Hey, remember three months ago, when millions of voters across America screamed loud and clear, “Please stop sending money to my town!”? I don’t think they do either…
Across the country, local governments, nonprofit groups and scores of farmers, to name but a few, are waking up to the fact that when Congress stamped out earmarks last week, it was talking about their projects, too.
Tensions are particularly acute in districts where new conservative lawmakers, many of whom criticized throughout their campaigns the practice of quietly inserting earmarks into spending bills, are coming face to face with local governments and interest groups who were counting on federal dollars to help shore up their own collapsing budgets.
People, when the teabaggers said they were going to cut spending and earmarks, what did you think they meant? Did you really think it would apply to every town but yours? Sure, “Let’s cut bloated federal spending so you can keep more of your hard-earned money!” sounds great in theory, but some of that “bloated federal spending” actually goes towards keeping the country running and helping to keep you and your neighbors afloat in hard times.
And that is precisely the spending that conservatives want to cut first – that, and Social Security. And Medicare. And education. And [insert any government program that isn't designed to enrich corporations or kill people].
On the bright side, you will be happy to hear that your shared sacrifice on earmarks is helping to cut the budget deficit by almost a half a percent! Now doesn’t that feel good?
(Pay no attention to the obligatory caveat behind the curtain:
The issue is hardly limited to Republican districts. Democrats, led by President Obama — who recently said earmarks were a bad thing — also agreed to give up the practice.