McCain and Earmarks
by Rense Johnson, Chairman
Citizens for Term Limits … for a fresh Congress!
March 12, 2008
A clear explanation of an often misunderstood subject:
In a TV interview yesterday, Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain clarified a term that has been bandied about, which the public has only a vague notion of its meaning: earmarks. It is indeed a public service.
As McCain explained it, an earmark is an expenditure from the national treasury that has not been through the regular legislative process. One could say—manufactured out of thin air
It has not been properly authorized by going through the regular committee or committees where it is debated and refined in committee before being reported out of committee to the full House of Representatives or Senate to be voted on.
Earmarks bypass that formality, because a politician (of either party) wants to look good to his constituents, damn the consequences to our national debt, or to the just plain ethic of thrift. (We are now looking at the cumulative generational consequences of congressional indifference to that virtue, as we shudder at the final consequences.)
The fact that President Obama chose not to veto the recent spending bill, containing close to 9,000 earmarks, shows that he doesn’t give a flip about his promises to cut unnecessary spending. And why should he, when earmark pork has become a way of life in our devil-may-care, devil-may-spend Congress. His word means nothing to him.
I have heard Democrat Senators claiming that it is their right to insert their own earmarks into the mix because it helps their state!
To be fair, many Republicans have the same attitude. Witness Mississippi’s Senator Thad Cochran, ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, who has collected $774 million worth of earmarks in 12 spending bills. Why? To show his clout.
McCain points out that earmarking is a growth industry (albeit an expensive one): In 1991 there were only 543 earmarks, compared to the close to 9,000 in jut one bill today.
It was Human Events that referred to the porkers as “earmarxits”!