Are we missing the bigger point on earmarks?
In short…. absolutely.
We’ve watched, with great interest, a bloody battle unfold on the hill as veteran incumbent Republicans duke it out with Freshmen Representatives over the potential ban of earmarks to curb spending.
On the one hand, you have a part of the movement suggesting Congress has the authority over spending and therefor should not be bound from providing essential funding when necessary.
On the other hand, most of the movement agrees earmarks should be banned as a whole.
We at Americans for New Leadership and Liberty.com agree that earmarks should be banned. There are far too many special interests involved in the process, and earmarks are used to trade votes in the House of Representatives.
Essentially, our tax dollars are used as bargaining chips and special interests end up with the money while taxpayers foot the bill.
Bit this misses the more important narrative that very few seem to be talking about. By choosing a side in the earmark debate and leaving it at that, we’ve accepted the premise that the money should be spent, just not through the earmark process.
This is not correct, in our view.
As Dave Poff points out at Liberty.com, the federal government should never have this money to begin with.
Supporters of earmarks will argue that they’re needed to provide for education, military, law enforcement, etc. We argue that A) The states should have the funds to pay for essential needs, and B) Any military funding should be paid for through a spending bill of its own.
Another reason a simple ban on earmarks is not very useful is that Congress will find another way to spend the money.
This is why the fed should not be trusted with the money to begin with!
So in your weekend discussions, tweets and blog posts, please try and shift the argument in a different direction. Banning earmarks is a great point to make and we shouldn’t stop the fight, but we have to look deeper to find a more permanent fix.