Congressional earmarks: Bribing our way to oblivion

Newt Gingrich described outgoing Speaker John Boehner as an “idealist” for ending the practice of “earmarks.”

U.S. Capitol Dome, David Maiolo, Wikipedia.

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2015 – Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich let the cat out of the bag during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. He described outgoing Speaker John Boehner as an “idealist” for ending the practice of “earmarks.”

Earmarks are discretionary funds that under congressional rules are “targeted to a specific State, locality or Congressional district, other than through a statutory or administrative formula driven or competitive award process.”

With earmarks gone, members of the House, Gingrich told Fox, “could no longer say to a [fellow] member, I’ll get you three projects for your district” in a quid pro quo arrangement.

In one such earmark, the federal government assumed all the costs associated with Medicaid expansion under Obamacare for the State of Nebraska. Without that earmark, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson would not have voted for passage of the president’s health care monstrosity.

“I know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept,” Nelson told the Washington Post, “And I appreciate their right to disagree. But I would not have voted for this bill without these provisions.”

It became known as the “Cornhusker Kickback.”

Obamacare proved so unpopular, Nelson decided not to run for re-election in 2012.

Today, Nebraska’s two U.S. Senate representatives are Republicans.

In other words, the oil that lubricates the machine called Congress, which allows them  “to get things done,” is, well, bribery – with funds involuntarily confiscated from you. You know, those green Federal Reserve notes that allow you to feed your family.

Back in 2005, Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham was sent to the big house for earmarking 6.3 million taxpayer dollars for Defense Department contractor MZM. Company founder Mitchell Wade later purchased Cunningham’s home for 1.7 million dollars – nearly twice its market value.

Last February, former representatives Martin Frost and Tom Davis wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. “Eliminating earmarks takes away the incentive for the parties to cooperate to pass appropriations bills on time. Instead, for weeks and months after the start of each fiscal year on Oct. 1, much of the government is left operating on a continuing resolution. When a number of representatives and senators have ‘skin in the game,’ they’ll make sure a spending bill gets passed.”

That “skin” is the taxes taken out of your hides each April 15.

Is it any wonder our nation’s debt stands at more than 18 trillion dollars… and climbing?

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