One half of one percent of all government spending is in earmarks. To quote a famous Congressmen, “You Lie!”, or more correctly, that number hides the real truth of earmark spending. In a CNSNews article, Chris Johnson demonstrated the math:
The $16.5 billion in earmarks identified by CAGW equaled 0.48 percent of overall federal spending in fiscal 2010 and 1.28 percent of the deficit. The $11.1 billion in earmarks identified by OMB equaled 0.32 percent of overall federal spending and 0.86 percent of the deficit.
So there is corroboration of the pure fact, but it is the veiled truth that is more important. Earmarks are not a major issue as a pure percentage of federal spending. Earmarks are an issue because they tend to force a yes vote on larger spending bills even though the larger spending bill may not be in the best interest of the nation. This is how “no” votes are turned into “yes” votes, the sponsors of the bill give favors to the dissenters in the form of pork barrel spending, pet projects, earmarks, or whatever else you want to call them.
Probably only because he has already lost his seat, Senator Lemieaux makes the point using a colorful addiction analogue:
Outgoing Republican Sen. George LeMieux calls earmarks “the gateway drug to ever-growing spending.” ..
LeMieux spokesman Ken Lundberg said that while earmarks comprise “maybe 1 percent of federal spending,” they are an “enabler for more government spending.”
The current Omnibus spending bill is an excellent example that may be undone due to voter outrage more than the scruples of our Representatives in the House. The actual spending bill is gigantic – 1900 pages. The monstrosity reads like a Christmas wish-list directly from the progressive left-wing extremist Tides foundation. Here is a some of what is found in H.R. 3288 (House Version of the Omnibus bill):
- $1 Billion in additional spending for health care reform
- Renews a federal loan guarantee program for steel companies (Steelworkers union gift)
- Permits detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be transferred to the U.S. for trial, but not to be released (ACLU gift)
- Calls for federal worker pay increases averaging 2 percent (SEIU gift – so much for Obama’s deficit reduction panel)
- $150Million subsidy to airlines (gift to multiple unions)
- $25Million in the “energy innovation fund”
- Guarantees for $400Billion in mortgages – why is the government in the business of guaranteeing mortgages?
- $31Million for minority business development – if the government belongs in this at all, why isn’t this just part of a “small business development” initiative, regardless of race
- $1.5 Billion for “..expenses necessary for the administration of pardon and clemency petitions and immigration-related activities” – wouldn’t it have been cheaper to stop them at the border?
- An additional $730Million for the care of illegal immigrant children (that’s more the $2.2 billion for illegal immigrants after they get in the country)
- $2.2 Billion for Federal Student Loans and grants including:
- $234Million specifically for Howard University
- $178Million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- Billions of dollars in foreign aid spending including:
- $394Million in spending for foreign aid to be spent at the discretion of the President
- $1.2 Billion for international development (foreign business assistance)
- $300 Million for foreign clean technology development
- $75 Million for international climate studies (global warming)
- $4.7 Million to the inter-American development bank (Latin American and Carribean economic and social assistance)
- $105 Million for Asian development fund
- $155 Million for African Development fund
- $30 Million for international agricultural assistance
- $1.3 Billion for “assistance to Egypt”
- $238 Million to assist Lebanon
- $503 Million for the West Bank and Gaza (Palestine)
- $1.26 billion for Climate Change and Environment (global warming)
The omnibus spending bill also increases discretionary spending by $17Billion. It increases overall spending by about 10 percent and does so with the above gifts to the progressive left. While everyone is focused on the pork in this bill, what about the frivolous, discretionary spending?
This bill has one goal: insure that the extreme left-wing agenda is not exposed to spending cuts in the 2010 budget year. The progressives need to get this bill passed so that when Congress moves to the right in January, their pet programs are not immediately sacrificed.
Ear marks are the hand in front of Americans faces while the other hand is concealing the real aim of this legislation. This bill should not be killed simply because it has earmarks in it, it should be killed because it is exactly the kind of unnecessary spending that Americans voted against in November.
The ear marks are not dangerous because they are expensive. They are dangerous because they are intended to bribe an otherwise fiscally-sound no vote into becoming a cajoled “yes” vote. That is precisely how irresponsible spending bills such as this one get passed. If ear marks were banned, bills like this would never stand a chance. The one half of one percent is the truth in front of the lie.