Archive for the 'State Governments' Category

Earmarks, Stimuli and State Funding

(Ed: This is the final post in a 3-part series on earmarks. Here are Parts I and II.)

One thing I absolutely wanted to avoid in writing these last few posts was contributing more useless drivel to the “earmarks are wasteful”/”they’re not that wasteful” stalemate.

To the first: yes, they are. To the second: no, they’re not. A thing can be wasteful (read: inefficient) without being all that costly (read: wasteful).

And what earmarks are endemic of is a system that is very inefficient at distributing cash.

Sure, at its best, pork can provide a fleet of buses, school computers, or a new power plant. But at its worst, it uses money better spent elsewhere.

Take the stimulus earmarks Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is belaboring. Give the state of Wisconsin the $840,000 its senator or representative secured for it, and I’ll bet you the money doesn’t go to a low-traffic bridge. Give the state of Pennsylvania $800,000, and John Murtha Airport, based in booming 23,000-strong Johnstown likely doesn’t see a penny. Not because the bridge workers or the airport wouldn’t use or need the money. But because the state has more pressing needs, albeit ones that might not have fit under the stimulus’ umbrella of infrastructure, from which the legislators were so desperately trying to squeeze money.

Continue reading ‘Earmarks, Stimuli and State Funding’


About the Author

Brian Eason is a University of Missouri graduate with bachelor degrees in Journalism and Political Science. He has covered Congressional elections and local government for the Columbia Missourian and worked as a general assignment reporter for the State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL. Brian has also had articles published in Roll Call.