Briefly: Earmarks

During his Presidential campaign, then Senator Barack Obama vowed to fight this policy that was referred to as ‘earmarking’, or ‘earmarks’. I seem to remember that…am I mistaken? At the time, I thought I had a pretty good handle on what, exactly, earmarking was – based on the conversational context, inference, etc. As I am reading today’s Washington Post article on our now President Obama’s signing of a $410 billion spending bill that includes these notorious earmarks, I’m now wondering – do I understand earmarking?

Nefarious tones seemed to be associated with this, uh, business of earmarking. (Ya gotta love that word, ‘nefarious’ !) Shades of favoritism, it might be said. But then I got to thinking, one way or another, isn’t any money that is allocated for any need, project or fund actually being ‘earmarked’? Set aside, designated, whatever…where is the line drawn that changes the definition? Then I read this statement by Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) that ” every dollar in the budget is earmarked”, so I guess my reasoning isn’t that far off.

Still, though…

Human nature, need, greed and just plain ol’ love of money at the root of all evil being what they are, eventually earmarking seems to end up being ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’.

Comments and clarifications welcome…

…and, next stop – What Thomas Jefferson Learned…see you there!

Christina

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6 responses to “Briefly: Earmarks

  1. Earmarks can be a good thing. An example of an earmark that we should be outraged at:In the emergency stimulus bill (you know, the massive one that was suppose to turn our economy around), Harry Reid included an earmark to double the budget of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. He then added a provision in the bill to allow Nevada (which doesn’t border the Pacific) access to said Pacific Salmon money.The real problem with earmarks is when they have nothing to do with the bill they are included in. It is a way of sneaking money out of the treasury under the cover of night.

  2. "…sneaking money out of the treasury under the cover of night."Good way of putting it, nice metaphor.I just got the repeated impression that alot of the money paid out, as an earmark, was done so as reciprocation for having made previous campaign donations. Shoring up 'loyalty'? I guess it's like anything else, the good & the bad come together.

  3. hehe… and all this time I thought it was similar to “dog-earing” as in bending a corner of a page in a book.Either to show an important bit of text, or where one left off reading, I figured legislators were just keeping up with the massive amount of pages for bills by “earmarking them.”Evil Earmarks; Coming ashore from out of the sea like slippery noodles and usurping the national treasury.

  4. OK, we have 'slippery noodles' coming out of the ocean & 'sneaking…under the cover of night'…I dunno, this is starting to sound like a spy novel..or an alien invasion…!

  5. Yes, and just after you guys posted this about earmarks, Jon Stewart on the Daily Show had a segment with “earmarks”… I was lmao — he had a picture of a legislator with ears all over his head… “and the beast had seven heads and thirteen horns or something like that… which would make 26 ears… eh?” It’s exponential: truth is stranger than fiction..

  6. Moving right along….when I first saw this earmark article on crickets, you can imagine my reaction…until I actually started reading it. Some of the funding recipients sound silly but aren't, as it turns out. The author mentions Jon Stewart's antics, too, & also honeybees, which I'd previously wondered about. And still do….but these crickets are a plague.They, like strange truth, expand exponentially, MooP_W…

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