Is the Ban on Earmarks a Bait and Switch?

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The war against earmarks is fun to watch. The newbies in the tea party movement are so excited they discovered the war against big government two years ago that they fail to realize it’s been going on for decades, even centuries. God forbid they listen to the folks who have been in the trenches for years. They apparently think that by banning earmarks, they will end pork barrel spending. No, they will, as Ron Paul has pointed out many times, simply allow the President to pick the pork projects. Of course, Congress will still be involved in this selection process but now there will be no record of it. It will all be done on a wink and a nod behind closed doors.

To believe this is a real reform, you have to believe that Mitch McConnell is a real reformer, a real man of principle. Quick, name one thing this man has reformed. How are we better off because he was in the Senate? We know there are many men dead today because he slammed anyone who urged withdrawal of troops as, in effect, cowards. All the while, he was urging Bush to do just that for the sacred cause of getting big government Republicans re-elected.

Finally, banning earmarks is a procedural reform, not a substantive change. If you think that big government can be made to work by changing how it operates, you just might be a liberal. It’s always amusing to see self-described conservatives fighting to make big government work better.

If you want to cut spending, just cut spending. Don’t get embroiled in an arcane debate about the procedures for specifying how appropriated money is to be spent.

The way to eliminate pork is to get the federal government out of the infrastructure business, out of the economic development business and out of the research business. That would be a real change, and that’s why it won’t happen while jokers like McConnell are in charge.

And don’t forget to abolish HUD now.

7:45 am on November 16, 2010