Letters: Earmarks need to go
Earmarks need to go Some politicians are consistently quick to raise taxes and government spending, but consistently slow to eliminate wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. For example, Minnesota's Congressman Jim Oberstar, chairman of the House Tran...
need to go
Some politicians are consistently quick to raise taxes and government spending, but consistently slow to eliminate wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. For example, Minnesota's Congressman Jim Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, continues to push for higher gasoline taxes at both the state and national level, but has failed to curtail wasteful "earmark" spending within the transportation department's approved annual budget.
A recently released report by the department's inspector general identified over 8,000 "earmark pork barrel" projects totaling $8.5 billion in the past fiscal year representing 13.5 percent of the total spending plan. The vast majority of these "earmarks" are wasteful, low priority projects that drain money away from the nation's core road and bridge spending needs.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle typically use these so-called "earmark" projects to gain favor and "buy votes" within their home districts. In other words, politicians use "earmarks" to gain job protection for themselves rather than spending taxpayer dollars for the greater good. Does anyone really believe that bike paths, peace gardens, baseball stadiums and mule and packer museums (all "earmarks") are more important national transportation priorities than safer roads and bridges?
If better roads and bridges are important to you, contact Congressman Oberstar and ask him to support legislation to eliminate wasteful "earmarks" from future transportation bills. Also, remind him that the old "tax and spend" liberal philosophy is no longer acceptable. People today want and expect accountability and responsibility from our elected representatives. Citizens deserve strong, accountable leadership rather than a "business an usual" philosophy.