The New York Times nails it on the ridiculous pseudo-“issue” known as “earmarks.”
Millions of Americans are out of work. The government is running a $1.3 trillion deficit. We just had an election that sent at least one clear signal: cut that deficit. So what is Washington talking about? Earmarks, the $15.9 billion in projects designated by Congress in the last fiscal year for favorite projects. That’s less than half of 1 percent of federal spending.
Blaming earmarks for the country’s fiscal ills has been a favorite Tea Party talking point and a way to avoid a more serious discussion of the real mix of difficult spending cuts and tax increases that are the only way to dig the country out of this hole…
Again, let’s make this absolutely clear: Earmarks. Are. Utterly. Irrelevant. Let’s all get a grip and focus on what really matters – ratifying the new START treaty, passing the DREAM Act, deciding what to do with the utterly unaffordable Bush tax cuts (particularly for the wealthiest Americans – there’s absolutely ZERO rationale or excuse to extend those indefinitely), passing clean energy legislation (how about a mandatory, national Renewable Energy Standard? slashing subsidies for fossil fuels and putting that money into energy efficiency?), putting a price on carbon (as simple CO2 tax, with the money rebated directly to the American people, would do the trick for me), etc., etc? But earmarks? We’re discussing freakin’ earmarks? Ladies and gentlemen, we have now officially reached Michelle Bachmann/Glenn Beck levels of idiocy. That is all.