July 8, 2008
Webster's Dictionary defines addiction as "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal." Clearly this definition applies to those Members of Congress who can't seem to shake the monkey on their back of earmarks (spending taxpayer dollars on specially designated projects.) Not all earmarks are bad. However too often the way earmarks have been handled by both parties has been more about getting elected then in legislating responsibly. Consider some of the more recent "egregious earmarks" that Champion of the Taxpayer Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ-93%) has highlighted (every time he highlights an earmark it is accompanied by a groan inducing pun):
- $219,000 for wool research in Montana, Texas, and Wyoming. "This looks like an earmark in sheep's clothing," said Flake.
- $1,477,000 for the Benjamin Franklin Memorial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Earmarks are all about the benjamins," said Flake.
- $846,000 for the Father's Day Rally Committee, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "This sure beats a new tie," said Flake.
- $394,000 for Aunt Lydia's Cove in Chatham, Massachusetts. "This earmark has got to have taxpayers screaming 'uncle,'" said Flake
Freshman Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN-100%) knows being elected comes with a great responsibility and has sworn off earmarks this year. She takes some of her colleagues to task in an op-ed in yesterday's Examiner:
"Only 38 members of the House of Representatives -- Democrat and Republican -- have publicly sworn off earmarks for a one-year moratorium. While many more members talk the talk about the broken earmarks system, only 38 of 435 elected members of Congress care enough to actually do something about it.
As one of the members committed to not accepting earmarks this year, I know that this pledge is in the best interest of my constituents and our nation's middle class. Responsible spending in Washington means more money in the pocketbooks of our taxpayers. It's when our nation's families are thriving that our economy does too."