It is business as usual in Washington. Despite a recession and record $1.4 trillion budget deficit, Congress continues to accelerate runaway spending and pork. While families and entrepreneurs are responsibly bringing their own budgets under control, Congress is spending and earmarking as if nothing has changed in the economy. Congressional leaders are attempting to rush through a mammoth, 1,088-page fiscal year (FY) 2010 omnibus appropriation bill that:
What's really important about this budget is not only the number of earmarks in this bill and how many of those earmarks are ordered by Republicans and especially Republican leadership. That's because all while the Republicans are bemoaning the out of control spending of the Democrats they are in fact no better than their counterparts.
According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, there are 5224 earmarks worth $3.998 billion. These include earmarks by stalwarts like Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby and rising stars like Aaron Schock. About 40% of the earmarks are ordered by Republicans.
Now, the amount of money that these earmarks cost is not the issue. Here's the issue. When you're out of power, you only really have the power to criticize. So, the Republicans have crticized the Democrats on spending. One power that Republican legislators have is to power to ask or not to ask for earmarks. That's one of the few ways that we can tell if Republicans, now criticizing spending, will be any different if they're in power. These earmark statistics show that both are nearly equally bad.
On this issue, the Republicans are showing that they're good at criticizing and not all that good at showing fiscal responsibility. What we have are two parties addicted to spending because that spending keeps them in power. This latest omnibus shows that there's not really much difference between either party.