Sunday, March 1, 2009

Silly Me: Opposition to Earmarks Is "Last Year's Business"

Well, I guess I need to learn the importance of "living in the now." Recently, I joined a chorus of people who criticized the inclusion of billions of dollars of earmarks in the proposed budget. Although politicians from both parties condemned earmarks during the 2008 election, politicians from both parties have fallen off the wagon and inserted nearly 9000 earmarks in the pending budget.

Today, the Obama administration responded to criticism surrounding the earmarks and to demands that he veto the budget unless Congress deletes them. Peter Orszag, the White House Budget Director says that the President will not cause a standoff over earmarks because the budget needs to get through Congress quickly: “This is last year’s business . . . We just need to move on.” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (who sponsored several earmarks in the proposed budget) echoed Orszag's statement that the earmark-laden budget is "last year's" issue.

Even though he dismissed an invitation to squabble over "old" matters, Orszag indicated that the issue of earmarks could come up again (presumably once Congress has already passed the budget):
"We're going to be working with the Congress. We want to make sure that earmarks are reduced, and they're also transparent. We're going to work with the Congress on a set of reforms to achieve those . . . ."
O.k., then: Next issue!


dualdiagnosis said...

Isn't it time that we just MoveOn?

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

DD - there are so many ways I can take this. I am a cynic, so I never really believed all of that change stuff. But I think at moments, even I am surprised by some of the stuff. I guess I expected some type of grandstanding on earmarks - maybe even getting some of the dropped (even if not all of them). But to say it's just old news seems sloppy.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to see here, just move along. Avert your eyes from those earmarks, er, needed budgetary enhancements. No good will come from looking that over....

No hopey-changey. Just more-of-the-same from a devout political opportunist seeking a legislative course for undermining the fabric of society.

Onerous taxes soon to follow.

Applaud this blog, Mr. Hutchinson.

I'm willing to bet that you'll soon choose choose fiscal conservatism and principled constitutional powers over the outrageous tax-and-spend and exploitative class-, race-, and Anti-American-traditions warfare that prevails among the current oligarchy.

I, like you, was a liberal once. When the actions failed to follow the rhetoric, I turned my badge in. Now I am fiercely independent.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Gizmojo - thanks for posting. I am not against government providing a safety net and sponsoring economic and educational opportunity. I am a passionate supporter of the "teach a person to fish" philosophy. I suspect that someone has to make sure that people do not pollute the waters where the fish live or hog all of the fish.

Nevertheless, I am absolutely disturbed (but not surprised) by the hypocrisy. I am also concerned by the rush to get things such enormous things done. The stimulus could have been a real stimulus rather than a motley assortment of tax cuts for the "middle class" and spending programs for the states (basically allowing them to avoid raising taxes). It will not have an immediate impact on the economy.

The bailouts are also beginning to bother me. Although the macroeconomy certainly required some intervention, both parties have basically given over the money without many strings. And help to "Main Street" is just rhetoric.

So, I am very upset by the developments. But, I have been a cynic for such a long time that I cannot say I am surprised; just upset.

PS: I am a nonpartisan progressive. I guess that makes me a left-leaning independent.

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