cut ALL unneccessary spending to begin with, we would have a start.
I don't believe in little earmarks.
Gov't should NOT be handing over tax money to anyone that asks.
That seems to be business as usual.

I bet if we ended all frivalous spending from every bill, we'd save a ton of money.

But you never see anyone even remotely mention that.
As if it was planned that way.

I have a huge issue with the way CONgress uses tax money.
Huge.



edit on 23-12-2010 by havok because: Added code



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