When It is Wrong to Do Right

To some of us out here on the prairie, earmarking means something entirely different than it does to the lovely ‘lected officials in Washington DC. Mr. deHaven makes a good point about the earmarks attached to non-edible critters:

There just isn’t much difference between the activities funded via earmarking and the activities funded by standard bureaucratic processes. The means are different, but the ends are typically the same: federal taxpayers paying for parochial benefits that are properly the domain of state and local governments, or preferably, the private sector. As a federal taxpayer, I’m no better off if the U.S. Dept. of Transportation decides to fund a bridge in Alaska or if Alaska’s congressional delegation instructs the DOT to fund the bridge.

Therefore, earmarking is a symptom of the problem. The problem is the existence of programs that enables the federal government to spend money on parochial activities. [extra emphasis added]

See, it is not enough for a person, a family, a church, a business, a government–or some other entity–to do right things. Each of the above must do good things which are in their domains. If my church decided that it was going to interdict drunk drivers on I-29, there would be immediate issues–even though it is widely accepted as right and good and proper to get drunk drivers off the road. If a business decides that all the children within the neighborhood under 16 must be in their homes by 8PM, there would be immediate issues–despite the reality that it is generally good for children to be home or otherwise under their parents’ direct supervision once night falls.

It is not that federal government is always doing bad, wrong, negative things. However, it is often doing things which are simply not its domain–or as deHaven puts it “spend[ing] money on parochial activities.”

Getting government back into its domain (or box, for all of you who have not had enough of Christmas quite yet) is all the reason we need to put the kibosh on earmarks and the programs which cause them to be so popular.

Here’s to a new year in which earmarks are relegated to the pastures and feedlots once again.