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Barack Obama: “Absolutely, We Need Earmark Reform”

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The term earmark comes from the practice of marking the ears of livestock for identification, yet in American politics it has come to mean money that is “set aside for a special project or purpose”: AKA pet projects, pork. As I’m sure that animals are not thrilled by this procedure, I am more confident that Congress and their frivolous spending outrages the American people.

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, an independent watchdog organization states “widespread earmarking is a relatively new phenomenon in American politics, which gained momentum in the 1970’s”. Pork in a bill in Congress is as common as a hot dog at a football game. Moreover there continues to be a rise in pork barrel spending and there is no getting around it; both Republicans and Democrats are part of this Congressional excess and waste.

During the first presidential debate Senator John McCain and then Senator Barack Obama argued over the earmark issue, and Obama pledged, “Absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” Hold your applause please; I’m just getting started!

Considering the White House continues to proclaim that “we are in the worst economic crisis since the great depression”, why does Congress keep spending money on flippant projects. It’s one thing to spend money when we are flying high in prosperity, but when we are drowning in debt, it doesn’t make sense.

Any intelligent American household would have enough common sense to cut out the “extra stuff” when they are facing dire financial times; why doesn’t Washington? Are they that ignorant, unwilling or are they just self-serving?

We started 2009 spending; when Congress passed the urgent $800 billion Economic Stimulus Package claiming that it would create jobs and save our economy. Almost a year later and as we continue to await the arrival of our jobs, we do know that the White House Recovery.gov website, which costs over 18 million dollars to renovate, reported that thousands of jobs were saved in Congressional Districts that don’t exist. Not to mention that stimulus checks were sent out to dead people and inmates. But, that’s another story.

While the stimulus package was in the midst of scrutiny, President Obama said, ‘”Members of Congress won’t be allowed to slip earmarks into the economic recovery package Congress will soon take up. And concluded “we are going to bring a long-overdue sense of responsibility and accountability to Washington.” “We are going to stop talking about government reform, and we’re actually going to start executing.”

The Republicans claimed that there were over 9,000 earmarks with an estimated value at $7.7 billion in the stimulus and the Democratic leadership estimated the dollar amount to be around $3.8 billion. But President Obama bragged, “We passed a recovery plan free of earmarks,” and on many fronts, has blasted earmarks. In February Robert Gibbs declared victory on the earmark front maintaining there were “no earmarks” in the stimulus package, yet politifact.com Truth-O-Meter found his statement to be FALSE. I guess that is the nice way of saying “you lie”.

Congress continued this pattern and in March of this year passed an Omnibus Spending bill at a price tag of $410 billion, which contained 9,287 pork projects at a cost of nearly $12.8 billion.

Contrary to his campaign promise, President Obama signed that bill too, however, the White House did have an excuse. In an exclusive interview with ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag told Stephanopoulos, “This is last year’s business. We want to just move on”. Orszag also stated that Obama intends to work on earmark reform in the future.

Even Chris Matthews, one of Obama’s biggest fans, criticized Obama for breaking his earmark reform pledge.

Now we end 2009 with yet another spending fiasco. Over the weekend the Senate was at it again and passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill. The 1,000-page-plus package passed with a 57-35 vote and now heads to President Obama for his signature.

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, there are 5224 earmarks worth $3.998 billion, and that is just the preliminary round. Included in the list of pork barrel spending are “home-state projects sought by individual lawmakers in both parties”. While the legislation also contains numerous items not directly related to spending, it also approves a 2 percent pay increase for federal workers.

On the Senate floor, Senator McCain expressed his concern over the earmarks in the spending bill, calling it “shameful”, urging his colleagues to vote against it, and “demanded” President Obama to “keep his word” and veto it.

McCain’s two favorite earmarks are the $2.7 million to support surgical operations in outer space at the University of Nebraska and the $655 thousands for Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California for equipment and supplies for the Institute for Irritable Bowel Syndrome research. This would be laughable if it were a Saturday Night Live skit, but this is not joke, this is our Congress in action.

