Recently Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives decided to ban earmarks for private firms. Republicans in the House one-upped the Democrats in the House by pledging to ban all earmarks. That includes earmarks to the states, counties and municipalities.
We support those efforts completely and urge the U.S. Senate to follow suit with a ban. It would be marvelous if the stench of earmarks could be cleared out of Congress.
Earmarks are projects, sponsored by a congressperson or senator, which can be tacked onto a larger bill. In essence, taxpayers' money gets spent without a proper legislative vote. Earmarks aren't a lot of money in a budget of trillions and often they are used to pump much-needed funds into a politician's district. The Top of Utah, as well as other parts of the state, has benefited from earmarks. Unfortunately, the practice of legislative earmarking has become very corrupted in recent years. Too many earmarks can't be defended and too many companies opening their pockets to a politician receive an earmark from the same pol.
That kind of behavior just stinks, and it has seriously diminished the value of earmarks to the point of where the practice cannot be defended anymore.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has a bigger appetite for pork -- at least right now -- than the House does. Its budget allows earmarks for private companies. That dispute will lead to a budget negotiation battle with the House. It will be an outrage if the Senate's greed prevents at least for-profit earmarks from being eliminated.
All earmarks should be eliminated. They are a constant reminder of the corruption in government that leaves politicians with approval ratings of about 10 percent. Voters aren't dumb. They know that "pay-and-play" is what rules too many earmarks requests -- corporations hand over the cash and the politician funnels our tax dollars to the corporation. It's both despicable and unAmerican. It needs to stop.