Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Earmark moratorium not even a dent in federal spending

GOP leaders this week announced they will push for a moratorium on all earmark spending -- the little bits of spending that appear in bills that have little to do with the actual bill in question. (Think "bridge to nowhere")

Commonly called "pork" by insiders, the ban on earmarks by the GOP plays right into the hands of Tea Party proponents, who voted largely for candidates that promised to end the practice of sliding unwanted spending into important bills being voted upon by Congress.

Any cuts to spending should be celebrated, especially if they're cuts that aren't necessary. Pork spending can be voted upon separately, can be created through bills on their own and, if believed to be important enough, passed by Congress and signed by the president, making them into law.

But while we can look at this moratorium as a good deal, it shouldn't be celebrated TOO much: earmarks make up less than three-tenths of a percentage point of federal spending.

This chart symbolizes how small a dent the moratorium will be, with the blue symbolizing the amount of earmarks currently part of the federal budget:

Just food for thought on the whole earmark debate.

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