Earmarks, which had been banned for more than a decade, were recently revived as a “community project fund” in a March $ 1.5 trillion government spending bill.
Of course, given the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” disrespectful mark, Democrats can’t say we’re going back to the same old, same old. So they have reassured Americans that the reforms will prevent waste and abuse, and as House Appropriations Chairperson Rosa Delauro puts it, “will allow members to have a deeper, first-hand understanding of their community’s needs to work to help those we represent.”
To begin with, it is important to remember how easily earmark restrictions can be avoided, in which earmarks are actually something else. Consider the summer of 2007. Before the Congress went on summer vacation, the House of Representatives turned to creative geography, thinking that certain places were somewhere else. Marinet, Wisconsin and Menomini, Michigan, were counted as more than 200 miles south of Chicago. The counties of Albany, Schenectady and Renssela were counted as part of Hartford, Connecticut in the upper part of New York. Pemberton Township, New Jersey, was counted as 60 miles away in New York City. Other places were also relocated.
That was driven by local slate-of-hand Medicare reimbursement rules. Its hospital payments are adjusted substantially for wage-rate differences within the area (about 70% of payments to cover labor costs). So setting up Medicare treatment facilities in low-wage areas as if they were in high-wage areas allowed politicians to pay special interest benefits (at the expense of others, of course) to their district hospitals without calling it a specific sign. The bill, for example, did not require special treatment for the Bay Area Medical Center, as it was the only benefit that satisfied Bill’s language: Located in Chicago, ”with such precise descriptions it provides an excuse to claim that it is not a sign. A hypothetical reform that could be defeated by such rationalists, as Ambrose Bears says, “is one thing that appeals to most anti-reform reformists,” although it teaches an important geography lesson – that when politicians show interest in geography, it is another district. Transfer their money from
So what is the key reform now to protect Americans from abuse? A transparency rule that requests must be included on a searchable website, outside of the need for prior reform that would identify sponsors.
Unfortunately, the naming earmark sponsor basically provides window dressing instead of renovation. The same is true of the new transparency rules, as they do not significantly change the underlying political motives.
Identifying supporters and requesting their marks may not initially deter many pigs because politicians are already trumpeting for elections what they bring home for them. Identifying sponsors and promoting requests only repeats what their beneficiaries already know. New information is provided only to “outsiders” who are forced to pay. But those outsiders can’t vote for or against that representative anyway, so any “enhanced accountability” actually gives them little electoral influence.
One would hope that earmark would make it easier to identify sponsors and that their requests would enable others in Congress to pressure the worst abusers to reduce their looting. But history gives very little evidence that there will be lawsuits. Even posters for horrible waste have seldom been discarded by children’s negative publicity. The only signs of serious danger are usually from those who dare to question the pork project of others.
Special interests arise from political domination. Beneficiaries support those who gain enough from them and those who distribute them. The rest of us, who have to finance them, each at a small rate. We are thus ignorant and uninvolved. And win special interests.
Eliminating earmark abuse faces the same problem, on the contrary. Deleting a sign does considerable damage to a small, organized group. They oppose it, threatening to withdraw support. But since it will benefit everyone a small amount of others, others rarely notice. So delegates attract more votes by bringing their own pork home than others by eliminating pork or reforming the system. As a result, special interests are very effective in protecting their hard-earned profits.
The need for such transparency is reinforced by the rearrangement and aging of pork-insulating strength. Many “safe” germinated districts are virtually impenetrable to serious electoral challenges, so some unhappy voters pose little threat to most incumbents. Moreover, the biggest abusers are those who have risen to the strongest position. This means that their beneficiaries will also lose at the highest rate if they promote genuine airmark reform (as directed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, who received a total of 59 earmarks of approximately $ 80 million in the Housing and Urban Development Department, alone). This means that for most potential congressional reformers, too much future pork is at risk, when they get more seniority on important committees, at the risk of alienating power brokers who are currently the most scheming from the system.
Whenever Americans are assured that they will be “insured” against certain abuses, it sounds like a real reform. But that’s a lot more image than insurance. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. Earmarks are still large of special interest which does not require regular budgets to meet the minimum standards of the horse-trade, enabling mutual extortion of Americans. And their supporters have no real answer to the question of why those who would benefit from such a project would both decide. And funding They, instead of sending their taxes to Washington, some of which are omitted, and then ask someone in Beltway to decide for them what they need most for what is left of the fund.