Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: It's time to reinstate earmarks’

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Published: Monday, May 7 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Burke, VA

"Absent such earmarks, the administration is free to spend the money on the projects it likes."

The fact is that letting politics rule where our tax dollars are spent, whether those politics come from the executive or the legislative branch, is a bad idead. The fact is, it's really the lesser of two evils that we have to decide.

I'm reminded of a time in the mid-eighties when I served on a subcommittee of the city council in a suburban community of Salt Lake. The IT director for the city had spent almost three years - three years! - studying the IT systems of similarly sized communities across the country and finally reported his findings and made a recommendation to the council. The council chairman, who was a lawyer by profession and like many in his position, served only part-time, responded to the IT Director, "Well let's put this decision on hold, I've got some ideas of my own."

This type of arrogance is all too common in our elected officialsand is seen daily in Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill. Why not let qualified, non-partison folks (subject matter experts) make those important decisions.

Herriman, Utah

Senator Bennett,

Have you had a chance to read "Economics in one Lesson"?
Having the federal government fund and allocate money for highways is clearly beyond the scope of its charter. It creates unintended economic consequences( see Bastiant). Your problem is that you see the federal government as the solution. You are also ignorant of free market economics. That us the very reason you are stuck commenting rather than still in the senate. Think outside the box! Try reading: "Privatization of Roads and Highways " by Walter Block. There is a free PDF online.

Salt Lake City, UT

Congress spends our money. Do they do it by voting on a specific issue and deciding if it needs federal dollars, or to the take money that has been budgeted to a department away from that department and give it to their friends?

It has been good that earmarks are no longer the return on investment for big money, incumbents re-election campaigns, or lobbyists.

A city shouldn't have to pay some lobbyist to donate to a campaign fund of someone back in DC to get the help they need from the federal government.


Leave it to a politician to tell us that earmarks are a good thing. Thieves and liars, and weaklings who,won't stand up to them. That's all we have in congress right now. Add that to a president who is annexing power via czars, and mandates and soon we won't even gave a republic anymore. Caesar would be proud.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Bailout Bob still does not understand why he got booed and voted out of office.

The federal government is spending too much money!

Transportation may be one of the less outrageous examples, but we already owe $15 Trillion (and that should be a shocking amount of money, even to a career Washington politician like Bennett or Hatch) and we simply need to cut spending.

No earmarks!
And, fire the politicians who appoint bureaucrats who make bad decisions about where to spend money.

South Jordan, Utah

Its time to focus on balancing the budget and not on earmark spending.

Sandy, UT

This is one of those rare moments when Mr. Bennett is right. Earmarks are merely designations of where and how money already committed should be spent. They add nothing to the cost. Banning earmarks only gives the executive branch more power than it already has and makes congress less accountable. Where is the logic in turning the power of the purse over to the president? Doesn't he have too much power already?

Sanpete, UT


And this, Bennett, is why you now currently write for Deseret News. Orrin will be joining you soon.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

With all due respect to the former Senator, he is simply wrong. A multi-year transportation bill, which is written by Congress (and conforms to the Constitution) distributes funds to the States on a formulary basis which ultimately lets State Transportation Departments, in conjunction with State Legislatures, local governments and public input, set the priorities for how those funds should be spent – i.e., it returns decision making back to the States.

Earmarks circumvent this process by allowing funds to be “set aside” for pet projects irrespective of State priorities. This is how you get a “bridge to nowhere.” Earmarks are a bad idea and should be rejected by anyone concerned about the amount of Federal power and the inability of States to decide for themselves.

American Fork, UT

No, it's not.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

Quid pro quo.

The statesmans' elixir.

A (retired) politico comes clean with the receipe generations of the same have used to make DC hum.

"...It's time to reinstate earmarks...".

Back to the future?


It's time that people realized how much we've been swindled by politicians. The 1974 Budget Reform Act took us away from baseline budgeting, and replaced it with annual budget increases of 10% above the previous year's spending level in each department. This is regardless of federal revenue or necessity. Any talk of lowering the 10% growth to something smaller has the Democrats crying "Draconian cuts" even though there would still be more money than the year previous. This has GOT to spot. The deficit now exceeds GDP with $5T all Obama's. Is it any wonder we have a debt crisis with this sort of dishonest budgetary practice?


Well at least we can all sleep well knowing that the gov't treats these funds as sacred and never has and never will misuse them. I don't know why I don't sleep well however.

Kearns, UT

ECR, sounds like what happened in Murray.

This op-ed makes me feel real good about help oust Bennett. Unfortunately, Bridgewater didn't get in, Lee did.

Taylorsville, 00

On Topic, the process of earmarks and spending on projects in general has generated discontent because of mismanagement of public funds. But without any spending allowed, we're seeing other consequences that negatively affect lives. As ECR commented, having experts and expert stakeholders able to be shunted aside with no debate has contributed to the poor decisions. Media deciding to report on an issue, but neglect any in-depth research into it once the scoop has been achieved has probably not helped.

Aside: We have commentary from New York? Yay for Deseret News!

Ben H
Clearfield, UT

If you needed a reminder of why Mr. Bennett is no longer a senator from Utah, here it is. Congress can't agree on something via the normal legislative process, they just put it in an earmark and stave off all responsibility for it.

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

Earmarks mean lobbyists. Nuff said.

Cato the Elder
Salt Lake City, Utah

Why not let red state legislators "earmark" their state's share of federal highway funding for deficit reduction since they are constantly bemoaning the evils of government spending. How many times have you heard Rob Bishop say, "Government does not create jobs.?

Vienna, VA

The Tea Party guys that came in promised to balance the budget. So far they've let the trillion dollar deficits continue. And now all the wasteful spending continues, only now to the Solyndra's. Would anybody say that the ban on earmarks has made spending less wasteful now that bureaucratic "experts" get to make the decisions?

Salt Lake City, UT

Mr. Bennett is a very brave man. He continues the advocate the very practice that led to his constituents electing electing another in 2010. He may be right. But, then again it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

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