Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Monday, September 11, 2006


"Legalized Bribery"

Lieberman defends earmarks, but former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich has a great post on why they need to be banned:

The stench is worse today than in 1994. The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has ballooned to the point there are over 60 of them for every single member of Congress. They spent $2.4 billion last year. What do you think the lobbyists bought with that money?

A lot of it was for earmarks, obviously -- specific morsels of bacon designed to pay off some big donors back home. Most folks back home don't see a penny of it. It goes into the pockets of conduits like Jack Abramoff. And taxpayers foot the bill for all the earmarks for every specially-favored interest all over the country. Ten years ago there were about 3,000 earmarks. Last year there were over 14,000, costing taxpayers over $47 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

To show voters they've at least done something, the House leadership is set to require by House rules that legislation containing earmarks list members of Congress who sponsored them. But that’s not reform. That’s advertising. There’s no mystery about who sponsors what earmark. Just look at whose district the earmarked money will go to.

The only meaningful reform is to ban all earmarks, period. They’re taxpayer ripoffs. They're legalized bribery. If this House won’t clean up its act, the public will clean up the House and throw the rascals out. If the Democrats don't stop this taxpayer carnage on their watch, the public will throw them out next time.

"The earmarks are great for Connecticut."
--Senator Joseph Lieberman(CFL-CT), during the July 6th debate with Ned Lamont.

Dodd and Lieberman are co-collaborators on this one, rivalling Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd as porkers of the year.
In 2004, Connecticut was getting about $0.65 back on every $1.00 sent to the Federal Government. Alaska was getting $1.99 back. Connecticut was #48 (out of 50) in returns.

From what I've heard, Connecticut has climbed a bit to a $0.68 return, but has dropped to #49. This rate of return has dropped every year for the past eighteen years that Lieberman has been in the Senate.

One could make a case that Connecticut being the wealthiest state (or having the wealthiest county at least) can afford to send more money out than it receives. However, in places like Bridgeport and Hartford two of the poorest cities in the country, a return of $0.70 or even $0.75 would have a tremendous impact.

Even if earmarks were somehow "good" and as Lieberman promotes, "good for Connecticut," it looks like Lieberman is rather piss-poor at actually delivering the "goods."
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