Thursday, March 12, 2009

Earmark Hypocrites

There's something to be said for John McCain railing against earmarks. And he has every right to complain about wasteful spending tacked on to a budget that would bring monies home to certain districts. After all, McCain had not attached a single earmark to the bill, whether as a solo project or in conjunction with other Senators.

But what about some of the others that have taken the opportunity to take the stage, have the vapors and shake their fists in a rage over the outrageous "pork"?

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) “...At a time when so many American families are tightening their belts to make ends meet, Congress should be as equally committed to living within its means."

Senator Bayh had $1,118,000 worth of earmarks in the bill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "The bill costs far too much for a government that should be watching every dime."
Senator McConnell had $51,186,000 worth of earmarks in the bill.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (R): "Each and every time, whether a Republican or Democratic initiative, I have refused to go along with big government spending or big government solutions."

Senator Inhofe had $53,133,500 worth of earmarks in the bill.

Of the 35 Senators that voted against the bill, 28 of them had solo earmarks included in the bill. Of those 28 Senators, 27 were so-called "fiscally conservative" Republicans and only one was a Democrat.

Here's the list:

Barrasso (4 earmarks, $2.7 million)
Bayh (4 earmarks, $1.2 million) -Democrat
Bennett (23 earmarks, $18 million)
Brownback (21 earmaks, $12 million)
Bunning (5 earmarks, $735,000)
Burr (3 earmarks, $1.3 million)
Chambliss (7 earmarks, $4.3 million)
Collins (1 earmark, $380,000)
Corker (1 earmark, $760,000)
Cornyn (5 earmarks, $2.5 million)
Crapo (1 earmark, $100,000)
Enzi (5 earmarks, $1.7 million)
Graham (14 earmarks, $9.5 million)
Grassley (8 earmarks, $350,000)
Gregg (19 earmarks, $10 million)
Hatch (7 earmarks, $700,000)
Hutchison (35 earmarks, $9.9 million)
Inhofe (34 earmarks, $53 million)
Isakson (2 earmarks, $1.4 million)
Kyl (3 earmarks, $5 million)
Lugar (10 earmarks, $3.3 million)
Martinez (8 earmarks, $18.8 million)
McConnell (36 earmarks, $51 million)
Roberts (11 earmarks, $2.2 million)
Sessions (12 earmarks, $4.3 million)
Thune (6 earmarks, $4.3 million)
Vitter (16 earmarks, $4 million)
Voinovich (6 earmarks, $13.5 million)

Total: $234 million. This is only for solo earmarks. This doesn't include co-sponsored earmarks that account for about $7.7 billion in spending.

But here's the thing: earmarks aren't necessarily a bad thing. You need that bridge repaired in your district? Want to add speed bumps by the grade school? Does the park that has fallen into disrepair need an overhaul to detract undesirables from loitering and provide a much needed playground in the area? All those are worthwhile items and earmarks can provide federal funding for certain needs that can't be afforded by local government revenues.

So why flip out over the earmarks and call them pork and wasteful spending? Well, how else to pose as a fiscal conservative and have soundbites ready for your next campaign commercial? How else are you suppose to show your Republican outrage at the way Washington works, wag your finger at President Obama and accuse him of not keeping campaign promises?

Speaking of campaign promises, let's get back to Senator McCain. Unless you live in a cave, you've probably seen the 15 second loop of McCain on the Senate floor waving his freak arms and shouting, "So much for the promise of change, Mr. President. So much for the promise of change" and all too stiffly, as if reading stage direction, slamming the bill with his hand. Well, like I said, McCain can argue against earmarks because he hasn't signed on for any, even though he can let other politicians in his state do the dirty work to the tune of $54.6 million in earmarks for Arizona.

But let's not confuse who made what promise. It was Senator McCain, while running for President who said he'd "make famous" the procurers of earmarks while waving his magic Sharpie™.

That was your promise, Senator McCain, not President Obama's. Besides the fact that your outrage at the earmarks this year account for less than 2% of the total bill. Are you saying that we can balance the budget with a 2% cut? I think I'll leave the economics to the professionals instead of listening to Mr. The Fundamentals Of The Economy Are Still Strong.

President Obama promised transparent earmark reform and to scale back earmark spending to pre-1994 levels, when the Republican Party took over control of Congress. That year, Congress spent $7.8 billion on earmarks. The new $410 billion Omnibus bill? $7.7 billion in earmarks. Mission accomplished, if you will. Next year we plan to see the remainder of his promise to make all earmarks transparent and accessible.

1 comment:

Texan For Fiscal Sanity said...

Kay Bailey Hutchison is my Senator, and now she wants to be my Governor. I say HECK NO! Rick Perry is a solid fiscal conservative, so why would we want to mess with Texas and pick a big porker like Kay Bailey?