If you don't follow Jamie on Twitter or read his blog regularly, you're missing out on some very interesting stories in Washington.
Anyway, I pulled out my spreadsheet software and did a little math: These 186 earmarks total almost $420 million.
In other words, our most transparent, most ethical Congress in history has decided to spend $420 million of our tax dollars on vote buying, pure and simple.
Hmm. Turns out Senator McCain was right about that $800 billion in additional spending. No, actually, he was wrong. The spending is going to be a great deal more than that. I also loved Candidate Obama's promise that, as President, he'd go through the earmarks "line by line to make sure we're not spending money unwisely."
Back to the Homeland Security bill. The largest earmark, at $62,500,000, is for the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama, sponsored by the President, Richard Shelby (D-AL) and Mike Rogers (R-AL 03). The smallest earmark, at $18,500, is for "Predisaster Mitigation" (whatever that is) for Brooksville, KY, sponsored by Geoff Davis (R-KY 04).
Eleven earmarks have the President's name behind them, and 54 of the earmarks total $1,000,000 or more. Only four are less than $100,000.
Sure, in the grand scheme of our $3.5 trillion (or more?) budget, $420 million doesn't seem like a whole lot. We've become desensitized to"tiny" numbers like this. Which is unfortunate, since $420 million represents about $3 from every employed person in the country, and this is just one set of earmarks in one spending bill.
Three dollars could buy me a pulled-pork sandwich at my favorite barbecue joint. Go figure.
The worst part is the number of Republicans sponsoring earmarks. I didn't count the Ds and Rs in this bill, but suffice to say there's plenty of money being spent by Republicans. Which is precisely why the Republicans lost in 2006 and again in 2008. They are not living up to their promises, and they are not living up to our expectations of conservative government.
I urge you to look through Jamie's list of earmarks, find your Congressman or Senator, and while it is too late to ask them to remove their earmark, tell them you'll be watching their spending in the future. Tell them you want them to practice responsible government, not bring home the bacon.
I'm just glad to see my Congressional representation is not listed.