Unstimulated in the AM

I haven't received my copy of Randy Kuhl's stimulus mailer yet, but Rochesterturning has a scan of the piece.

Evan Dawson had a post yesterday on the illogic of pork barrel spending, where he makes the following good point:

The incongruity seems to come from those who argue that government spends too much -- but then argue that their own Representative has a duty to bring home fistfuls of cash.  They don't seem to care to inspect the validity of each earmark; it's good enough that their Representative is bringing home something.  $100k for library tags in Greece?  Sure.  $1 million for a private college that is in no financial trouble?  Why not?


Everyone knows that as long as pork is available, most people will want their fair share from Washington. I think when pork is killed all together, then it won't be expected that their congressman gets a fair share.

Tax payers see their money being spent on all types of things - NASA, the military, food stamps, etc., so they probably enjoy money being spent on things that they may be able to take advantage of (a new bridge, refurbished library, etc.)

The issue with earmarks, as I see it, is that they don't go through a rigorous review process. I'd like to see them replaced with grants that go through a normal review process. Whether or not you get money for your project should depend on the merit of your proposal, not on the power of your Congressman.

One can argue about whether or not the federal government should pay for local bridges and libraries (or whether states and municipalities should fund them themselves), but it seems to me that it's hard to argue that the money shouldn't be given out in a fairer, more systematic way if it's going to be given out at all.

Elmer, I agree that some earmarks sound good and might give people the feeling that "at least we're getting something for our tax money". But some of the worst earmarks are in the Defense budget. They're for crap nobody wants that doesn't even work. As those become more visible, I think we're going to see some taxpayers begin to question the whole system.