Rachel Maddow Exposes the Phony Republican Earmark Ban

On her MSNBC program last night Rachel Maddow took on one of the great myths of American politics that banning earmarks is the same as cutting spending. Maddow called the Republican position on the earmark ban what it really is. According to Maddow the Republican earmark ban is an, “epic quest to seem fiscally responsible without actually being fiscally responsible.”

Here is the video from MSNBC:

Maddow described the Republican position on earmarks as “In their epic quest to seem fiscally responsible without actually being fiscally responsible, this year’s Republicans have come up with a genius move. They voted today to voluntarily restrict themselves from identifying specific targets for funding in their districts in spending bills.”

She then pointed out why banning earmarks does nothing to reduce spending and the deficit, “This practice is usually nicknamed “earmarking.” Contrary to the common wisdom, it does not increase the amount of money that is spent by the federal government. It does not add to the deficit. It is just a means of directing money that’s already slated to be spent, directing it to specific projects.”

Earmarks actually make up less than one half of 1% of the federal budget, “Even if you got rid of all the dollars that are earmarked, that are being directed to specific projects, you wouldn’t make a dent in total spending, right? I mean, overall, really, it doesn’t even register. Of the $3.5 trillion federal budget, it sounds like a lot, but it’s a big country, about $16 billion is found in earmarks. That is less than one-half of 1 percent. That is a dot on a freckle. That is a fork in an atom. That is a tiny line in a pie chart that doesn’t look like a slice. That’s our best approximation of it. So, restricting earmarks does not really reduce spending. But Republicans sure make it sound like it does.”

Maddow highlighted the fact that Republicans like Michele Bachmann want to keep the millions of earmark dollars flowing to their district, so instead of actually banning earmarks, they are simply going to redefine what an earmark is, Because the congresswoman had asked for and received multiple transportation earmarks for her district, she now says, quote, ‘Advocating for transportation projects for ones district in my mind does not equate to an earmark.’ Yes it does, regardless of what’s in your mind. When you make policy based on what things sound like rather than what they are, you are inviting people to just start pronouncing things differently in order to say that they have changed.”

The debate over banning earmarks is really nothing more than a Republican game of Three Card Monty. Sure it looks good to ban earmarks, but the ban doesn’t really do or change anything, and just to make sure that nothing will change, Republicans like Bachmann are set to redefine what an earmark is. By changing the rules of the game, Republicans can have their cake and eat it too. They can both pretend to fiscally conservative and keep the dollars flowing.

I feel sorry for those people who voted for the Republicans this year in their misguided belief that Republicans care about the deficit and cutting spending. People need to remember that a fundamental gospel of Republican ideology as laid out by their political holy ghost Ronald Reagan is that deficits don’t matter. I know that all of those Republican candidates ran in 2010 on an agenda of getting Washington to stop spending, but this is simply not going to happen.

Just as the last Republican controlled Congress conspired with then President George W. Bush to cook our collective fiscal books by keep large amounts of spending off budget, the new incoming Republican controlled House is taking it one step further. They aren’t satisfied with just cooking the books, they want to change the way that the books are kept. It is easy to appear fiscally responsible when spending is hidden under false terminology. Deluded fiscal responsibility is always easier than actually having to be fiscally responsible.

The only difference between the Republican House and the Democratic House will be where the money gets spent. The same self proclaimed Republican deficit hawks who scream that we can’t afford healthcare reform are salivating at the chance to exponentially increase our military budget, because pork disguised as patriotism and national security is totally acceptable to the Republican mind. Rachel Maddow was correct. Republicans are trying to appear to be fiscally responsible with actually having to be fiscally responsible, and if everything works the way that the GOP hopes it will, the American people will have no idea that the wool has been pulled over our collective eyes.

13 Replies to “Rachel Maddow Exposes the Phony Republican Earmark Ban”

  1. How about redefining patriotism to mean a nation that cares for all of its people, regardless of stature, inherited title, or financial status? Yes, that would mean Obama Cares healthcare was an act of patriotism.

    I love how Republicans ran on reducing the deficit, never said how they would do it, the American people bought into it, and now before they even take office, they are moving the goal post. Three card monty indeed.

  2. That’s just crazy talk. A country actually caring about its citizenry? But but but what about my right to choose whether or not I want to get health insurance? Perhaps I want to pay medical bills that are outrageous!

    As an aside, Maddow said “that is a quark in an atom,” which makes a world more sense.

  3. our representatives have got to be laughing all day long at us. It was really stupid when John McCain made that part of his campaign, the doing away with earmarks that is. there is little doubt that the Republicans are not going to do anything about spending, they will do something about what Obama spends but not what they would spend in office. They don’t care that Mexico has a better healthcare system than we do, why should they? We let them do whatever they want because I hate to say this and I’ve always argued against it but most of America seems to be stupid.

