Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pork Addiction

Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and state senator Royce West jointly authored an opinion piece for the Dallas Morning News in which they sing the praises of pork. They are in love with the fact that their congressional representatives can force the taxpayers of Dallas, Pennsylvania to pay for water projects in Dallas, Texas.

In order to promote earmarks (the authors don't merely defend these appropriations, but encourage their use as a positive good), they must emphasize the great wisdom and knowledge exercised by extraordinary congressmen and senators in funding projects that meet their communities' needs. It is, after all, a wisdom that is so superior that it justifies providing funds without any kind of hearing process evaluating earmarked proposals that are simply stuffed into omnibus bills. The authors rightly point out the potential abuses of block grants sometimes provided to communities through the regulatory process, but they unfortunately think that criticism of that type of funding somehow makes the use of earmarks acceptable.

They also attack bureaucrats for making decisions that are sometimes political. That criticism is sometimes valid, but at least regulatory agencies are subject to mandated administrative procedure processes and congressional oversight. Earmarks are subject to none of those checks and balances.

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