Americans are jobless, losing their homes and can barely put food on the table, yet Congress wants to play doctor in outer space and contribute to IBS –– literally. By the way Woodstock Film Festival Youth Initiative gets 30 thousand of our taxpayer dollars. Besides the fact the youth in America are already inundated with Hollywood stuff, isn’t the film industry wealthy enough to pay for their own special projects? And, I wonder if this earmark has anything to do with the National Endowment for the Arts.

I’m just waiting for the millions we’re going to spend on condoms for animals; or will it be Viagra? I’m sure Congress wants to put a Kool-aid station on Mars or research the farts of pigs. Yeah, that makes sense. And since this is the season to spend frivolously, maybe Congress plans on buying Christmas presents for Al Qaeda this year.

Despite the 5000 earmarks, President Obama has gone ahead and signed it anyway. Apparently, Obama didn’t get that earmark reform memo.

And to add insult to injury, Washington is so out of touch with reality and politicians like Senator Schumer have the nerve to utter that American people don’t care about earmarks. Billions of dollars wasted, are you kidding me? Congress is nuts to think we don’t care –– we do! Furthermore, we are sick and tired of out-of-control spending, votes being bought as well as the fact that special interest groups, lobbyists and big business are making out like bandits, while the needs of the American people are ignored.

With our economy in shambles, unemployment above 10%, and our national debt at $ 1 2 , 1 0 5 , 1 3 8 , 4 6 5 , 5 3 5 . 5 1 and climbing (financial burdens of the massive health care reform and cap and trade legislations yet to be factored in), what is their excuse? I’m sure the White House would like to continue to blame Bush, but even smart Obama supporters know that game is getting old––BLAME GAME OVER.

This may be business a usual in Washington, broken promises and a smorgasbord of pork, but it’s an utter disgrace and a slap in the face to the American people. Both sides of the political aisle, Republican and Democrat are guilty; and that means those who get appropriations for their pet projects, vote yes on pork-laden bills, and any president that signs such treacherous bills. So much for “Hope and Change”: all we can expect is government control and more debt.

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About Christine Lakatos

  • Spendy Spenderson

    Talk about making a pur$e from a sow’s ear. Cha-ching!

  • Hi Dan(Miller),

    I saw something amusing (and much appreciated) from you involving a cat awhile back in my inbox. Sadly, I am remiss in sending back a sign that I saw and enjoyed it. However, to make up for my lack of manners, here is something I think you will enjoy. I know I did. 🙂

  • Arch Conservative

    The sooner you realize Anthropogenic Global Warming is in fact a scam Roger the better off you’ll be.

    The UN and Copenhagen are nothing more than fascism under the banner of “the global community” and “saving the planet”

  • Mark

    Don’t panic. Pretty much damned good advice. Usually.

  • Mark,

    mice are the intelligent ones

    Yes, of course they are. They have been ruling what’s left of the Earth for millennial. Welcome aboard the good ship Heart of Gold.

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide. It is the repository (not suppository, sorry) of all truth and wisdom.


  • Pablo comes to mind […] I am looking forward to a new world order.

    Nice one, Roger!

  • Mark

    Dunno — I lack your optimism, I guess, or at least my humor runs to a darker side.

    Thus, given that mice are the intelligent ones, I think that it has been established fact that we are well and truly fucked ever since Watson and Carr heard their first statistically significant ‘kerplunk’.

  • It’s about to happen. The signs are abounding. The Copenhagen summit is the sign of the times. However flawed, it’s the move in the right direction. We’re all in this together, whether we like it or not.

    Sec. Clinton, no doubt under Obama’s blessing, spoke rather positively in terms of US monetary contribution towards the reduction of global warming.

    Sooner or later, we had better realize that this world we’d inherited is everyone’s to share and that we’re all responsible.

    In spite of all the scare and paranoia by the conspiracy theorists – and Pablo comes to mind, whenever he re-aligns himself with such as Nalle, truly the most strange of bedfellows – I am looking forward to a new world order.

    The old world is passe.

  • Mark

    Time for capitalists and their pet pols to step down. They’ve proven repeatedly that they can’t keep this shit together. ‘Don’t pay attention to the poverty and suffering — here, let me just push it under the corner of this rug.’

  • But that’s capitalism for you, Mark. Unless there’s money to be made, no one will lift a finger. It’s the idea of commodity fetishism taken to extreme.

