Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Putting "Earmarks" Into Perspective

People who have seen ALS in action do not understand how one Senator's personal war against things he calls "earmarks" has been allowed to block any progress at gathering and retaining the clues that may finally help solve the mysteries of Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Last Friday on Washington Week, journalist Jackie Calmes of the Wall Street Journal made an interesting observation. From the PBS transcript:

MS. CALMES: Job training and trade adjustment programs, all of these things - when they talk about, on the Republican side in particular, about being - freezing spending. And I guess it's here, I should mention. All this attention to earmarks, if you wiped out every earmark on the books and that would of course include things that almost everybody from Right to Left would agree are worthwhile projects, it would amount to a rounding error, a footnote in the size of the deficit. It would not get you anywhere.


So this week if Coburn starts his pontificating abour responsible spending and pork and earmarks and once again tries to stop S. 3297 (which contains the ALS Registry Act among other bipartisan legislation that he has blocked), perhaps he would supply us with a bar chart to scale to show us exactly how much the ALS Registry Act will really add to that deficit bar that he has enabled. It will take a really tall chart to get that deficit bar to fit, and he'll need a very fine pen to put the drop of ink on the bar that will represent the cost of an ALS registry.

He doesn't object to every kind of spending, just the kinds that give him easy air time to sound like a heroic fiscal hawk. He's reminiscent of an eccentric who spends a fortune on a lavish dinner in an expensive restaurant and then decides to save some money by not tipping the valet parking attendant. All show and no meaningful action.

Senators, please pass S. 3297 NOW!


Anonymous said...

And that bar just got a lot taller with all the bailouts this week! ALS Registry is hardly a drop in the bucket.

Sleepy said...

More like a drop in the Pacific Ocean at this point!