Monday, February 20, 2006

Earmark Reform (Cut the Fat)

It is time for some serious earmark reform in the United States Congress. President Bush continues to pay lip service to his support for earmark reform (as he did once again in the January 31st, 2006 State of the Union Address). However, it is just lip service, because he is the first president since near the founding of the Republic (John Quincy Adams was the last president) to never (not once) veto a bill that came across his desk.

President Reagan refused to sign the Highway Bill in the 80’s because of the excessive number of earmarks, which totaled around 150. Last year (2005), the highway bill contained nearly 15,000 earmarks, and our president did not even bat an eye before signing it, and all that wasted pork money, into law. Why, when we’re fighting a war and facing astronomical debt, are we handing out favors to Congressman’s pet projects in their respective districts (bringing home the bacon, guaranteeing votes in their next election)? Is it more important to feed and shelter the victims of Hurricane Katrina and help in their rebuilding effort, or to build a Sculpture Park in Seattle? Is it more important to repair a bridge over Lake Ponchetrain, or build a $1.5 million bridge “to nowhere” in Alaska (which has an adequate ferry service)? Alaska got the money anyway, in a block grant, which then Alaska gets to pay for the bridge…but still with our money.

The Republicans and the Democrats both have big problems with this (the bridge to nowhere was a pet project of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and the Sculpture Park in Seattle was a pet project of a Democratic Senator from Washington. The Republicans have proven themselves to be anything but fiscally responsible and fiscally conservative. The earmark through the roof numbers have been since they gained control of the Congress in 1994 with the “Contract with America,” which they broke and broke and made it mean nothing (just like it meant nothing when they promised it in ’94).

This is corruption fuel. Earmarks are stealing our children’s future by robbing their tax dollars for things that are not in the national interest at this time. Time to end the Culture of Corruption that currently thrives. Earmark reform is needed. Support anyone who supports earmark reform. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is an issue of your tax dollars being used for anything but your best interests.

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