Earmark Moratorium

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has had a change of heart on earmarks, presumably in response to the Tea Party’s demand for fiscal austerity.  Note that earmarks account for only 1% of the federal budget.  He was applauded by Tea Party darling Jim DeMint who was for earmarks before he was against them.  Even President Obama in favor of it.

But not everyone likes the moratorium.  Notable climate change denier, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is hopping mad about the moratorium.  So why is he upset?  Earmarks are the means for congress critters to bring home the bacon to their district.  This makes voters happy, and more likely to vote for them in the next election.

The  rub is that most earmarks go to red states.  No wonder McConnell needed persuading, Inhofe is upset and the President is pleased as punch.

The only real question is how long the moratorium will last?



Filed under dnd

83 responses to “Earmark Moratorium

  1. Morning peeps,

    Here’s a breakdown by states on how earmark money is doled out.


  2. dog's eye view

    Tee hee.

  3. I was surprised to see Texas #1 on the list. We’ll save a fortune when the state leave the union!

  4. Dooty

    they ain’t leaving Brian so don’t get your hopes up.

  5. dog's eye view

    From Christian Science Monitor article on topic, from sidebar:

    “Furthermore, some budget experts question whether ending earmarks would reduce spending at all. That is because striking out earmark language does not necessarily reduce the total amount of money appropriated by congress for, say, bridge construction. It just relieves the Department of Transportation of the need to pay for a particular bridge in a particular place.

    “Eliminating earmarks absolutely doesn’t reduce spending. All it does is change the place where the spending decision is made from the legislative to the executive branch,” wrote Stan Collender, a former staffer for both House and Senate Budget Committees ….

    … However, critics of earmarking point out that even two percent of federal spending is a lot of money. In fiscal 2005 that came out to $47.4 billion, according to CRS.

    And eliminating earmarks would also end a situation where everyone in Congress has a vested interest in approving larger and larger appropriations bills, say earmark critics. In that sense it might indeed result in a reduction in overall federal spending.”


    I think it’s worth trying. $47 billion is a lot of bucks, and some of these projects should rise or fall on their own merits or — in some cases — be funded by the private sector, if they are that beneficial.

    Will be interesting to watch.

    Congress is badly corrupted; the Democrats slightly less owned by the plutocracy than the GOP but it’s still a bad system that does not fund what would benefit us in the long run (green technology and consumer protection) and rewards lobbying and gaming the system.

    If this is a camel’s nose under the tent in making some serious reforms, I am for it.

    However, seems it’s likely symbolic and simplistic.

    • dnd

      “Obama will not, however, be seeing any profits from the book. All proceeds from sales of “Of Thee I Sing” will be donated to a scholarship fund for the children of soldiers who have been killed or disabled.”

      That alone is a good enough reason to buy the book.

  6. dog's eye view

    Amazon’s got it for $8.99.

  7. dog's eye view

    I wish Charlie Rangel would resign, and had done so before the election.

    Unethical is unethical, and I get tired of “it’s all right if our side does it.”

    David Kurtz at Talking Points is blithering on about “thwarting the will of the people” [who overwhelmingly re-elected Rangel], but couldn’t you say the same thing about William Jefferson and his freezer full of troubles?

    It just gets tiresome.

    • dnd

      Ya know Dog, it’s just tragic when someone who has done so much ends their career on such a sour note. It’s sad for Rangel, his family and his constituents, but it’s a good lesson for the rest of us.

  8. dog's eye view

    Agreed, dnd.

    Just read the New York Times Caucus blog on the Bush Library groundbreaking.

    Readers suggest that Cheney himself looked shovel-ready.

    Good riddance. Although he should be on trial at The Hague.


  9. dog's eye view

    Oh, and congratulations to Prince William and Kate Middleton.

    They are handling their romance and engagement about the polar opposite of the Prince Charles-Lady Diana precedent.

    Sounds more realistic, and I wish them many happy years together.

