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.
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!