FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Bill Shuster Wants to Bring Back Earmarks
Earlier this week, my PAC endorsed Art Halvorson against Bill Shuster in PA-9. As the House begins to debate the new water bill, Shuster is amplifying our point – that he is a big government Republican wasting the most conservative district in the state. Shuster has never been shy about his disdain for the earmark ban. Several weeks ago, he said that “at some point we have to bring [earmarks] back.” Roll Call is reporting that he is working on reinstating earmarks in the water bill. In his estimation, this is a necessity because he is “not willing to cede one more inch to this or any executive branch.”
The problem of earmarking goes far beyond the actual pork projects set aside for a specific politician. The problem is not about the relatively low cost of a single earmark. It’s about the $500,000 earmark that is used to buy off a conservative vote for a $1 trillion omnibus, farm bill, bailout, or some other terrible transformational legislation. The earmarks are used as the magic “grease” to garner majority support for big-government legislation. Once we reinstate the practice of earmarking, we will never be able to mobilize a majority within the conference to oppose any big-government legislation. Most of them will be seduced into supporting bad legislation through personal earmarks for their districts. This is the “multiplying factor” of earmarks. Throw in a personal perk for each district, and you can get a majority of the House to vote for anything.
So what is the solution to earmarking? How do we avoid ceding gratuitous power to the executive? How do we deal with our transportation needs?
You keep transportation spending outside of the purview of the entire federal government – legislative branch or executive branch; you devolve the funds back to the states. If you want to satisfy the local transportation needs, you allow the states to craft their own highway policies. If they want to waste the gas tax revenue on high speed rail, one of Shuster’s pet projects, that is their prerogative. But the idea that we should control transportation through the powers in DC, even though it is something that reflects the unique geographical and cultural needs of a district, is completely absurd. The interstate highway system was completed over 20 years ago. It’s time to innovate with federalist solutions, instead of pouring higher taxes into the failed federal system, as advocated by Shuster.
Art Halvorson is committed to not only permanently eliminating earmarks but precluding the need for them in the first place. Many fake Republicans like Shuster feign outrage over the IRS scandal, but they fail to understand the broader lesson from the fallout. This is not about badly managed government; it is about an unconstitutionally large federal government. Washington has become too consequential in our lives. That’s why Art would devolve transportation and education back to the states. Shuster will continue supporting the needs of the K Street juke box in Washington.
We already have one party that believes everything begins and ends in Washington. We need a second party that will actually downsize the federal government. How often do we have a viable candidate who will consistently fight for limited government? You can make it happen by supporting Art Halvorson for Congress.