Let's give it up for the party of reform. You know, the one that promised to end the "culture of corruption."
Now, we have a new Congress and a new cause -- earmark reform. To me and, I think, most Americans earmark reform would mean cutting earmarks entirely or at least limiting this pork-barrel spending. But that's apparently not what the Democratic leaders had in mind.
The reform is this: In the past, these spending requests remained secret until they were voted on, and no one ever had to attach his or her name to the request. Now, the House appropriations staff tell us, the spending requests will still remain secret, but only until the full House takes a final vote on the spending bill. Then, all the requesting Congressmen's names will be made public.
But the decisions will still be made in private. Pork won't be reduced -- we'll simply know the names of the swine who introduced the legislation after it has been approved. And with the public's short attention span, they're likely to get away with it.
Some of the more recent earmarks include:
$500,000 helping to remodel the top of a ski lift in Alaska. We found $96,000 of your federal taxes helping to remodel the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida. And up in little Rice Lake, Wisconsin, we found a tiny airport that got $2 million to lengthen a runway so a few corporate jets could land. (There are no commercial flights at Rice Lake)
The earmark system has never been more transparent, brags Wisconsin Democrat David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Obey was the one who pushed for the runway lengthening so corporate executives and their jets would have more room to land.
There's only one conclusion: our government is corrupt, regardless of which party's in charge.