    I do hate saying that. But voting in Republicans was just stupid

  4. Lol, people are so easy. They all want to spend money either party. Because they all work for one Corporation the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. It is a company. And they all want to keep their cushy jobs. Soo, tell em what they want to hear… be it CHANGE or more of the same. The real problem is that the FEDERAL RESERVE has no oversight.. even if they did, the overseers would look the other way as they got fat hand out form subs of the company. Also the Stimulas package, you loan the BANKS 1+trillion dollars at zero interest. Then the Corporation, the UNITED STATES OF AMERCIA, borrows back that same money at 5% interest. Now whom is that a good deal for? Then the banks use that money to buy up struggling banks prop up/buy offshore banks. Consolidating the power they have that is backed by the money machine known as the FEDERAL RESERVE. WAKE UP!

  5. “Zeitgeist The Movie”, anyone?? It tells a seemingly outlandish story — but watch it and then think about what’s happening now.

  6. It isn’t the least bit surprising that big-government lefties can’t comprehend the reasoning behind banning earmarks.

    It’s purpose is to reduce wasteful spending and an out of control government by doing away with the vote-bribing,/strong> in legislation. Earmarks are the way these weasels bribe each other into voting for “their” bills. Take away the guaranteed money for the politician’s district and you take away much of the incentive for voting for a bill that would have otherwise died without the quid quo pro.

    Liberals are ignorant of the roles of the federal and state governments. They seem to think states exist only to create interesting shapes on a map. State governments have their roles and the federal government has it’s role.

    It isn’t the federal government’s job to take care of you from cradle to grave.

  7. People pay into Social Security, so those who do are most certainly entitled to it in old age. Responsible societies understand that, and as far as the government acting as a “nanny state” is concerned, our taxes go toward maintaining these things. Anyone with even a basic grasp of government understands that domestic well-being is an integral part of national security. People who are satisfied with their country do not engage in regime-changing revolts or revolutions. While folks on the far right are demonizing “libs,” other countries with fewer resources are doing a better job with education, health care, providing for the elderly, and other measures of a nation’s inner stability.
    Yet, the same people demonizing “libs” have no problem with all the money and resources wasted on defense spending, or the wars that are bleeding this country. That’s why any argument they make about “big government” needs to be dismissed with the contempt it deserves, because they are selective about the big government spending they want.

  8. The social programs you want are designed to be handled at the state level, not by the federal government.

    You are comparing apples to oranges. These complex socioeconomic issues all behave differently depending on the size of the country as well as a myriad of other issues.

    Our states’ economies and physical sizes are much closer to the other countries you seem to envy so much. Complex social issues are much better handled at the state and local level than at the federal level.

    The fact remains that these issues are important to YOU so you expect the rest of the country to fall into line and do as you demand. How about you worry about the state YOU live in and work to change things there instead of forcing the rest of the country to live in a way YOU see fit and PAY for the things YOU think are important.

    If you big-government folks (Bush admin included) weren’t stealing everyone’s money with taxation and regulation, maybe people could afford to pay for their own health care and retirement instead of depending on the nanny state to do it.

    Read the Constitution and Federalist papers and learn a little about the roles of state and federal government as well as the fundamental tenets of Liberty. Learn to respect that other people don’t necessarily believe the things you do and it is morally wrong to use the power of government to force people to PAY for YOUR wants and desires and to LIVE in the way YOU want them to.

  9. “How about you worry about the state YOU live in and work to change things there instead of forcing the rest of the country to live in a way YOU see fit and PAY for the things YOU think are important.”

    Really? Anne argues about achieving a better internal stability nationally by improving education, healthcare, and a million other things. Im pretty sure if Anne had the power to “force” this upon the whole nation, we would be much better off.

  10. It’s always you “big government” hacks who actually implement draconian government in the guise of small government. Name ONE thing Republicans have done to limit government or spending. Just one.

    You can’t, because they haven’t. All they’ve done is grow government to cover their rich buddies and give them no bid contracts. Have you ever worked for the government? Do you even know what that means?

    Big government. You wouldn’t know it if it hit you in the head. You’re a walking billboard for lazy, entitled big government cheese eaters who call themselves conservatives but are really just neo-cons who want to control everyone’s sex lives to get fools like you to vote for them.

  11. When are you people going to wake up, if you can see that the Repub elite are bad, how can you not see that the Dem elite are just as bad? We’re finally getting true Conservatives who care about running this government for the People, instead you want the Dem Regime to totally destroy this country. I don’t get it, how can you be so blind? This has been a one party system for a long time, now the Repub party is being forced into the Conservative Party and we actually have a chance to get this government under the control of the People. Yet you still want the Dems to tax us into oblivion with their CnT bill, built around a hoax, creating a trading and speculation scheme to get people like Gore rich, allowing illegal immigrants to take the few remaining jobs, have California borrow 40 million a day to pay people not to find jobs, and to allow the Fed Res and Spending to continue to devalue the worthless Dollar. You people are either very delusional or Illuminati shills, I’d vote for delusional though. This is all about to end soon, then you people can get your heads out of the sand. How do you guys feel about Obama sending a missile at Iran and warships to China? That sound like what you stand for? How about using UN troops to round us up after they destroy the economy, sound good? How about using weather warfare, mass mind control, poisoning the food and water supply, and turning us into drones in school, sound good? Wake up people, stop fighting over this and realize who the real controllers are, it’s certainly not these puppets. Stop watching your MSM and start researching, you people make me want to throw up on my keyboard.

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