Time to play Don Quixote again and take another useless sally against a dull stodgy windmill….

Letter to the editor in the local paper today:

Banning earmarks won’t reduce debt
So the Republicans have started their deficit-reduction plan. They chose to start by eliminating earmarks. Wow.
The last I heard, earmarks accounted for less than 1 percent of the budget. What a bold move.
If Republicans were serious about reducing the debt, they would look at eliminating the tax cuts for the people who don’t need them, and think about ending the two wars that are the biggest drain on our economy.
I am sick and tired of hearing the old saying that lower taxes produce jobs. If that were true, we should be inundated with jobs, because the tax cuts have been in place the past eight years.
Also, does the earmark elimination include all the schools, roads, libraries and infrastructure that we are paying for in Iraq? Or do we help Iraq and yank the rug out from under a state in America?
If you were wondering how the Republicans were going to govern, there was a pretty good indicator in Tuesday’s newspaper (“Moran says he’d extend tax cuts, not jobless aid,” Nov. 16 Eagle). Sen.-elect Jerry Moran was sending out a “Merry Christmas” greeting. Was it for you?

Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2010/11/19/1595421/letters-to-the-editor-on-earmarks.html#ixzz15m50f1FU

To which I reply, Neener, neener,neener! No, not really. It’s this:

OK, OK, so earmarks are a tiny fraction of the federal budget (November 19 Eagle Letter). You’ve got to look at the larger picture.

A system that allows some senator to hold the entire federal budget hostage to a single bridge can only be described as broken. And let’s not forget that when those wonderful earmarked over-, under- and by- passes eventually require maintenance, it’ll be the _state_ government that pays for repairs, not the feds.

But the real corrosive power of pork-barreling isn’t in the budget. It’s in the voting booth. If congressman A sticks some enormously stupid earmark into a bill about apple pie and motherhood, and congressman B votes against it, what will you hear during the next campaign? That’s right: “Congressman B voted against apple pie and motherhood!”

Admittedly, with this two year moratorium, Republicans are fighting earmarks in a timid, half-hearted way — and why wouldn’t they? It’s what keeps most of them in office. So we’re going to have to help them stay honest. That’s why I support a federal anti hog house amendment. It just says “every bill shall be about one clearly stated topic, and all amendments to it must be relevant to that topic.” That’s it. Tear down the sty where the pork lives. Step one in a long trail to fiscal responsibility. After all, a billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and eventually you’re talking about real money.

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