"Absent such earmarks, the administration is free to spend the money on the
projects it likes."The fact is that letting politics rule where
our tax dollars are spent, whether those politics come from the executive or the
legislative branch, is a bad idead. The fact is, it's really the lesser of
two evils that we have to decide. I'm reminded of a time in the
mid-eighties when I served on a subcommittee of the city council in a suburban
community of Salt Lake. The IT director for the city had spent almost three
years - three years! - studying the IT systems of similarly sized communities
across the country and finally reported his findings and made a recommendation
to the council. The council chairman, who was a lawyer by profession and like
many in his position, served only part-time, responded to the IT Director,
"Well let's put this decision on hold, I've got some ideas of my
own."This type of arrogance is all too common in our elected
officialsand is seen daily in Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill. Why not
let qualified, non-partison folks (subject matter experts) make those important
Senator Bennett,Have you had a chance to read "Economics in one
Lesson"?Having the federal government fund and allocate money for
highways is clearly beyond the scope of its charter. It creates unintended
economic consequences( see Bastiant). Your problem is that you see the federal
government as the solution. You are also ignorant of free market economics.
That us the very reason you are stuck commenting rather than still in the
senate. Think outside the box! Try reading: "Privatization of Roads and
Highways " by Walter Block. There is a free PDF online.
Congress spends our money. Do they do it by voting on a specific issue and
deciding if it needs federal dollars, or to the take money that has been
budgeted to a department away from that department and give it to their
friends?It has been good that earmarks are no longer the return on
investment for big money, incumbents re-election campaigns, or lobbyists.A city shouldn't have to pay some lobbyist to donate to a campaign
fund of someone back in DC to get the help they need from the federal
Leave it to a politician to tell us that earmarks are a good thing. Thieves and
liars, and weaklings who,won't stand up to them. That's all we have in
congress right now. Add that to a president who is annexing power via czars, and
mandates and soon we won't even gave a republic anymore. Caesar would be
Bailout Bob still does not understand why he got booed and voted out of
office.The federal government is spending too much money!Transportation may be one of the less outrageous examples, but we already owe
$15 Trillion (and that should be a shocking amount of money, even to a career
Washington politician like Bennett or Hatch) and we simply need to cut
spending.No earmarks!And, fire the politicians who appoint
bureaucrats who make bad decisions about where to spend money.
Its time to focus on balancing the budget and not on earmark spending.
This is one of those rare moments when Mr. Bennett is right. Earmarks are merely
designations of where and how money already committed should be spent. They add
nothing to the cost. Banning earmarks only gives the executive branch more power
than it already has and makes congress less accountable. Where is the logic in
turning the power of the purse over to the president? Doesn't he have too
much power already?
Earmarks?And this, Bennett, is why you now currently write for
Deseret News. Orrin will be joining you soon.
With all due respect to the former Senator, he is simply wrong. A multi-year
transportation bill, which is written by Congress (and conforms to the
Constitution) distributes funds to the States on a formulary basis which
ultimately lets State Transportation Departments, in conjunction with State
Legislatures, local governments and public input, set the priorities for how
those funds should be spent – i.e., it returns decision making back to the
States. Earmarks circumvent this process by allowing funds to be
“set aside” for pet projects irrespective of State priorities. This
is how you get a “bridge to nowhere.” Earmarks are a bad idea and
should be rejected by anyone concerned about the amount of Federal power and the
inability of States to decide for themselves.
No, it's not.
Quid pro quo.The statesmans' elixir.A (retired)
politico comes clean with the receipe generations of the same have used to make
DC hum."...It's time to reinstate earmarks...".Back to the future?
It's time that people realized how much we've been swindled by
politicians. The 1974 Budget Reform Act took us away from baseline budgeting,
and replaced it with annual budget increases of 10% above the previous
year's spending level in each department. This is regardless of federal
revenue or necessity. Any talk of lowering the 10% growth to something smaller
has the Democrats crying "Draconian cuts" even though there would still
be more money than the year previous. This has GOT to spot. The deficit now
exceeds GDP with $5T all Obama's. Is it any wonder we have a debt crisis
with this sort of dishonest budgetary practice?
Well at least we can all sleep well knowing that the gov't treats these
funds as sacred and never has and never will misuse them. I don't know why
I don't sleep well however.
ECR, sounds like what happened in Murray.This op-ed makes me feel
real good about help oust Bennett. Unfortunately, Bridgewater didn't get
in, Lee did.
