Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Earmarks and Such

I've been having a rather long discussion with Paul Seale of Arena Of Ideas about earmarks.

Earmarks are an ingrained process in the current flawed budget process. By flawed budget process I mean that when Congress approves a budget, any money that they do not allocate for a specific purpose is given to the Executive Branch to spend in any way they see fit. This is the process that most needs changing, and we the Citizens of this Nation are the only ones that can do it. We must reign in the size of the budget of the Federal Government. We must shut down many of the Executive Departments such as Education, Energy, etc.

Earmarks are unconstitutional. This statement is supported by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, and the 10th Amendment. Earmarks, by their very nature are allocations of Federal Money for either a state or congressional district SPECIFIC purpose. Even when we interpret the General Welfare Clause quite broadly, the Uniformity Clause reigns it back in by demanding that the efforts of the Federal Government must be uniformly applied across the States. Earmarks must stop, but they are a symptom of the budget process, not a core flaw in our Federal Government.

To reform the budget, we must require the budget to only include things explicitly authorized by Congress. They must allocate funds to anything they determine as necessary to make the Federal Government fulfill its Constitutional duties. One massive step in that direction would be to pass the Enumerated Powers Act.

My discussion with Paul digressed into a discussion about individual Congress people, and candidates for Congressional offices. This was a mistake and a significant distraction. I do not feel that my statements in that discussion were incorrect, just irrelevant to the topic at hand.

In addition, I have to acknowledge something that I mentioned in my latest comment. Paul was not combative or insulting in any part of this discussion. For that I am very grateful. We have all witnessed situations where disagreements over Politics devolve into shouting matches or simply name calling and lies. My conversation with Paul has in no way approached those problems. I hope to keep the conversations flowing between us.

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