I know this is hard to believe, but there are actually some in Congress who believe we need MORE earmarks. An article by Congressional Quarterly published this week examined the distribution and process of earmarked dollars. They reported that in this years appropriation bills there were 5,670 earmarks totaling $4.2 billion; this doesn’t include an additional 1,000 earmarks worth $1.5 billion that had multiple sponsors. Part of their report also highlighted the disparity between the earmarked dollars received by Democrat members, Republican members, African American members, and Hispanic members as they were ranked in that order from highest to lowest in average earmarked dollars received.
Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) decided that it was a shame there was a difference between Caucasian members and African American Members. He proposed to close the earmark gap by creating two new spending panel seats on the House Committee on Appropriations. He said that “More black appropriators would be just a step to get at the inequities in the process”. Basically affirmative action for earmarking.
The real inequity is the existence of an institutionalized process of wasting taxpayers money. It still amazes me that the immediate response by many here in Congress is to address a disparity in earmarks by increasing the amount of earmarks for those whose average is lower rather than decreasing the average of those who get the most.