Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Top 5: So, Who Likes Earmarks?

DailyKos recently assembled a list of the top 20 earmark-getters. With all the rhetoric we've come across from the Grand Old Party over the campaign and as of late, the results may surprise you. (Image: stock.xchng) During the presidential campaign, John McCain implied that earmarking was a problem caused by "liberal democrats" who are looking to spend tax payer money. I won't villainize the earmark concept too much, but it has been abused by many. Ironically this list shows who are the main people abusing it...

I narrowed the list to the top five since it seems to accurately reflect the pattern of the top 20. Here are the top five earmarkers by dollar:

  1. Cochran (Republican-MS) $471 million

  2. Wicker (Republican-MS) $390 million

  3. Landrieu (Democrat-LA) $332 million

  4. Harkin (Democrat-IA) $292 million

  5. Vitter (Republican-LA) $249 million

It's amazing that the Republicans from Mississippi are demanding so much money. The one thing Kos was quick to point out was that the Democrats on the list are arguably the worst of the bunch. They are exploiting their position as swing voters to make demands.

I think they need to create a new process for states getting money. The projects earmarkers get money for are not big enough for their own legislation on the federal level, but the state level doesn't have the money to do it alone. The problem is that earmarks become negotiating points for votes; in effect, the congress becomes a massive bribing movement. Perhaps it's time to create a congressional budget for state projects; somehow earmarking needs to be controlled.