[ UPDATED Senator McConnell has officially come out against earmarks:“Today, I am announcing that I will join the Republican leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress,” he said].
Senator Mitch McConnell (R- KY) is said to be working to undermine an effort at banning earmarks in the US Senate. This is not surprising. Senators, as a rule, abuse the privilege more. And while appropriations of this nature amount to a fraction of the total budget, it is an impressive fraction that rarely serves the interests of anyone more than the Seantor themselves.
Was it Carol Shea-Porter, 2012 congressional candidate in waiting who said that earmarks are necessary so that the state can get back it’s fair share of the federal taxes it’s residents pay? Or was that Hodes? Does it matter? Sure, congressman abuse them as well, even those who swear they have sworn them off.
Earmarks are opportunities to benefit specific constituencies. They are little more than bribes for future votes. They also demonstrate a lack of trust on the part of the representative in the state they are supposed to represent. If all they wanted to do is ensure that the federal dollars we send to DC provided some equal value to the state that pays them they would act diligently to ensure that the Federal government did not take more than it needed for its few and limited responsibilities. (No one will ever accuse a New Hampshire Democrat of that.)
Any extra money, if such existed, could then be returned by congress to the state and distributed at the discretion of the state legislature which is most certainly more in tune with local needs and more accountable to the people whose dollars these actually are.
But that would never work for a democrat, and history has show very few politicians of any stripe able to avoid the temptation. And a temptation is it. And being human we should know best that mankind is weak, and prone to lapses, particularly with power and other peoples money.
So the best recourse is to simply end the practice and replace it with a more efficient one. Leave the money in the state in the first place.
To that end, perhaps you will feel compelled to send a message to Senator Mitch McConnell, to let him know how you feel about the earmark process, and how he might better serve the nation by working to keep those dollars at home instead of managing how they get filtered through the hands of federal legislators, always prone to moments of weakness.