Monday, November 15, 2010

Earmarks Pale in Comparison to the Real Problem; Paul Pushes Earmark Ban

Senator-Elect Rand Paul Pushes Earmark Ban; FOXNews

Banning earmarks may be a way for Dr. Paul to create a buzz about spending, but earmarks pale in comparison to the real problem.
He hasn't even started his first day in the Senate yet, and already, Senator-elect Rand Paul (R- Ky.) is endorsing a plan that could shake up Washington. Paul is one of a group of Senators trying to ban earmarks.


Paul said during an interview with Fox News on Sunday, "I think ear markings are bad. There is some symbolism. Definitely the symbolism is bad. And, I think it encourages people to vote for large appropriations bills, because all of a sudden Mrs. Smith gets a museum in your hometown."

Read the rest here.

: While I think that spending is out of control in our government, earmarks only account of $20 billion. This is certainly a lot of money, but compared to the actual budget is quite small.

Prior the 17th Amendment being enacted the Senate perform a role that contributed to bicameralism and protected the people from fruitless earmarks. According to Zywicki, "[f]ederalism deals with the allocation of power between the state and federal governments. Bicameralism, by contrast, is concerned with the type of legislation passed by the federal government."(1)  Bicameralism protected the public against special interest groups seeking preferential legislation because there was check built into Congress requiring two different constituencies (the people in the house and the states in the senate) to review all legislation for appropriateness prior to passage.

With the loss of bicameralism due to the enactment of 17th Amendment earmarks have grown steadily, but nothing in comparison to the big ticket spending in defense and social entitlements.

If we are going to control spending it isn’t going to be enough to stop earmarks, the checks and balances have to be returned to the structure of the federal government, and federalism and bicameralism must be restored before this can occur. The only way to do this is to repeal the 17th Amendment.

(1) Beyond the Shell and Husk of History: The History of the Seventeenth Amendment and Its Implications for Current Reform Proposals, 45 Cleveland St. L. REV. 165 (1997) by Todd Zywicki


danq said...

Hmmm, his father Ron was a longtime supporter of earmarks...

In fact one of the complaints about Ron Paul is that he throws in pork and votes against the budget so he can have the best of both worlds.

I don't really trust Rand with regard to spending and pre-emptive war. I think that he will, like the others, water himself down and join the neocon welfare-warfare state.

I know he avoids the word "libertarian" instead using "Constitutionalist" and that's the first sign of problems, since as we know from 200+ years of Supreme Court rulings, the Constitution can mean anything anyone wants it to.

Brian said...

His father as best as I can tell believes that the citizens of his district deserve some the money they contributed, so he does get things for the district, but is still steadfast against wasteful and unconstitutional spending.

I'm not ready to judge Rand yet, he is just jumping on DeMint's bandwagon to get control of the Senate Republicans. But like Boenher's plan there is little to tackle in earmarks, while the real problem is the big ticket items.

Rand does have to play politics a bit so we'll just have to watch and wait.