  10. dog I’m not sure someone who just won re-election with 80% of the vote should resign.

  11. dog's eye view

    Understood, Brian.

    And we would expect the same standard for Tom Delay, or anyone else who is convicted of ethics violations.

    80% says that’s a pretty safe Democratic seat. Which could have been won by someone else, who could have begun gaining seniority to represent the district.

    This was a vanity play by Rangel, I would say.

  12. How bout we wait and see what the panel recommends as his punishment?

  13. dog's eye view

    Brian: not trying to be difficult, and I do respect Charlie Rangel for standing up for a lot of good ideas (draft, anyone? so you can put your young’uns on the line too).

    But tiring of the situational ethics aspect.

    “It’s OK, he or she is a Republican/Democrat/member of the right club.”

    $60,000 in unpaid taxes is not much for one of our plutocrat Senators, whose ranks are growing.

    It’s a huge amount for the average constituent, though.

    Who would love to live in a rent-controlled apartment.

  14. dog's eye view

    Yeah. They always police their own. Loopholes you can drive a staff-driven sedan through.

    A better topic: how are the pups?

    • dnd

      Cheney looks like hell, yet he didn’t lose the opportunity of the dedication of the Bush library to dis Obama.

      Salvatore Giunta got the medal of honor today and said he didn’t deserve it despite his heroism.

      Interesting contrast between the draft dodger (he had other priorities) and a volunteer.

  15. Understood Dog and of course my opinion is very biased on this one.

  16. dog's eye view

    Yeah, I understand you hold a lot of affection and respect for Charlie Rangel, and he deserves quite a lot of it.

    But I hate seeing people make themselves targets by their misbehavior and shortcomings.

    There are a lot of good Congresscritters, and they get tarred with the same brush.

    Retirement is not the worst thing that can happen to someone.

  17. dog's eye view

    I wonder if this will be Cheney’s last public appearance, or darn near.

    Someone on Balloon Juice was surmising Cheney would kick and then W and others would lay all misdeeds at his door.

  18. Lets just hope he dies soon!

  19. dog's eye view

    Not before his ass gets dragged to The Hague.

    Yeah, in my dreams.

    I am curious: has Cheney ever left the country since leaving office?

    Looks like he’ll be travelling air ambulance for the future, but am wondering if he’s worried about ending up extradited.

    He’s about to escape earthly retribution.

  20. dog's eye view

    Check back soon.

    Roasting some beautiful yellow beets for a salad, and some chicken. We got our farm box today, and it was technicolor.

    Manhattan in hand. Carry on.

  21. dog's eye view

    You might enjoy the reader comments appended to the NYT story. Except one reader, who gets taken to task.

    But we are all better for having people like SSgt Giunta in our world.

  22. TempeBev

    Read in the paper that Sen Kyl has killed the US-Russia missile proposition since there are not enough repugs to vote with Dems to pass it. Another shinning example of AZ products. McShame has twisted again on DADT.

    The Mormon church has changed their position re: gays, but still classifies them with rapists, murders, etc. What an outstanding organization.

    Thank goodness there are people like SSgt Giunta how actually care about others. It looks like McTurtle chin is on tract to accomplish his goal – getting rid of Obama.

  23. dog's eye view

    So glad to hear of Murkowski’s win, and hope she makes life difficult for the DeMinted faction.

    Hoping Joe Miller is damaged goods; he really is thug-like and maybe Alaskans will remember that.

    Plus, Nancy Pelosi has been re-elected leader of the House Democrats, although some fractures are apparent.

    So a good day.

  24. dog's eye view

    Saw that Warren Buffet op ed in today’s NYTimes. “Pretty Good for Government Work”

    And saddened that people are talking about the Palins rather than it.

    Buffet: “Well, Uncle Sam, you delivered. People will second-guess your specific decisions; you can always count on that. But just as there is a fog of war, there is a fog of panic — and, overall, your actions were remarkably effective.”

    But what does he know? He been on Dancing with the Stars?

