Earmarks have become a hot political issue and a symbol of government waste. They’re also highly misunderstood.
People who are concerned about wasteful spending want to ban earmarks. But they may not understand that in doing so, they would not save a penny. They would not stop any government waste.
Interesting, isn’t it? And that’s why so many people get confused about Ron Paul’s position. It’s understandable, but let’s take a closer look.
The government decides how much money to spend first by creating a budget.* No earmarks are in the budget, it simply decides how much money each bloated agency or program gets to spend.
Ron Paul has voted against every budget proposed in his 26 years in Congress, for one simple reason – it makes the government bigger.
After the budget bill is passed, then it’s time for an appropriations bill. The appropriations bill specifically assigns money from the budget to specific projects. It contains the “wasteful” earmarks that direct money from the budget towards specific projects. Any money that is not earmarked is still spent, it’s just spent by the executive branch’s beauracracy instead.
If conservatives think earmarks are wasteful, they certainly must not realize that Obama’s administration will get to spend the money instead.
So the approriations bill contains the earmarks. And Ron Paul has voted no against every appropriations bill in his 26 years of Congress. Yes, indeed. Ron Paul has NEVER voted for an earmark.
So banning earmarks doesn’t save us a dime. Still, why does Ron Paul add earmarks to appropriations bills if he doesn’t support unconstitutional, wasteful spending.
It’s simple, really. It’s because he represents people who are being taxed for wasteful spending.
His constituents are forced to pay an income tax. If Ron Paul had his way, he’d abolish this tax.
Congress then decides to spend an exorbitant amount of money on unconstitutional spending. Ron Paul votes against this.
But if the government is going to take his constituents’ money and spend it unconstitutionally, Ron Paul sees it as his job to REPRESENT his constituents. If their money is going to be taken and spent unconstitutionally, then they at lest deserve to have their own money spent unconstitutionally on themselves. (Especially since if they DONT spend the money on themselves, it will just be spent unconstitutionally somewhere else.)
So as their representative, Ron Paul allows his constituents to play the game that’s being played whether they participate or not.
Ron Paul still votes against the earmarks, just like he votes against the entire system of taxing then spending money unconstitutionally.
It’s similar to Ron Paul’s stance on Social Security. Ron Paul thinks it’s unconstitutional. If he had his way, we’d transition away from the program by letting young people opt out.
But the government already took his money. The game is being played regardless of Ron Paul’s stance against SS, Ron’s money was taken, so of course he’s going to take his money back when given the opportunity.
In the same way, his constituents’ money is taken, and he’s allowing them to get their money back.
Not allowing his constituents to request their money back would not save the tax payer ANY money. And attacking earmarks has become a red herring. People are busy attacking it when they should be attacking the size of the budget, which is where wasteful spending comes from.