Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some folks just don’t get it. Jim Inhofe won’t swear off earmarks


Politico: Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe is going down swinging, insisting he’ll still send earmarks to his state even though his fellow Senate Republicans are poised to adopt a two-year ban on pet projects.
“I'm going to look out for my state of Oklahoma,” Inhofe told POLITICO. “Obviously, that's what the Constitution says I’m going to do, and I'm going to do it. Let's keep in mind this is over. I'll be the last conservative standing.” [MORE]
Could someone please explain to Mr. Inhofe that with a $3.8 trillion budget where $1.4 trillion must be borrowed, there simply isn’t any bacon to bring back to your state.  I have to blame Mitch McConnell for this one.  Simply put, McConnell just does not have the cajones to keep Republican senators in line.  How I wish Jim DeMint would have taken over.  DeMint would not be afraid of punishing wayward Republicans who refuse to get the message that there is no business as usual.
Perhaps Tea Partiers in Oklahoma can sent a clear message to Inhofe that they disapprove of his stance.  Kind of like how Ben Nelson got slammed for the same thinking when he cut the Cornhusker Kickback deal.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

2 words: Incumbent republican.

Roll eyes til eyes bleed.

2nd Anony

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

While earmarks represent a very small part of the budget (less than 1%, I'm told), they are in fact a very important symbol of what is totally wrong in Washington. Mr. Inhofe deserves to be castigated and big time for this.

Nick Rowe said...

I cannot speak for Inhofe because I don't know exactly what's on his mind.

The issue with earmarks isn't that the federal government spends money on projects which benefit people in certain states and districts. The problem is that each Congressman and Senator is given a slush fund of federal tax dollars to "bring home the bacon." In an effort to be "fair" to all elected representatives and districts, Congress commits too many dollars for too many projects.

This is a symptom, not a cause of our budget woes and political corruption.

The federal government used to be prohibited from direct taxation until passage of the 16th Amendment. Prior to that, states paid taxes to the government proportional to the number of citizens it had.

After the 16th Amendment, the federal government cut out the middleman and taxed citizens directly. Since the Civil War, the federal government also expanded its powers well beyond the Specified Powers in the Constitution.

So pork barrel projects became the only way for states to recover some of the money which was being drained from them. Relatively poor states (like Oklahoma) rely heavily on federal expenditures, particularly for large projects such as dams, roads, bridges, and rural electrification.

As long as we continue to have direct taxation and a federal government growing beyond its limits, there will always be a desire for states to claw back money. This is why they feel entitled to earmarks.

A temporary ban on earmarks is political theater. When the crisis is over, the earmarks will resume and Republicans will break their word as they did the last time they held Congress. Maybe, just maybe, that's precisely what Inhofe gets.

Until we reign in the powers of the federal government, push power and money back down to the states and municipalities, and end redistributive taxation, the pressure for earmarks will never end.

And frankly, they shouldn't end. I don't support mortgage interest deductions, energy tax credits, government student loans, government subsidies for housing, etc, but as long as my tax dollars are being ripped away from me, I'm going to claw back every dollar to which I'm entitled. I won't necessarily dance to government's tune, but I won't leave money on the table out of some perverse sense of principle.

If I were a Congressman or Senator, I wouldn't want vote for a temporary earmark ban either. I'd vote for a permanent ban along with large tax cuts and a retreat of the federal government from local interests.

If the temporary ban is just a bridge to the next election where Republicans hope to control both chambers of Congress and the presidency, then I could probably swallow it for now. But if Republicans don't permanently end earmarks, they will again lose the confidence of their base and the moderates who switched sides.

Just a conservative girl said...

We were in his office yesterday. His staff gave us a lesson on how the earmark system works. One issue being that the president can start spending money out some sort of discresionary fund, which of course conservatives don't want. My question was how is it constitutional that they president has this fund? That they couldn't answer. We went to every republican office yesterday in the senate. The one thing that I found very funny was Thune being interviewed earlier today used the same line that we talked about yesterday in his office. We were saying that these earmarks are used to bribe members to give tough votes and that is why we want them banned. So I guess with about 1K tea partiers in his office yesterday he must have gotten it. It is one of the first times that I felt like my many trips to the hill accomplished something.

Anonymous said...

Just a conservative girl: you go girl!!

@Nick: Right on. I support repealing the 16th, that will solve MANY of our issues, namely: the ever fattening Fed government.

Earmark is not distributed fairly, some states never get back remotely close to what they had paid in tax. So while it's a way to "get some back," it comes at the expense of other states. It becomes welfare for the states and forms a reliance to the Fed gov for many basic functions of the state government ["do this, or you never get fed money for your high way, which you paid for"].

Banning earmark is more of a symbol of what it represents, not the solution. We would want them to stop other forms of wasteful spending. Many programs are intertwined with each other, sometimes it doesn't hurt to say "screw it" and just get a knife and cut out off...

2nd Anony

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