  25. TempeBev

    I don’t think Kyl can see Russia from AZ, but he may have converted.

    • dnd

      Wow, the GM IPO is going gangbusters. I wonder what the right wing “Obama is a socialist” crowd will say when the US makes money on the GM bailout? Probably the same silence since we’ve made money on TARP.

  26. dog's eye view

    I know, dnd.

    The White House needs to get out there and say that, over and over again.

    And reference that well known Marxist Warren Buffet’s essay too.

  27. tempebev

    Don’t know why my picture disappeared – oh well.

    It’s hard to believe that Utah has done something about immigration better than AZ.


    • dnd

      What picture? There’s nothing from you in the spam bucket.

    • dnd

      Well someone has to pick the tomatoes in Provo and work in the hotels, restaurants and ski areas around Park City. 😉

      Actually, back when I lived in SL,UT I found people to be pretty tolerant of each other. Utah is very diverse and a great state.

  28. TempeBev

    I agree that SL,UT is a good place, further out, not so much.

  29. Dooty

    Friend of mine used to live in Brigham, Utah and he calls Utah “The Stepford State.”

    • dnd

      During my time in SL,UT, I visited Ogden, Logan, Provo and Moab (before Moab was cool). Nothing but positive things to say. And I spent a lot of time in in the national parks, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion among my favorites. And the national forests were stunning. All the people in the small towns surrounding these areas were very friendly to us tourists from up north.

      For those who have never visited UT, the best skiing on earth is thirty minutes east of SLC. Moab is known for it’s mountain biking, and, as I said, the national parks are spectacular.

  30. Salt Lake City is the whitest place I’ve ever been to!

  31. dog's eye view

    Yeah, remembering the road trip with Chef Sheila, Utah was absolutely stunning.

    Cannot believe how beautiful the American West.

  32. Dooty

    @Brian: Salt Lake City has a pro basketball team. Want white? Try Montana. There are American Indians there but few blacks. Probably a few Mexicans also. Had a friend here for a couple of weeks this fall from Montana. He was somewhat freaked out about where I live. BTW, he survived and was not attacked or robbed.

  33. Dooty

    I agree with Dnd and Dog about the beauty of the American West. I always prefer to drive thru that part of the world.

  34. tempebev

    SLC is not the whitest place – Los Alamos NM is. I have kids in both places, and there is absolutely no comparison.

    There is also no comparison between the drive to UT and NM. UT wins by several hundred miles. The places that D mentioned are stunning. We have been to all of them. This time on the way home we drove thru Bryce. It really is a beautiful state.

  35. Breaking News Alert
    The New York Times
    Thu, November 18, 2010 — 6:11 PM ET

    House Panel Votes to Recommend Censure of Representative Charles B. Rangel

    After deliberating most of the afternoon Thursday, the House
    Committee on Standards of Official Conduct recommended
    censure for Representative Charles B. Rangel.

    The vote was a stunning setback for the veteran Harlem
    congressman, who made an emotional plea for leniency before
    the panel Thursday. The House will now have to vote on the
    censure resolution, and if it does so, the speaker would need
    to rebuke the 20-term Democrat in front of his colleagues.

  36. dog's eye view

    Good morning all.

    Cold for Southern California and we are due for some rain this weekend.

    • dnd

      First MSNBC suspends Obermann and now Scarborough. Both of who’s stock in trade is demagoguery and hyperbole. Did they do this for ratings?

      Jon Stewart was right. The demagoguery and hyperbole you get on MSNBC (Obermann and Scarborough – the rest is pretty reasonable) is pretty much the same as what you get on Fox.

  37. Dooty

    I figure Scar will take Thurs and Friday as suspension days anyway. That way he can stay in Fla longer.

  38. TempeBev

    After watching Jon Stewart’s show last night, the difference between the major cable news and the basic cable faux news is so obvious. He nailed it right on with his interview with Rachel. They have things in common but their shows are not the same.

