Earmarks are a corrupt and corrupting system for spending taxpayer money. Transportation projects, for instance, shouldn’t be prioritized due to which member of Congress has more power or seniority. Federally funded projects, rather, should be able to stand on their own merit, right?
We agree with our friends at the Cato Institute, that Congress should keep earmarks out of the December omnibus that will be considered during the always-dangerous lame-duck session after the Election.
Check out this report from Cato:
“Following a decade long earmark ban, members of Congress went all out on requesting earmarks in the most recent omnibus spending bill. According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 included 4,963 earmarks that spend a cumulative total of $9.1 billion.
“Earmarks bypass competitive and other merit‐based funding processes. This can mean a greater misallocation of resources and/or government waste. They encourage lobbying or rent‐seeking, which in itself is an economic cost. Earmarking also costs much of congressional staffs’ and legislators’ time, assuming they do their due diligence. If every member of Congress took full advantage of their 10 earmarks per fiscal year allowance, legislative staff would need to review more than 5,300 earmark requests per year.
“And earmark requests are unlikely to be spread out evenly on the calendar, likely clustering around fiscal deadlines—like the end of the fiscal year or as CR expiration dates approach.”
That is expected to take place in December during the lame-duck session.
“I agree with earmark proponents on [one] point: state and local constituents have a better understanding than Washington bureaucrats of where project funding will do the most good. Which is why we should devolve more responsibilities back to states and localities to address their own needs and priorities without Washington as their middleman.
“Earmarking is the wrong way to ensure government spending reflects local priorities.”
Read Cato’s entire report here.