I feel like the battle for the new shape of our government has just begun. The fiscal conservatives – read Tea Party candidates – are taking on the Republican establishment to push through a ban on earmarks. As expected – professional incumbents like Mitch McConnell are organizing against the insurgent forces of Jim DeMint.
Is it even feasible that a Republican party who surfed the Tea Party wave to power could not pass a ban on earmarks? One of the most visible and fiscally wasteful practices in Congress! Well apparently yes.
McConnell argues some non-sense about usurping Congresses power to appropriate money and ceding it to the executive branch. Others argue that earmarks make up such a small amount of spending that they are trivial and this is just a way for the new boys and girls to score points. Both those statements are true. Its political, and the dollars are trivial. But banning earmarks could not be more philosophically important to reforming government.
Let me make a crazy analogy – which I’m prone to do. I am not an alcoholic. Though I have friends with alcohol and substance abuse issues. When they go to their 1st AA or NA meeting, they are not cured. But unless they go to their 1st meeting, then their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on, there’s no chance to recover and live with their addiction. But they have to actually get to their 1st meeting, stand up, and admit they have a problem. Banning earmarks is like going to your 1st meeting. It won’t do a damn bit of good in curbing the impulse that leads them to drink or use, but it’s the only chance they have to be able to one day say – “I’ve been sober for 20 years”.
God help us if Congress can’t get to their 1st meeting of “spend-aholics” anonymous.
Guest Blogger Jeff