Sunday, March 1, 2009

Obama's Double Standard with Earmarks

In the Times.com article, “Does Obama Have a Double Standard on Earmarks?,” President Obama is criticized for proclaiming at the join session of Congress last Tuesday night that he would eliminate earmark spending from the stimulus bill, but the next day on Wednesday Democrats passed the rest of the fiscal budget for 2009 with over 9,000 earmarks in it. Most likely Obama will sign this bill into law to keep the government running and to finish out this year; however the bill will spend an estimated $7.7 billion on earmarks. Some Republicans have asked President Obama to put a freeze on spending and to eliminate these earmarks, but these pleas are going unanswered. The argument against this double standard is that this legislation is from the old administration and President Obama is focusing on the 2010 budget, which the framework for will be released in the next week. In this budget he will keep his promises to bring earmark spending lower than it was in 1994, which was about $7.8 billion. Even though President Obama’s focus is on the 2010 fiscal budget, if he signs in this current legislation he will be putting his signature on over 9,000 earmarks and will be continuing with Washington as usual.
Earmarks effect most legislation, and get put onto spending bills all the time by legislators. Some projects are worthwhile for their communities at home and others are just plain ridiculous. President Obama campaigned on cutting earmarks from legislation and not playing the same game as Washington. He said he believes every dollar should be spent with the best interest of Americans in mind and not on special projects of legislators. I think it is a very risky move at this point for President Obama to sign 9,000 earmarks into law. This would just be going along with Washington as usual, and not holding true to his promises. If we don’t see real change by his 2010 fiscal budget, it might be too late for President Obama to stick to his promises and make a true change in spending. A change needs to happen, but he can’t wait three years to make that change.




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