Thursday, October 15, 2009


In my research for various posts, I have had to read a fair amount of congressional legislation. In all of the bills I have read, there is one thing that is consistent. On the title page of all of the bills is the name of the bill and its sponsors, and then there is this phrase:

"And for other purposes"

Those four little words have cost us literally billions of dollars.

That phrase is how a military spending bill can also be used to finance non-military things like the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network and the Edward M. Kennedy educational institute. In this one bill alone there are 778 earmarks, to the tune of $2.6 billion. That's $2.6 billion that is NOT going to training, protecting or arming our troops, in a time when we are involved in not one but two hot wars. You can be sure that $2.6 billion will be counted in the overall cost of the wars, though, when opponents talk about the cost of war being too high.

The phrase 'And for other purposes' should be outlawed from legislation.

Lawmakers like to call earmarks 'sweeteners' - a way of enticing support for a less than popular bill. The problem is, all of these sweeteners have given this country a near fatal case of fiscal diabetes from all of the 'goodies' it has been force fed for the past few decades.

This administration touts 'transparency' and 'accountability', and yet continues to support the plague of earmarks flowing out of Washington. Instead of billions in sweeteners, how about crafting truly bi-partisan legislation that a majority can get behind without having to be coerced.

Stop laughing, it could happen....

Those earmarks are nothing more than vote buying mechanisms for congressional re-election bids, and the fact that the cumulative effect is crippling our country is a minor concern to legislators desperate to stay in office, no matter the cost.

Wouldn't it be a refreshing change if our federal legislators left the local pet projects to local and state governments where they belong and instead concentrated on doing what was best for the country as a whole?

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