Republicans and Democrats: Bad on Earmarks

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 and is filed under Uncategorized

While I think there is some pandering going on here with Claire McCaskill, it is nice to see she and Pat Toomey attempting to end the practice of earmarks once and for all. Obviously, there is the usual handwringing from Members of Congress: “We can’t give up this right! If we do some Administration will abuse it!” It is a smoke and mirrors argument.

Let’s go over why earmarks are bad:

  • The practice of earmarks allows government to pick winners and losers, which distorts the free-market and undermines competition,  damaging the economy.
  • Members of Congress regularly use earmarks to curry favor with special interest groups, campaign contributors, and even to fund certain charities.  Earmarks to charity force taxpayers to finance a charity even if they object to the purpose or mission of the charity.
  • The earmarking process circumvents important taxpayer protections, such as competitive bidding, merit-based reviews, and oversight. Earmarks often cause the government to overpay for goods and services, leading to waste, fraud, and abuse.
  • Many earmarks cause the federal government to interfere with state and local priorities, which leads to waste, or higher taxes, by those governments.
From the Washington Post’s article:

Despite recurrent calls to crack down on earmarks, the practice had reached a peak before the moratorium. The Congressional Research Service found that earmark spending nearly tripled over a 15-year period, to $31.9 billion in 2010, the year before the ban.

I don’t know about you, but $31.9 billion is a lot of money. Some argue with a $15 trillion national debt, it is not. But it is and on top of it being a very large number there is the corrupting influence of earmarks. When my dad was in Congress, stories of leadership “bribing” Members with earmarks for their votes on things like Medicare Part D and other awful, government expanding programs were frequent and well known. Current OK Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, calls earmarks the “gateway drug” to the expansion of government largesse.

I hope McCaskill and Toomey’s bill passes both chambers of Congress. It will not be the cure all solution, but it sure will be a step in the right direction.

Go Occupy Your School District

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 and is filed under Blog

There is a lot to love in this article, “Forget Wall Street, Go Occupy Your School District!” Hard to believe it posted at I don’t agree 100% with Rotherham, but he makes some great points.

Highlights of the article itself.

*So rather than taking aggressive steps to create fairer funding systems for schools to give poor kids a shot, to weed out bad teachers, or jettison policies that have clearly outlived their usefulness, we have phony wars about teacher pay or No Child Left Behind that dance around the real issues.

*A sad irony of Occupy Wall Street is that the movement is being embraced by the teachers’ union. The unions are hardly the only cause of our educational problems, but they’re not doing enough to fix them. In ways large and small, they defend practices and policies — things like how teacher pay is factored into the amount of money that is allotted to individual schools — that disadvantage low-income students.


Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 and is filed under Blog

Just a few random thoughts on my end as I look at the current state of the Republican Presidential Primary.

1.) Rick Perry’s “oops” moment is ancient history. I am not sure I have ever seen a candidate recover so quickly from such a major gaffe and it started with him owning it right away. Yesterday saw Perry put forward one of the most aggressive plans to change The System with his “Uproot and Overhaul Washington” plan. It’s bold, folks. As Perry said yesterday in Iowa, “I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint. It needs a complete overhaul. We need to uproot, tear down, and rebuild Washington, D.C., and our federal institutions.”

2.) Herman Cain is done. Sorry to break it to the Cain fans out there, but as I noted a few weeks ago, Herman Cain was in a precarious position with no real campaign infrastructure. That sort of scenario manifests itself during ill advised sit downs with editorial boards like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s. This is a man who was on a book tour that became a Presidential campaign and is now a book tour again-he is a one trick pony with no well thought out positions on anything. As for the Journal Sentinel sit down, I just have to ask, “Why?” This is the one newspaper that has been hammering Herman Cain’s campaign manager Mark Block over financial illegalities. Why would you willingly go sit with that newspaper’s editorial board?

3.) Newt. This one is interesting. I have to admit, I love his combative style during the debates, especially this past weekend in South Carolina where he took Scott Pelley to task. This is what the conservative movement is craving-a fearless brilliance that runs circles around the Left. However, with news that Newt took $1.6 million from Freddie Mac, it is going to raise questions about Newt: principled or opportunist? I think Newt will not become the Republican nominee, but he will have a place in the eventual nominee’s administration (should the Republican win next fall).

Great op-ed by the Madison Project’s newest endorsee

Monday, November 14th, 2011 and is filed under Blog

Yesterday Evan Feinberg, our newest endorsee (PA-18), penned a great op-ed for the Pittsburgh Tribune. In it, he laid out in primary colors (pun intended) the stark contrast between himself and incumbent Tim Murphy.

Like the former RINO Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter, Murphy has voted for:

*Failed programs like ″Cash for Clunkers”

*Bailouts for Fannie and Freddie

*The auto industry bailout

And these are just a few of Tim Murphy’s bad votes while in Congress. Each one of the above had a price tag of billions of taxpayer dollars. Billions of your money. On top of that, Feinberg notes that 62% of all Murphy’s earmark pork went to campaign contributors. Crony capitalism ring a bell?

This folks, is the problem. We are up against The System, a cycle of incumbents who, because of the votes they cast for campaign contributions, amass huge war chests to fuel their re-elections. This is the problem Andrew Breitbart and 60 Minutes highlighted yesterday.

Statistically it is a fact that if an incumbent survives his or her first re-election, they have a 98% win rate. We can, however, break this cycle by with well funded conservatives running great campaigns in the primaries. This is why the Madison Project exists, to generate both interest in and funding for candidates like Evan Feinberg. He is making the heaviest of lifts by putting his name on the ballot. Our job, as the conservative movement, is to provide him with the resources he needs to win.