• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Earmarks Encourage Spending and That's No Lie

    The left is growing frustrated with the success conservatives are having in framing the omnibus spending bill as classic wasteful government spending. Pushing back, the Center for American Progress claims that Cutting Earmarks Doesn’t Save Money and Roll Call’s Stan Collender writes: “Saying That Cutting Earmarks Will Reduce Spending Is A Lie.

    Collender reasons:

    An earmark simply is a congressional decision to allocate part of appropriation for a particular purpose. Eliminating the allocation doesn’t reduce the appropriation, it simply leaves the allocation decision to a federal department or agency rather than to Congress.

    This statement is true. But conservatives do not claim that earmarks in themselves add to spending totals. As William McGurn explains in the Wall Street Journal:

    What the public does not understand is that the more earmarks there are in a bill, the harder it will be to vote against it. The reason is simple: With every earmark, a congressman or senator gains a personal stake in the passage of a bill he or she might otherwise oppose.

    Collender does acknowledge this argument. And here is his thorough response:

    I’m skeptical about that argument: Even if there isn’t an earmark, there is still something in most appropriations for almost everyone.

    That’s it!?!?! His response is that he is ‘skepitical’??!!? That is his big proof that anyone who claims earmarks encourage overall spending growth is a liar? Maybe Collender should familiarize himself with this chart of OMB data on the correlation between the number of earmarks and total federal spending:
    Now correlation does not always equal causation, but anybody who knows how Congress actually works should find the link persuasive. Sen. Jim DeMint told Politico last year: “I talked to colleagues who would say, ‘DeMint, I gotta vote for this bill because it has my project in it,’ even though the bill was way over budget.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Earmarks Encourage Spending and That's No Lie

    1. Franklin's Lock says:

      Fascinating graphic. The correlation makes sense. Another thing not mentioned by any these people is how earmarks are contributing to corruption. If a program gets funded by Congressman, what does he get for that? That is what bothers me about earmarks is the perception of “bribery.”


    2. David Griffith Fort says:

      Earmarks contain, by design, a double edged sword. The writers of the bill gain support for the bill, and second the earmark normally increases the total dollar value of the bill and is a bribe to buy votes for the congressman who earmarked spending into his home district. Both sides of the sword cut into the pockets of we-the-people for the money for the bill comes from our much abused pockets. In present days, from the pockets of our children and grand-children.

    3. Pingback: The Cost of Rejecting an Earmark Ban | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.