Thursday, February 19, 2009

What Part of 'Earmark' Do You Not Understand?

Steve Benen follows up on Sunday's post about Republicans bragging about spending in their district from the stimulus bill they opposed. Benen describes the calculation:

They disapprove of the spending measures in the legislation overall, but they proudly support the money headed for their districts. If they could have voted for just those expenditures, they would have done so.
There's a word for spending items that benefit a single district. I think you can guess what it is.

Republicans complained that the stimulus bill was crammed full of earmarks (not true, but since when has that mattered?), but what they really wanted was a bill that was nothing but earmarks. Earmarks, that is, for their own constituencies.

Which illustrates (yet again) the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the 'anti-spending' position. (Senator Maverick, we're looking at you.) Republicans aren't really against spending; they're against spending that benefits other people. It's no accident that the party that squawks loudest about spending went overboard doling out fiscal favors for individual Senators and Representatives. Earmarks are the only kind of spending they consider legitimate.