Posts Tagged ‘Congress’

Why Would We Let Bureaucrats Spend Our Money?

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

A battle is about to be joined this week on Capitol Hill.  This is even before the lame duck session and the newly elected Members of Congress take over in January.  The push is to ban earmarks.

There is a danger in ending this practice.  That is putting the spending of our tax dollars in the hands of the well known “faceless bureaucrat” in hundreds of government agencies.  I have heard no one talking about eliminating the $15.9 billion in earmarks in spending last year.  All that would happen is removing Members of Congress out of the decision making. 

If advocates of keeping earmarks are wanting to add new spending  then that is a debate changer.

The first priority of any Member of Congress is to look after their congressional district that is what drives earmarks.  When I worked on Capitol Hill in the 1970’s I never heard the word earmark.  In those days we had to beg and appeal to some “faceless bureaucrat” on the other end of phone about the importance of a particular project.

Now you tell me who knows what is best needed in a congressional district or state than those elected by the people.  The only public official closer to the people than a Member of Congress is a member of a City Council.  I doubt most federal workers making funding decisions have ever been in Crum, West Virginia!

Let’s add another element to this debate.  Bureaucrats are responsive to their bosses.  Today the executive branch of government is controlled by the Obama Administration.  You can bet when a Member of Congress calls an agency if earmarks are ended, the agency staff will know which party they belong or how that voted on an important Obama issue. 

If Congress is going to end earmarks then the money saved should go to the federal treasury as a payment on the national debt – not to some unknown person or computer to spend at their discretion.