    It’s about time “the system” is falling back on its ass, and the poor slobs who still believe in it, along with it. The sooner the better. In fact, what passes for the healthcare reforms is proof positive that we’d had it. And I’m glad it’s been exposed for the farce that it is.

    Better times are surely awaiting.

  • Mark

    Rog, the idea of for profit health insurance stinks. Further, insurance policies, based as they are on the consumers’ ability and willingness to pay ongoing, are among the most fucked up commodities imaginable — see AIG.

    We might look for different people charged with different interests who might do a better job of accumulating and distributing the necessary resources.

  • …it still adds up to billions of dollars. I thinks billions is a lot of money, don’t you?

    “$4 billion a month. That comes to roughly $133 million per day, or $5.5 million per hour.”

    Still not sure why you support the war.

  • Jordan makes good points about the earmarks listed by Christine – they all have the potential to stimulate the economy and it’s unhelpful to scoff at and dismiss them just because they sound silly.

    Dave’s objections are rather empty: you can make a case that most if not all spending is unnecessary, and furthermore why would that money, if obtained from private rather than public sources, create any more or fewer jobs?

    I do think, however, that such spending should be scrutinized a bit more closely than they appear to be at present. At the very least, before approving an earmark we should look at whether the beneficiary has made reasonable efforts to get the money from somewhere else.

  • “. . . and keeps its nose, loaded as it is with the snot of good intentions, out of the private sector.”

    You didn’t mean to include the insurance companies?

  • Mark

    Dave, better the gov concentrate on ‘temp’ government jobs and keeps its nose, loaded as it is with the snot of good intentions, out of the private sector.

    And geeze, I thought you were into realpolitik — earmarks are simply part of the grease, aren’t they? A kind of political currency?

  • Mark

    Must be a real shock to the gopers who believed that they had sufficiently ‘starved the beast’ by the end of W’s term to render Democrat programs unfeasible.

  • Take close note of what state that $1.8 billion for manure odor control was directed towards. Iowa is first in the elections and it’s always first on the list for handouts when the pork is being distributed.

    And yes, as someone asked earlier, the earmarks are a tiny portion of this ridiculous bill. The rough breakdown is 60% Medicare/Medicaid and debt service, 37% discretionary non-earmark spending (running the federal government and expanding it by 10+%) and about 3% earmarks.

    Not raising the budget of every federal agency by 10% or more would save more than 3 times as much as cutting all the earmarks.

    However, how does that excuse the earmarks? They are unnecessary spending, create very few real, long-term jobs, and we would basically never know if the money was cut.

    What’s even more of a boondoggle than the earmarks in this bill is the so-called “jobs” bill which Pelosi rammed through the House last night in clear violation of the rules. That bill has about $150 billion of money directed specifically at expanding jobs as government bureaucrats with almost nothing directed at creating private sector jobs.

    The strategy here is clear. Balloon the government on the state and federal level because people with government jobs will vote for the party of big government and keep it in power. Transparent, corrupt and basically evil.


  • Mark

    Beware the gold bubble — buy a greenhouse.

  • Jordan,

    I haven’t blown any “third world whistle”. America is still a rich country – so rich that its citizens don’t even appreciate how rich they are. But when 70% of the country’s economic activity is based on “consumer spending”, not only do you learn to live by lies to boost that spending (advertising) – you are terribly dependent on the value and stability of the dollar – because spending that dollar is the major economic activity in the country.

    What you refuse to see is that the United States government, by minting trillion$ backed with nothing, has effectively devalued the dollar – to nothing. It is only a matter of time for that fact to take hold in the economy of the United States – and trust me, when it does Canada will be dragged down along with the States. In the meantime, the value of gold which presently trades in the low $US1,100 range, will skyrocket, as those with the wherewithal and the vision buy up gold coins and bullion. Not everybody is stupid and glued to the boob tube watching the bullshit that gets reviewed here..

    Bullets are cheaper than gold and for the time being, easier to get a hold of. And when the dollar breaks, the gold and the bullets will be what count. The dollar will also have its value – for wiping your rear end….

