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Time to End Earmarks?
Earmarks, those small sections of appropriations bills that designate funds for specific projects, have come under increasing attack by multiple watchdogs. An article on the Federal Page of the January 27th Washington Post carries the subtitle "Legislative Watchdogs Wage War on Earmarks and P--k."

According to Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the leading anti-pork watchdog groups, the number of earmarks has risen from 1,349 in 1995 to 13,997 in 2005.

In discussing watchdog accomplishments, the Post noted that "Taxpayers for Common Sense elevated an obscure Alaska highway project into the now-infamous ‘Bridge to Nowhere.' Citizens Against Government Waste started battling runaway Hurricane Katrina spending three days after the storm hit the Gulf Coast."

The various anti-pork watchdog don't fit any single ideological mold and instead "range from liberal to libertarian." The article notes that" Taxpayers for Common Sense, created 10 years ago, regards the late former senator William Proxmire (D-Wis.) as its spiritual leader...."

The anti-earmark movement watchdogs are being fueled by "a budget crisis and a series of scandals involving legislative favors...." While the former get most of the ink, the budget crisis is the real scandal.

Winston recognizes that the threat to national solvency posed by a confluence of factors including Medicare costs far exceeds the problems posed by earmarks. However, the rapid growth of earmarks is a symptom of a fundamental lack of budget discipline that pervades the entire fiscal decision-making process. Unless the process is fixed, there won't be any money left to earmark.
  • Click here to see Citizens Against Government Waste website
  • Click here to see Taxpayers for Common Sense website


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