Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 2014 E250 Bluetec 4-Matic, 1983 240D 4-Speed
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 255 Post(s)
I think the term "earmarks" and the practice by which they become part of the annual spending bill needs to be changed. Mcbear is right, there are some instances of "earmarking" that are for the good of the country.
This happens because the normal, generally much less specific allocation of funding to the various branches of the government allows those funds for essentially all the items in the "portfolio" that made up that particular government branch's budget request, to be reallocated. There are limits to the reallocation (the welfare check writing office can't, for instance, write a check for a nuclear powered submarine), but once the money is authorized by Congress, the actual expenditures of funds are pretty much up to the discretion of the head of the agency.
This might not be a "bad" thing you say. Well, if it was an occasional occurrence and not the rule, that might be ok. But, once the budget is approved, because some "higher priority" program that would get the axe if anyone actually asked for the right amount of money up front was funded to a politically acceptable but significantly short level, various projects are canceled or "put on hold due to budget restrictions" even though they were part of what Congress authorized when that department's budget was submitted, in order to pay for the "higher priority" project.
Earmarks were invented to overcome this activity. If a specific new project that was too small a number to warrant a specific line item in the budget was desired by Congress and they wanted the cognizant organization in the government to STFU and complete the project, the funds were "earmarked" for that project.
Once certain department heads realized the way this worked, they worked on Congress to make the "earmarks" turn into "adders" to their budgets, and they agreed to take out the funds in their portfolio that used to be in there to bolster and justify their budget request. Seemed like a workable solution, but it has since been exploited like a small vein of gold in side the of a mountain.
So the intent of earmarks was for Congress to be able to direct specific, lower level funding projects be done in various government agencies and departments. I know this because I used to work as a DoD contractor and it was a way to get projects funded that the Navy actually needed but would otherwise never be able to make happen. I thought this was because the Navy was particularly heavily afflicted by lack of leadership, but it seems this is a practice that has gained popularity across the federal bureaucracy.
I was also not impressed with the whole discussion on Georgia. I am at a loss as to why we are automatically siding with Georgia and not the two breakaway states. I hear about the oil pipeline but don't understand why, if the two states want to become part of Russia or be independent, why that is putting the pipeline at risk.
And, regardless, I don't understand why Georgia should be considered for membership in NATO. What do they add? Nothing but liability. Fuck them. Let Europe bring that issue up in the UN.
But, I have to conceded I thought McCain handled his ire better than I was expecting. He is full of bullshit and is willing to lie over and over and then play act about it, which is only worse for him than anyone else because he touts his campaign as some kind of "straight talk" event. Makes him even more of a hypocrite.