  • You can’t assume general immorality on the part of a great proportion of Americans, Joanne. It’s like saying that half of the populace is not honorable. It’s precisely this kind of thinking that leads to our growing divisiveness.

    You are proving my point, of course, and disproving Jordan’s, but this is one argument I’d rather lose.

  • We (our congress) is spiraling out of control much like the rest of the country. I have to think they know the end of the World as We Know It is near so they’re acting accordingly. I have no problem with paying taxes, but need to see a ROI, not waste, corruption and the lining of legislative pockets. People nowadays don’t want to work hard. Heck, they don’t want to work at all, and why should they when they can get freebies from Uncle Sam?

  • Haven’t noticed your #26, Jordan, when I responded.

    Yes, a sense of solidarity and commonality is the key. But I submit it’s a foreign concept in the American experience. It would take nothing short of a national disaster to make us awaken in that sense as a people. That’s why I’m looking beyond religions and nation-states.

    We do need, as Mark stated earlier, a new bio – a brand-new geopolitical configuration before things will get better. The old ways will no longer work. This I believe.

  • Jordan,

    Up and until 6 months ago, I believed in this country and its people. No longer. So I can’t be swayed either by Keynesian economic theories or the conservative ones while I believe that the capitalist system is at its last stages of final breakdown. Consequently, I no longer look to the past to validate our future but to the future itself without nation-states. And the quicker we abandon the notions of nationalism and start thinking as being part of the same humanity, the better. And from this standpoint, America still represents the greatest obstacle.

    As to the “pulse of the nation.” I think you have to live here for a score of years to get a reading. Americans have always been individualistic, and self-oriented, driven by the notion of success; but this sense of individualism was rather obscure by the idea that general prosperity was within everyone’s reach. It’s no longer the case, and now the naked truth is out. It is a dog eat dog, and everyone is for themselves. We no longer think as a people, only of what’s good for number one.

    So yes, I do believe you are projecting.

  • It’s called prioritization. We could of used all those billions helping American citizens get health insurance. Gotta run, happy holidays to all of you!

  • Mark

    Christine, anyone who is called to work with odor and manure is strange enough that Big Brother should happily pay whatever it takes to keep h…er off the streets.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And Roger, no offense, but I’m curious to know where your perpetual pessimism leads. I may be little more than an idealistic dude posting on a blog entry, but at least I recognize the limitations of my perspective. Do you?

  • Jordan Richardson

    How do we overcome the institutional resistance, inertia, the people’s apathy?

    Roger, I never claim to know the answers. I am not an economist, a scientist, an expert.

    But I think you overcome those things by giving people real choice and real possibilities. You allow them the potential for growth and the ability to see that their actions can produce results. Real ones.

    In Canada, we have solidarity because we choose to as a people. We have more political choice and more options for living. We are drones or slaves to our country, either, and we recognize that patriotism is important but not essential.

    I think most Americans have nationalism drummed into their heads at an early age, what with the Pledge in schools and so forth, and they begin to develop tunnel vision. They lose sight of the bigger, global picture and the community of possibilities that exists.

    These are all broad terms, of course. Believe me, if I had the specifics I wouldn’t just be peddling articles for cash as a freelancer. We discuss these issues ideologically because that’s what we have.

    I suggest a different ideology, I think, and I don’t imagine that it will happen overnight or that it won’t take work.

  • Jordan Richardson

    $1.8 million for swine odor and manure management in Iowa

    1. That’s peanuts.
    2. Does it employ people?
    3. Manure management is important for a number of reasons, the least of which being that nobody likes shit piled up all over the place and the most important of which being that it makes for damn good fertilizer which, in turn, helps the damn crops.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Wyoming

    How much money could this Center drum up in tourist and visitor dollars? $190,000 could be chicken feed in relation to the profits involved.

    $400,000 to combat bullying in Montana

    Sounds like a pretty good idea to me, as bullying sucks. What measures does this money afford?

    $2.2 million to study grape genetics in New York

    The wine industry can be pretty important and can be a nice little profit generator.

    All of those ideas sound pretty good to me, actually. What bothers you about them, Christine?

