Comments about ‘In our opinion: Tackling earmarks again’

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Published: Friday, Nov. 19 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

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UrbanForester
South Jordan, UT

I am so sick of the congressional distraction about earmarks. Eliminate all of them and you don't even scratch the total of government spending. Taking chunks out of our largest expenditures and working our way down is true reform and the only way to regain control of the budget. Sadly, our largest expenditures are the sacred cows: Social Security, Medicare/Medicade/Welfare, and defense. You could wipe out EVERYTHING else the goverment spends taxes on and these three areas will still spend us into oblivion. Just once, I'd like to see enough statesmen elected that they will tackle the huge, obvious elephant crowding the room. But even the crisis of the financial meltdown and the Great Recession didn't push our elected leaders in the right direction.

  • 8:09 a.m. Nov. 19, 2010
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Kass
SLC, UT

Whether or not something is pork depends on which side of it you are on - people in Florida think earthquake and volcano monitoring are pork and people in California and Alaska think exploring the wetlands is pork.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I'd like to see earmarks go away too. Spending should go throught the appropriations process. I say this even thoug eliminating earmarks will make virtually no difference in federal spending or debt, as they constitute about 1/2 of 1% of the budget.

42istheanswer
SLC, UT

Just becasue it is small is no reason not to tackle it. If we only did that we would focus on defense & Social Security/Medicare. Compared to those the rest of the budget is pretty paltry. Everthing couts.

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

As "Kass" above points out, earmarks mostly serve to provide an infusion of dollars that states might otherwise have to come up with themselves. THAT is the best reason why earmarks should go away. If states need something, they should pay for it themselves. By doing that, the states will probably be a little more frugal with whatever the project is, and have more of an "ownership" interest, rather than just another handout from the feds.

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

With a Politician in Every Pot still very interested in money, greed, corruption, above the law, (ignore us common people unless they need your votes), career politician's who will take money from any special interest and say or do anything to keep his hold on power. It's secret government by the insiders, for the insiders only today. That's for BIG BUSINESS "ONLY" and their deep pocket's. Newly elected representatives may come to Washington with high ideals and lofty principles. Then they're confronted with a big pool of money that's there for the taking. If they don't claim it, someone else will. The meek don't inherit anything. After elected, they put blinder's on us, to cover up their corruption, while we rot and suffer. That's not real politics folks. If those "Earmarks" would freeze, the next Deseret News editorial would "squawks about" some sob story about Utah, services there, less infrastructures, no monies to buy more parks, build more mall's and building's, education will fail, law enforcement would quit, and there would be no free monies to give to the illegals that live there. Everyone counts, except Politicians.

T. Party
Pleasant Grove, UT

My appreciation to Mike Lee, who sent a letter to the Republican leadership calling for a roll-call vote on earmarks. I believe a private vote would have had a different result. Mitch McConnell, who always brags to his home state about bringing home the bacon, changed his tune and supported the earmark ban.

Keep the heat on 'em!

Earmarks are largely symbolic, but a billion here and there, and pretty soon you're talking about big money.

I do think that loading up an ugly spending bill with earmarks can have the effect of making it palatable to enough Congressman to allow it to pass. Let's get rid of that perverse incentive.

PeanutGallery
Salt Lake City, UT

I think theres a widespread misunderstanding about earmarks. Earmarks do NOT add to federal spending they merely DIRECT money that is already appropriated. For example, suppose a bill appropriates $3 billion for national park upgrades. Then suppose a legislator adds an earmark that $7 million (of that $3 billion) be used to improve the trails of a national park in his state.

In doing so, he has not increased any federal spending he has merely added some specifics about how part of that money will be used. Yes, earmarks are sometimes abused. But sometimes theyre a GOOD thing, especially considering that Congress not the executive branch has the power to appropriate. If earmarks are eliminated, this merely gives more power to the president and federal bureaucrats to decide more specifically how to spend the money.

Who knows the mixed motives for supporting or opposing the ban? Some Republicans may reluctantly support it because the widespread misunderstanding makes opposition politically risky. Some Democrats may support it because they want to give the president more spending power. Much as I disagree with Harry Reid, I think hes right on this issue.

  • 3:42 p.m. Nov. 19, 2010
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Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

RE: PeanutGallery - 3:42 p.m. Nov. 19, 2010
Salt Lake City, UT, "I think theres a widespread misunderstanding about earmarks. Earmarks do NOT add to federal spending they merely DIRECT money that is already appropriated. For example, suppose a bill appropriates $3 billion for national park upgrades. Then suppose a legislator adds an earmark that $7 million (of that $3 billion) be used to improve the trails of a national park in his state."

Reply: That's somewhat true. Bot still Newly elected representatives may come to Washington with high ideals and lofty principles. Then they're confronted with a big pool of money that's there for the taking. If they don't claim it, someone else will. The meek don't inherit anything. After elected, they put blinder's on us, to cover up their corruption, while we rot and suffer. Most all a Congressman's Family are a high paid lobbiest, the wife say can't lobby her husband, but can lobby the whole Committee he is on, he passes that law, the company and lobbiests give staffers quarterly bounes and kick backs to the Congressman, so earmarks get into Bill's, for the Company?.

PeanutGallery
Salt Lake City, UT

Apparently the Deseret News web sites software threw away all my dashes and apostrophes. Sorry my 3:42 post looks so haphazard and run-on.

JoeBlow
Miami Area, Fl

Yes, eliminating earmarks will have a very very small affect on the overall budget.

That said, eliminating all earmarks is a symbolic gesture that may start to change things in Washington.

This is a very positive T Party contribution. Write your congressmen if they don't sign on.

Now if we can only get all the big money (lobby money, campaign contributions) out of our election process, we may really start to get legislation that benefits the people.

KM
Cedar Hills, UT

Fitness freak
well said!

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Obama talked about reforming the process of earmarks during his campaign for the Presidency.

"We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress' seniority, rather than the merit of the project. We can no longer accept an earmarks process that has become so complicated to navigate that a municipality or nonprofit group has to hire high-priced D.C. lobbyists to do it. And we can no longer accept an earmarks process in which many of the projects being funded fail to address the real needs of our country." (March 2008)

"I have been consistently in favor of more disclosure around earmarks. Now, keep in mind a lot of these are worthy projects in our states, and I have actively pursued projects that I think are important. But I want to make sure that they're not done in the dark of night, that they're not done in committee, that everybody stands up and says this is the kind of spending that I think is important."
(Feb. 2008)

templarreborn
Salt Lake City, UT

Earmarks used to be called riders. They are appropriation expenditures included in legislation because they couldn't pass a review on their own. The process needs to be revised with strict limits as to how much they can cost before they must be reviewed as separate expenditures. Also it's a matter of accountability and influence peddling. The only way our budget will be brought under control is to set mandatory limits on expenditures and to establish a flat tax rate that applies to EVERYONE. With close to 60 percent of the middle class not paying ANY income tax, its no wonder the rest of use work 6 months a year to TRY to support them. Wouldn't you like to fill out a simple one page tax return each year. A tax reciept might be your ticket to benefits when you retire also. Maybe even no taxes after the age of 65.

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