Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Earmarks-Shmeermarks: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

The Republican Ticket for President and VP are good at distraction.

It's distracting to hear about the infamous Bridge to Nowhere and certain abuses of earmarks. They include it in every speech now.

It distracts from the federal deficit.

It distracts from the fact that every single month of the war costs the same amount as a full year of earmark spending. The Republican Ticket is silent about that.

It's debatable whether earmarks are a good or bad thing. Some people condemn earmarks because they can be corrupted by politicians who want to favor their friends and supporters at home by giving them huge money for their pet projects without Congressional oversight. Some applaud earmarks because they can fund community projects like libraries, roads, parks, hospitals, and yes, bridges. Can earmarks be good? Yes. Can they be corrupted? Yes.

But that's not the point. The Republican Ticket is pulling a sleight of hand. Let's forget about The Bridge to Nowhere and whether the Republican Vice Presidential nominee supported or opposed it.

Let's talk about the war. Let's talk about The Republican Ticket's plan to stay in Iraq indefinitely.

Let's talk about the federal deficit. Let's talk about how The Republican Administration has brought us to today's announcement by the Congressional Budget Office projecting a near-record federal budget deficit of $407 billion. That's $18 billion higher than White House projections six weeks ago. It's more than double last year's figure.

Earmarks comprised less than 1% of the entire Federal Budget in 2008.

Don't let the Republican Ticket focus on the flea while ignoring the plague. It's about the record-deficit, not about the Bridge to Earmarks.

Here's a good blog post on this topic: Earmarks Are a Red Herring: http://2008central.net/2008/09/09/fyi-earmarks-are-a-red-herring/#comment-82178

Source: DAVID LIGHTMAN AND KEVIN G. HALL, Federal deficit soaring, but McCain, Obama offer no answers, http://www.kansascity.com/445/story/789397.html (Sept. 9, 2008).

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