  • Christine,

    I think Mark’s point is that we’re so down and out that we’ve started looking at trivia, like a drowning man grasping at straw. We’re plagued with systemic weaknesses and stresses to which there is no one simple remedy.

    We need a new bio.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ruvy’s panicked assessment is, as usual, constructed on a foundation of hyperbole and chaotic obsessiveness.

    The Americans are broke, Jordan.

    Depends on who you’re referring to. The United States still boasts the largest national economy in the world and stably grows in GDP even with the same percentage of debt as most major European countries. They also rank second, down one spot thanks to the recession, in the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum.

    So things aren’t all bad for the United States and it certainly isn’t time to start blowing the Third World alarm. To suggest that America is broke is a rather simplistic and inaccurate assessment of the nation’s position in the world as a whole.

    Americans, however, are getting broke while corporations, energy companies and governments get richer. This is because Americans allow it, as I’ve outlined over and over and over again.

    Their system consists of one political party that has two heads which bite each other – and Americans delude themselves that they have a two party system and a democracy. This is why the ballot is worthless in the United States today. It represents nothing.

    I think I said the exact same thing.

    Your solution, well meaning as it is, relies on something that soon will have no value – the dollar. So, it too, is worthless.

    But it isn’t. When consumer spending makes up for well over 70% of the country’s economic activity, the dollar in the consumer’s pocket is incredibly meaningful. Where and how it is spent is incredibly meaningful. Dismissing this simple little fact would be an error.

    In fact, consumer spending in 2009 started off at an unprecedented rate and rose higher than expected through the summer. This happened even while incomes dropped, again demonstrating the desire of Americans to consume and spend no matter what’s going on. Again, this further supports the idea that consumer spending is incredibly meaningful given the big picture. The dollar is not worthless given these spending figures.

    That leaves those with gold holdings who will survive

    A boneheaded “theory” floated by the conspiracy nuts, ie. Glenn Beck, and those with interest in the gold market. There’s no realistic indication to suggest that “gold” will be worth anything in its raw state with respect to spending, consumption or reliability.

    It is cold, harsh and damned simple.

    It is a lunatic theory floated by the most far-out pundits and wannabe analysts with no economic backing whatsoever. There will be no “gold rush,” there will be no civil war over gold, there will be no bulleted solution. Full stop.

  • “This isn’t about a winning political philosophy or a creed or a belief or a “side.” This is about justice, morality and truth.” (#6)

    True in principle, but do we put this into practice, Jordan? Care to elaborate because that’s a multi-million dollar question.

    How do we overcome the institutional resistance, inertia, the people’s apathy? Perhaps the picture is less depressing in Canada. You are more or less united and imbued with a certain sense of solidarity and identity as a people. I think you underestimate the extent to which things aren’t so here.

    Aside from diverse cultural differences (blacks vs. whites, e.g.), Americans have always been individualistic rather than group-oriented. Perhaps there was a time to develop a sense of solidarity and togetherness while prosperity was around the corner and everyone more or less believed they could share in the American Dream. But corporate and commercial interests had seen to it that the bubble would be burst, and now people are disenchanted and divided along cultural, ethnic, and socio-cultural lines. Bitterness and divisiveness are the prominent characteristics of American political and social life. Just look at BC: it’s a microcosm.

  • Well if you all think that $1.8 million for swine odor and manure management in Iowa, $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Wyoming, $400,000 to combat bullying in Montana and $2.2 million to study grape genetics in New York, is worthy of taxpayer dollars (and the ones McCain talked about), then more power to Ya.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I thinks billions is a lot of money, don’t you?

    Depends. Does the spending of billions of dollars help enrich the lives of the majority of the population? Or is it wasteful, nonsensical and immoral spending?

    The issue isn’t how much is being spent or how big the government is. It ought to be how effective the government is and how effective the spending is.

    when we are in “dire” financial straights, that would be a time to tighten the budget. Don’t you think?

    Stimulus packages work when they are effective, efficient and well-planned. Whether the government’s stimulus is such remains to be seen, but the very principle that you repeat isn’t particularly true given the potential variables.

    What is the point of this sort of stimulus spending, this sort of industry and infrastructure boosting, in “prosperous times?” The only time I’d want to organize government intervention of any fiscal kind would be when we need it, not when times are great.

