Friday, November 12, 2010

Stop the Earmarks - America has Spoken

The Daily News Record: Editorial Opinion

Actually no. Not nearly so fast.  America has responded to a bad economy and lots and lots of hubris from those who only seek to regain power.  America has sheepishly (Really Mad Sheep... I'll admit) responded once again with a "wave" election that seeks to fruitlessly "throw the bums out." Not much will change.  I do hope that the earmark process can be brought under control though.

The earmarks that get a bad name are in the form of kickbacks to cronies, bribes to wealthy constituents or "pay for play" money channeled in and out of congressional offices. The issue is more  of Congress policing itself through ethics enforcement than curbing the legitimate use of the House funding authority. That's a much harder issue to demagogue when all Republicans are required to march lock-step and view their political mission as all out warfare against Democrats. I conjecture that lots of those shady deals and bribes in the form of earmarks are simply funding the "battle" in the view of those who use them.  

The earmarks that come back to congressional districts as "bacon" are not the congressional excesses that most Americans are objecting to. Let's talk about junkets overseas to proselytize dictators, or Cold War weapons systems that are kept around as jobs programs, or subsidies and bribes in the form of tax breaks for the wealthiest citizens, or, most especially, the imperialistic warfare waged in foreign countries that represent no threat to our national security.

This little sliver of the budget Mr. DeMint and our editor are so willing to nobly slash represents the government working for it's citizens. Check our own representative, the good Republican Mr. Goodlatte's, "bacon" that he's brought to our district through earmarks. Here's just a small sample:
"For example, Goodlatte’s fiscal year 2008 earmarks included $294,000 for the Wayne Theatre Alliance in Waynesboro for renovations to the Wayne Theatre, $245,000 for renovations to a historic theater at the Lynchburg Academy of Music and $245,000 that Goodlatte says was used to make street improvements to the historic market in downtown Roanoke." (source)

Even Mr. Goodlatte, who would like to reform the process, is still in favor of using the earmark process to do good things for the citizens of his district. He realizes that some of his colleagues abuse the privilege but he also realizes that it is one way he can represent his constituents in a direct, meaningful way. In this area, he's doing a good job.  Here's a question for our editor, "Is even Mr. Goodlatte now too liberal for you sir?"

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