Senator Mitch McConnell has sent out an email with talking points from Americans for Tax Reform on why “tax extenders” are not earmarks.But it is all nonsense. How do we know? Well, just look at Senate Rule XLIV, which deals with earmarks and lists not just spending items as an earmark, but also “limited tax benefits” and “limited tariff benefits.”Look, I realize ATR and other groups get money from Time Warner, Pfizer, and other major corporations — not that there’s anything wrong with that or its actually related to getting ATR to take a stand on something — but to say it is not an earmark when a lobbyist carves out an exception for his business, see e.g. the Hollywood tax benefit in the TARP Baby, and not yours is (a) b.s. and (b) one of the major reasons why our tax code has become so screwed up.Anyone who thinks tax policy cannot be used as an earmark is smoking dope, coin operated, or naive, whether willfully or otherwise. By the way, ATR also said the same thing about the earmarks loaded into TARP.Limited tax benefits, like that to Star Kist Tuna in American Samoa, are earmarks regardless of how much some want to kick and scream and say otherwise.If you or I or small business X cannot get it without hiring an army of lobbyists and dropping major coin on congressmen, it is an earmark. At a minimum, Senate Rule XLIV says so.