    So, Christine, I’d rethink the core ideology behind this article and indeed behind your brand of conservatism. We live in a world where spending through a deficit is common, especially for the world’s richest countries, and where stimulating the economy through effective spending works to create jobs and boost industry.

    If things are merely tightened, how will that help draw money, business, trade and consumers into the economy again? It seems to me that such an approach is more likely to keep things right as they are rather than to change things for the better.

    Further to this, any sort of stimulus impact should be measured and scrutinized by the public relentlessly. The government should be spending, but the people should be demanding to know where every red cent is going to ensure that money is not being spent on executive salaries and bonuses or on frivolous crap to line corporate pockets.

    We need to give people the ability and the right to be healthy, educated, prosperous and happy. A well-spent billion or two could easily promote this, but the reality is that no U.S. government will spend money this way as long as the population continues their limp approval of the status quo.

  • Ruvy, who has the audacity to promote civil war in his country, suggests the solution is a bullet. He suggests that the streets should run red in an ultimate display of morality, crudeness and dishonour. But that rhetoric is only for those who share his foulness.

    Jordan, save your smears for someone who deserves them. America had the possibility of producing itself out of a recession in March 2000. But its leaders chose not to, and did nothing while the idiots of the Republocrats fought out a presidential campaign – probably the first of what will be a series of stolen elections in the States. Each election will look more and more phony, until the American voters realize that they are all bullshit The bankers on Wall Street covered up the problems by selling garbage, and a whole series of “bubbles” got created in the American economy – a housing bubble, credit bubble, etc.

    The bubbles have all burst, and first Bush, and then Obama printed money out of nothing to attempt to cover up the crash that was on the way. In addition, the government took over a whole series of industries, creating a fascist state in America.

    The Americans are broke, Jordan. Their system consists of one political party that has two heads which bite each other – and Americans delude themselves that they have a two party system and a democracy. This is why the ballot is worthless in the United States today. It represents nothing.

    Your solution, well meaning as it is, relies on something that soon will have no value – the dollar. So, it too, is worthless.

    That leaves those with gold holdings who will survive – and those who have no gold holdings, who in order to survive will have to steal the gold from those who have it. For that you need a bullet, not a ballot. That is how and why you get a civil war. The basic issue will be the gulf between the “haves” and the “have-nots” and the demand of the “have-nots” that they be allowed their crust of bread. That is what America, the land of my birth, the land that was the richest on the planet when I was a kid, the land I loved as a child, is headed for. It is cold, harsh and damned simple.

    Bottom line: if you cannot produce your way out of a recession, you will never get out of it. Full stop.

    My country’s fate is connected to America’s only so long as America is not seen completely for the whore and pauper she has become. But when that is clear, my country’s fate will separate from that of America, and we will have to face our own problems. And we in Israel are sleepwalking towards a civil war. That is not your business, though.

  • Mark

    I thinks billions is a lot of money, don’t you?


    The thing to do now that we find ourselves in dire financial straights…again…is —

  • Mark

    Gotta take pleasure where one can these days, nails.

  • Mark, even if the percentage is around 2 percent (not sure exactly), it still adds up to billions of dollars. I thinks billions is a lot of money, don’t you?

    And as I made the point in the article, when we are in prosperous times it may be okay, but when we are in “dire” financial straights, that would be a time to tighten the budget. Don’t you think?

  • Clavos

    Roger, Roger…(I’ve waited many moons for such an opportunity.)

    You need to set your sights higher, horse man…

  • Mark

    Roger, Roger…(I’ve waited many moons for such an opportunity.)

  • Mark

    What percentage of the budget do earmarks make up? Are they really such a problem? Would eliminating them all bring spending under control or even significantly move the budget in that direction?

  • Made a posting, Mark, on the old thread. Check it out.

  • because the spending is out of control!

  • Mark

    …it needs to be changed no matter who’s in office.


  • Mark, I’m not a politician only a citizen who gets tired of the bs coming out of Congress. So, I’m not sure how to change it, but it needs to be changed no matter who’s in office.

  • Mark

    It’s time for folks to get familiar with this and its history. Why have the Democrats been avoiding this approach?