On Topic, the process of earmarks and spending on projects in general has
generated discontent because of mismanagement of public funds. But without any
spending allowed, we're seeing other consequences that negatively affect
lives. As ECR commented, having experts and expert stakeholders able to be
shunted aside with no debate has contributed to the poor decisions. Media
deciding to report on an issue, but neglect any in-depth research into it once
the scoop has been achieved has probably not helped. Aside: We
have commentary from New York? Yay for Deseret News!
If you needed a reminder of why Mr. Bennett is no longer a senator from Utah,
here it is. Congress can't agree on something via the normal legislative
process, they just put it in an earmark and stave off all responsibility for it.
Earmarks mean lobbyists. Nuff said.
Why not let red state legislators "earmark" their state's share of
federal highway funding for deficit reduction since they are constantly
bemoaning the evils of government spending. How many times have you heard Rob
Bishop say, "Government does not create jobs.?
The Tea Party guys that came in promised to balance the budget. So far
they've let the trillion dollar deficits continue. And now all the wasteful
spending continues, only now to the Solyndra's. Would anybody say that the
ban on earmarks has made spending less wasteful now that bureaucratic
"experts" get to make the decisions?
Mr. Bennett is a very brave man. He continues the advocate the very practice
that led to his constituents electing electing another in 2010. He may be
right. But, then again it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
>RothbardOh my goodness.Yes, the federal government absolutely
can constitutionally build roads, canals, bridges, any other internal
improvements. It's been settled for a very long time. Do we really need to
go back to arguments between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams? Also,
you know, there have been a few other developments in economics since 1850.
Bastiant? Really? He was an entertaining gadfly, but nobody really considers
him an important economist. Certainly not at the level of, oh, Adam Smith, John
Stuart Mill, or John Maynard Keynes, or Milton Friedman. Yes, Milton Friedman
and the Chicago school, Hayek and the Vienna school, liberals and conservatives,
all of whom universally thought the government could and should build roads. And
Hazlitt! Oh dear, oh dear. Next thing you know, you're going to start
quoting Ayn Rand.As for Walter Block, I've read his free, on-line
PDF, which I thought was worth what I paid for it. It's exactly what I love
about libertarianism--all theory, no evidence. Meanwhile, in the actual
world we all live in, great public servants like Bob Bennett want to build
roads. I'm all for it. Bastiant? Really?
Eric,"Oh my, Oh my". Is that all you have? Just look at
those economists you mention and see where it has gotten us. Proof enough!
Maybe if earmarks came back into use we could persuade some Republicans to stop
filibustering everything--such as judicial appointments. Yea, talking to you
>RothbardAs a matter of fact, we've built the greatest economy
the world has ever seen, largely on the foundation provided by a few economists,
primarily Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, John Maynard Keynes, Paul ('No
Relation") Samuelson, and Milton Friedman. Right now, the failure to enact a
sensible regulatory framework for securitized bond markets led to a brief wild
west episode of laissez faire insanity in those markets, nearly destroying the
world economy. We're getting out of it, and with no help at all from the
uninformed theories of a guy whose background in economics was one semester of
journalism school like Henry Hazlitt. I like Ron Paul. I like
libertarians. I think gadflies are useful, as long as they stay on the sidelines
carping, and stay a mile away from policy. I like Bastiant, actually--he was
pretty funny at times, and a valuable corrective when actual economists get too
full of themselves. But let's get real. Libertarianism is a theory,
utterly devoid supporting facts.
I love how politicians think and talk. Allow me to restate the good
Senator's argument:It's just plain wrong that all the
power to dictate where the tax booty is spent lies with the Executive Branch.
The Senate and House should share in the booty. The people need to know their
elected officials have the power to sneak or favor their share of the public
booty for the good of their constituents.This argument is exactly
analogous to Romney's stance on medicare:It's just plain
wrong that the federal government can dictate how you get medical care and
pillage the masses to ensure everyone is covered. That right to dictate and
pillage rightly belongs with the state governments.But never an
argument against the practice itself. Never do we hear a politician stand up
and fight for the minority, the ONE: It's wrong to take a man's money
(taxation) even for really great things like bridges.. It's wrong to
dictate to a man under penalty of law what he will spend his money on. Boy,
wouldn't it be great to hear that from a politician... even a retired one?
As others have so eloquently stated, "And this, Mr. Bennett, is why you no
longer represent Utah in the US Senate. Enjoy your retirement."
Bob,It's time you remember why you didn't make it out of
convention 2 years ago. Apparently, you have a very short term memory.