How to End Earmarks
Jim Babka President DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
I sent this letter to my Representative and Senators, telling them to end earmarks by following the Constitution...
The Washington Post recently published a report on how members of Congress used earmarks to apparently benefit themselves. According to the story... (http://wapo.st/AuMfyZ)
* 33 members directed more than $300 million in earmarks and other public works spending near their own properties and businesses, increasing the value of their own property
* 16 members sent tax dollars to companies, colleges, or community programs where their spouses, children, or parents work as salaried employees or serve on boards.
But that's just a smidgeon. In 2010 there were 11,320 total earmarks worth $32 billion.
That's the equivalent of mugging my family for $300!
Is using earmarks for personal financial gain corrupt? Of course.
Is using earmarks to "bring jobs to the District" and buy votes corrupt? Definitely.
But these outcomes are to be expected, because the REAL corruption is your refusal to follow the Constitution. After all, EVERY bill with earmarks must be passed by a majority in both the House and the Senate.
If you just upheld your oath of office, we would be taxed lightly and the budget could be easily balanced. The limited, enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution are there for a reason. It lists what Congress CAN do. The Tenth Amendment is also there for a reason. It says Congress CAN'T do anything except what the Constitution authorizes it to do.
I've looked in the Constitution, and I see NO delegation of power to Congress or the Executive Branch to give some communities...
* bike lanes
* bus terminals
* "scenic byways"
* traffic circles
Are these things useful to the communities that receive them? Maybe. But if states or local communities wouldn't have built them without federal dollars, then they weren't a high priority. Where does the Constitution allow Congress to meddle in local decision-making? Why am I being required to pay for them?
Perhaps $32 billion for earmarks doesn't sound like much in an era of $4 trillion budget and $1.5 trillion deficits. But they are indicative of the larger problem. Building bike lanes for preferred constituents demonstrates that Congress that knows no restraint -- including the limitations of the Constitution.
That's why it's not surprising that Congress has...
* bankrupted the nation by providing pensions and healthcare for retirees,
* weakened the nation with undeclared wars and foreign aid,
* told us what foods and drugs we are "permitted" to ingest,
* and authorized the President and military to kidnap anybody with the NDAA indefinite detention provisions.
None of these things were authorized by the Constitution. NDAA clearly violates it.
If Congress can't follow the Constitution on the little things like earmarks, I'm not surprised that you don't follow it on the big things.
Uphold your oath of office. Follow the Constitution. That means, don't authorize earmarks and other pork-barrel spending. Just stop the petty meddling and vote buying you're doing with my money.
Feel free to borrow from or copy-and-paste the letter above.
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