    Christine, I read this formulaic gripe piece looking for proposed reforms or at least a more or less clear statement of what’s wrong with earmarks. Taxing and spending is in Congress’ job description, and they’ve worked out this fast and dirty way to ‘get ‘er done’ in something approaching a timely fashion. How do you suggest that they restructure the process?

    Redistributing dough in order to keep the cogs of business lined up and discontent under control is certainly a dirty job that lends itself to corruption.

    Jordan says, The real solution is to learn to speak with your dollars, not your votes… Another practical thing to do is to ‘learn to speak’ with your labor, choosing who you are willing to sell it to with care and conscience.

  • Sorry to hear that Ruvy, about the civil war thing, glad to know you are doing better economically.

    Jordan, thanks for your commentary. And Happy Holidays to you!

  • Jordan Richardson

    why does Congress keep spending money on flippant projects

    What you consider to be a “flippant project,” others consider to be projects capable of creating jobs and generating income over the long haul. That is the design, anyway. In my country, Stephen Harper (the CONSERVATIVE leader) told Canadians that his government was going to “spend their way out of the recession.” And guess what? They did.

    I realize that the symptoms of the recession differ from nation to nation, but I also realize that you have to spend money to make money in this economy and I realize that things almost always get worse before they get better. Standing back and doing nothing but cutting taxes will not serve as a solution to any problem afflicting the United States right now, nor will loosening regulations on corporations intent on their own profits alone.

    The American people, some of them anyway, have become so deathly afraid of the solutions that they want to just stick their heads in the sand and forget about it. People have, for good reason, given up hope. But along with giving up hope, people have remained stagnant blobs of consumption, mindlessly feeding themselves intellectual garbage from television’s talking heads while funneling money into corporations that hire cheap Chinese and Indian labour overseas and illegal immigrants domestically.

    And the government, big or small or liberal or conservative or democrat or republican, isn’t going to crack this egg anytime soon because it works for them. The whole notion of lobbying and public interests works for these guys and it always has. These private interests, the ones responsible for the entire idea of earmarking and pork and all that other crap, continue to be the single loudest voice in political issues. They, the politicians, follow the money. They will betray you, endlessly, until the end of time.

    Ruvy, who has the audacity to promote civil war in his country, suggests the solution is a bullet. He suggests that the streets should run red in an ultimate display of morality, crudeness and dishonour. But that rhetoric is only for those who share his foulness.

    The real solution is to learn to speak with your dollars, not your votes (especially when there are only two choices, so you’re told). Learn not to prop up the corporations who are intent on catching the whores of Washington in the back alleys and shoveling them a cart full of money for tacit approval on a host of repugnant issues. We, the consumers and the customers, have the power to cripple the whole damn thing if we want to. But we’re too intent on violent rhetoric, busying ourselves with mindless garbage and filling our bodies with wasteful, poisonous food.

    Real change never comes from the government. Never. Ever. Putting your hope in that conception, thinking everything will be alright if only “my politician” gets elected, is a fool’s game. And most Americans, worshipful as they are of their history and their politics, continue to play.

    I think it’s time the American people stopped putting their faith in government, in “grassroots movements” backed by corporate interests, and in corporations who only care about profits. I think it’s time the American people started to realize that a government is the people and that it can be. This isn’t about a winning political philosophy or a creed or a belief or a “side.” This is about justice, morality and truth.

    Dramatic language aside, happy holidays.

  • How are things going in Israel?


    Things in Israel are economically better (than the States) – politically worse.

    Put simply, we are one bullet away from civil war.

  • lol, Roger

  • There’s no longer any hope to be associated with America, Christine. The sooner you’ll realize that, the healing process will begin.

  • Auuuhhhh, Ruvy. I already feel pessimistic about my country these days (don’t like guns). But I will never give up on REAL hope.

    How are things going in Israel?

  • Christine,

    The stupid pigs in power do not listen to the people. All they understand is when they die from getting shot at – this goes for all the pigs – in the government, the media, the farty academics, big business execs, the lot of them.

    You folks will have to do better than ballots – bullets are the ticket. You have sunk that low, Christine. Sorry to say that, but it is true.