Headline: “Obama Vows No Earmarks on Stimulus”
“We are going to ban all earmarks — the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review…”
It’s much easier to ban earmarks if you change the definition. According to the Office of Management and Budget, an earmark is spending where “the congressional direction… circumvents the merit-based or competitive allocation process, or specifies the location or recipient.” That’s the prevailing definition. But by Obama’s rules, the stimulus package can contain thousands of these projects, and still not have any ‘earmarks.’
And Obama has also promised budget reform, saying:
“We’re going to have to stop talking about budget reform,” Obama said after a meeting with his economic team. “We’re going to have to embrace it. It’s an absolute necessity…”
The president-elect also stated that he will look to rein in the federal budget by, among other things, forcing the government to “make tough choices and break bad habits.”
And what’s the context this time? It’s Obama’s somber prediction that we must accept $1 trillion deficits ‘for years to come.’ We sure have come a long way from the promise of net spending cuts!
I know that all Obamises come with an expiration date, but now it’s becoming clear that they need to be parsed for meaning right when they’re made!