The Problem with Earmarks

Jed Gladstein
Personal political slush funds are nothing new. The problem with earmarks is that they are personal political slush funds funded with our money. Every time a member of Congress earmarks money for a project back home - or anywhere else in the world for that matter - it is our tax dollars that pay for it. The fact that they do it for personal political reasons adds insult to injury.No doubt, most of the earmarks are "facially legitimate" in the sense of being arguably public spirited. But one person's public spirit is another person's pork. And that's the problem with earmarks. How do you give the imprimatur of approval to one person's "public spirited" project and withhold it from another? The answer is: you can't. And that is why earmarks have to end, or be effectively forestalled.The human mind, being infinitely capable of rationalization, can always find a reason for doing just about anything, no matter how pernicious. But when it comes to spending public money,...(Read Full Post)

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