Originally posted by Mr.Dittohead:
Paul adds earmarks to spending bills, then votes against those bills so he can proclaim how he is really a fiscal conservative.
As pointed out, Ron Paul fearlessly calls for constitutionally limited government...the REAL REASON for out of control spending. Other politicians...left and right...make a so-called "stand" on earmarks, dishonestly claiming to be "fiscal conservative", when earmarks are a tiny portion of a federal budget.
Earmarks typically make up about 1% - 2% of the federal budget. Get rid of all the earmarks you want, and it would barely make a dent. That's because earmarks come out of a total amount of federal spending that's already carved in stone before the earmarks are ever doled out to the lawmakers.
In other words, the money's going to get spent anyway.
The only difference is that with earmarks, individual lawmakers get a little bit of say in how it gets spent. Take earmarks out of the equation, and the decisions get made within the executive branch, or at best, among the Congressional leadership...whose primary concern would be rewarding friends.
As Ron Paul has stated:
Earmarks Don't Add Up
"Because earmarks are funded from spending levels that have been determined before a single earmark is agreed to, with or without earmarks the spending levels remain the same. Eliminating earmarks designated by Members of Congress would simply transfer the funding decision process to federal bureaucrats rather then elected representatives. In an already flawed system, earmarks can at least allow residents of Congressional districts to have a greater role in allocating federal funds - their tax dollars - than if the money is allocated behind locked doors by bureaucrats. So we can be critical of the abuses in the current system but we shouldn't lose sight of how some reforms may not actually make the system much better.
The real problem... is the size of the federal government and the amount of money we are spending in these appropriations bills....
By Dr. Ron Paul
Earmarks seem to be the hot topic this week, and as a fiscal conservative I am dismayed so many people deliberately distort the earmarking process and grandstand to make political points. It is an easy thing to do with earmarks. It takes a little more time and patience to grasp the reality of what earmarks really are.
To be sure, if earmarks were the driving force behind explosive government spending as some have been led to believe, that would be a good reason for all the fuss. The misconception seems to be that members of Congress put together a bunch of requests for project funding, add them all together and come up with a budget. The truth is, it is not done that way. The total level of spending is determined by the Congressional leadership and the appropriators before any Member has a chance to offer any amendments. Members’ requests are simply recommendations to allocate parts of that spending for certain items in that members’ district or state. If funds are not designated, they revert to non-designated spending controlled by bureaucrats in the executive branch. In other words, when a designation request makes it into the budget, it subtracts funds out of what is available to the executive branch and bureaucrats in various departments, and targets it for projects that the people and their representatives request in their districts. If a congressman does not submit funding requests for his district the money is simply spent elsewhere. To eliminate all earmarks would be to further consolidate power in the already dominant executive branch and not save a penny.
Furthermore, designating how money is spent provides a level of transparency and accountability over taxpayer dollars that we don’t have with general funds. I argue that all spending should be decided by Congress so that we at least know where the money goes. This has been a major problem with TARP funding. The public and Congress are now trying to find out where all that money went.
The real issue is that the overall budget is too big, by far, which is why I always vote against it. But attacking the 1 percent that was earmarked solves nothing. The whole issue is a distraction from the real problems we face, which are that the Federal Government will absorb over 1/3 of our country’s GDP this year and taxpayers are forced to fork over more than half their income to fund government at all levels. On top of that, the national debt is $11 trillion, which is $36,000 per citizen. The recent increases in bailouts, government spending and money creation is going to hobble our economy for decades. We must curb the government’s appetite severely if this country is ever to thrive again. The noise over “earmarks” is a red herring and a distraction from the real issue of uncommitted spending.
It is time to attack the entirety of government spending. We especially need a full account of the activities of the Federal Reserve that spends and creates trillions of dollars with no meaningful oversight. This is a huge problem that needs immediate attention.