    I hope the 27 miners in New Zealand are fortunate to have the same outcome as the ones in Chile.

    PS SL,UT dtr was actually surprised at the comparison between UT and AZ regarding immigration. If only other states had the same view. (Like AZ for one)

  39. TempeBev

    Yes except the article in the local newspaper didn’t mention any reward which pissed me off. I’m glad to see this article mentioned it.

    This was a true feel good story.

  40. TempeBev

    My question for the day – are tea party members collectively voting to keep Bistol Palin on Dancing with the Stars? Kinda makes you wonder after watching the show. I don’t, but just caught one episode – she’s definitely not a top tier dancer.

    • dnd

      Our founding fathers made sure that the tyranny of the masses would not subjugate reason. Dancing with the Stars does not adhere to those same principles. 😉

  41. Dooty


    possibly and it is possibly rigged also. I tell my wife that ever Monday and Tuesday. Only one more week to endure this trip. Small gifts….

  42. dog's eye view

    That is a terrific story about the homeless man returning the money.

    I hope he accepts a Thanksgiving invite or two, and that some of the job leads pan out. Solid character.

  43. Moring peeps,
    Ok here’s what I think will happen in 2012, Palin wins the repug nomination, Romney runs as a third party candidate and Obama wins in a landslide!


  44. dog's eye view

    I am hoping the Wasilla Wonder will implode long before the 2012 primaries.

    If so much of the media wasn’t foisting the unqualified Sarah upon us, and she is a sideshow, what else might people be doing?

    Screaming more about the banksters and the status quo?

    • dnd

      I’m really starting to believe that the media obsession with Caribou Barbie is they want to create a story and ratings. Or that they are lazy and don’t want to think about real issues. It’s like political analysts covering Dancing with the Stars (oh wait a minute, with Bristol, they are!). Cripes, even Frank Rich did a piece on her in todays NYT.

      This celebrity obsessed culture is really creepy. As Dan Hicks once sang: “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?”

  45. dog's eye view

    Tech question for those who know WordPress better:

    I am working up a blogpost for backchannel, believe it or not, and wonder if it’s possible to set up links seamlessly within one’s own text.

    As we see on Balloon Juice, where someone can say “Obama did/said so and so” and that statement appears in blue with the link to a story from elsewhere embedded within.

    As opposed to saying “Obama did …” and then http://www.nytimes.longlinklinethattotallybreaksupthestory.

    Does WordPress have that capability?

    Because it would be way cool to be able to say “Smith’s argument on climate change” and “Smith’s argument” would appear in blue and link you to the article or essay containing the argument.

    (As in, you don’t need to take my word for it and maybe you would make a different argument based on reading the original.)

    Would be great for allowing all 7 of us backchannel readers to follow back to the source material.

    What say ye?

  46. Yes the word press editor will allow you embed links. Just highlight the text then click on the link icon in the editor.

  47. dog's eye view

    Thanks Brian. Will give it a spin.

    And be back to you with the next set of questions.

    How is NYC today?

    Chilly, windy here and my house is not cleaning itself.

  48. Now if they can put a man on the man you’d think they could come up with a self cleaning house.

  49. dog's eye view

    dnd: I think the 24/7 Palin is that they think it will sell and they get ratings without having to do their job or investigate actual news.

    It’s like the Truman Show, only with someone who will never become aware.

    Moreover, megacorporations own all of our networks and major cable news channels, and they don’t want to deal with pitchforks at the gate should their easily amused viewers get a whiff of what the megacorporations’ real interests are.

    Which is raking in bucks and protecting their ability to do so.

  50. Hey don’t under estimate the fact that she essentially controls the most vocal and energized wing of the GOP, the teabaggers.

  51. TempeBev

    An interesting story on the opinion page of NYT written by the SS gentleman assigned to Mrs. Kennedy.

  52. dog's eye view

    Haunting story, Bev.

    November 22 never passes without a serious sense of loss.

  53. That should be the least of Pat’s worsts!

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