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Symptom of the Disease: $300 million in earmarks benefit political elite

Wynton Hall over at Big Government points to a Washington Post article posted online yesterday detailing earmark projects that benefited property and business owners who happened to be congress-critters who either sponsored or voted for the earmark.

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Republicans want stimulus pork dollars too

GOP politicians have been quietly writing letters to government agencies encouraging them to fund special pork projects in their home districts or states. At the same time they join calls for ending pork barrel earmarks claiming they are a waste of tax dollars. This is nothing new.

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Shades of J. Wellington Wimpy

Perhaps I am showing my age… or just the spoiled fodder of a mis-spent youth, but Obama’s budget director Peter Orszag is starting to remind me of Wimpy, the hamburger-mooching ne’er-do-well out of the old Popeye cartoons, he who would “surely pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  With Orszag, the promise is “We will surely end earmarks… later.”

According to CNN, Mr. Orszag has laid down the law — there will be no more pork-laden budgets… later.  For, now, however, the menu calls for sausage, spam, bacon and spam — some eight billion dollars in the new “supplementary” budget bill — a little less than two percent of the total bill, but you know what they say — a billion here, a billion there and, pretty soon, we’re talking real money.

Update:(JV) Here’s Orszag with Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation … a picture perfect example of what Dave is talking about. “We promise, America, to begin that diet … just as soon as we finish this last hamburger.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UC0PYaaOqY

It’s Not Pork If You Can See It -Update Video

Yup … that’s what far left liberal Democrat Debbie Schultz tells Neil Cavuto in this evening’s Cavuto moment. But the best part comes at the end when Schultz says Obama will cut the budget deficit in half in four years. Cavuto says no way and makes Schultz the second best best of the day. Hint – it’s green friendly.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAvMHayPnLw

What’s the first best bet of the day? Come on … do you have to ask?

You say tomato … I say …

My mom used to sing that song … now the Democrats are singing it too. Tonight’s Neil Cavuto moment comes with West Virginia Democrat Congressman Nick Rahall. Read more

Failure!

No need to comment. Neil Cavuto on Fox says it all. Enjoy or not. Read more

Can Obama curb Congressional pork projects?

I’m really not so sure. Many are of the thought the horse has left the barn, Elvis the building, and the pig is rolling in the slop.

During yesterday’s media show, Obama promised to ban, that’s right ban, all earmarks. My question right off the bat is what is his definition of an earmark?

… we’re going to have to stop talking about budget reform. We’re going to have to totally embrace it. It’s an absolute necessity.

And it has to begin with the economic recovery and reinvestment plan that Congress will soon be considering, that we’re going to be investing an extraordinary amount of money to jump-start our economy, save or create 3 million new jobs, mostly in the private sector, and lay a solid foundation for future growth.

But we’re not going to be able to expect the American people to support this critical effort unless we take extraordinary steps to ensure that the investments are made wisely and managed well. And that’s why my recovery and reinvestment plan will have – will set a new higher standard of accountability, transparency, and oversight.

We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review. We will create an economic recovery oversight board made up of key administration officials and independent advisers to identify problems early and make sure we’re doing all that we can to solve it. We will put information about where money is being spent online so that the American people know exactly where their precious tax dollars are going and whether we are hitting our marks.

When Obama states that we are going to ban all earmarks, it certainly sounds pretty good but the problem is that the Executive Branch does not have that power. Congress determines spending budgets, and all that Obama can do is veto legislation that has – again, what he defines as – earmarks.

Morrissey at Hot Air has more.

… Obama is only limiting his earmark ban to the recovery package, not overall — and even then, not entirely. Only those projects inserted without review count as earmarks. What constitutes “review”? A floor vote, or a discussion in committee among the porkers around the table? And even then, the only way Obama can get earmarks out would be to veto anything Congress presents to him with earmarks within it — and I doubt Obama would kill the centerpiece of his domestic economic agenda merely to make a point about a process he himself used repeatedly as a Senator. In fact, Obama never even mentioned a veto during the press conference.

I also find it highly revealing of the media attending this presser that not one reporter challenged Obama on his authority to deliver on that promise. It’s practically Con Law 101, or even high-school civics, and yet no one thought to wonder how Obama would “ban earmarks” as President. Pathetic.

Lindgren at Volokh Conspiracy agrees that any reduction in earmarks is a good thing, but Obama did not go as far as McCain did promising to eliminate them all together.

He notes Obama was specifically speaking about the current hot topic of the day – the next stimulus package – and not the everyday management of Washington.

… he [Obama] did pledge today to eliminate earmarks in the bill that might be the biggest pork-spending opportunity that Congress has ever considered — which is a major step. Just how much waste this move prevents will depend a lot on how the Obama administration chooses particular projects.

I’m willing to bet that plenty of Democrats on the hill – including John Murtha – are going to be getting what many conservatives call pork… earmarks… or whatever else that you want to call it.

The federal government is just involved in too much unconstitutional spending at the local level. Like I said, I’m afraid that horse has left the barn. What can we do?