Then I can tell by the looks on their faces that most of them don't really know what I'm talking about.
Let me explain:
Earmarks are commonly known as "pork-barrel spending," or is money inserted by politicians into appropriations bills, often under a cloud of secrecy. The politician does not have to get any public approval for this earmark and does not have to disclose to the public how many earmarks they're inserting. The problem with this is that this can be an under-the-radar means of paying back political favors with absolutely no public accountability.
From a Wall Street Journal piece posted on The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington website.
The growth of earmarking points to a shift in the way Congress works. Most federal spending originates in requests by departments and agencies. The Transportation Department might seek funds to build a highway interchange, for example, or the Pentagon might ask for new tanks. The spending proposals are then put into legislation which must win approval by Congress.
Earmarks are different because lawmakers can directly insert them into spending bills, often without public scrutiny. Many lobbyists and corporations have discovered in recent years that one of the fastest ways to get the spending they desire is to approach an individual lawmaker of either party on the House or Senate appropriation panel about an earmark. That has fed the growth in earmarks to an estimated $47.4 billion last year from $19.5 billion a decade earlier, according to the Congressional Research Service.
I applaud Obama's call for openness and transparency in government. If we don't know what our politicians are doing, how can we hold them accountable?
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has declined to release her earmarks to the public. And there's a seemingly good reason. She's got so many of them!
From The Hill:
Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has secured more earmarks in the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill than any other Democrat except for panel Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).
The bill contains about $5.4 billion in earmarks, or projects not requested by the Pentagon. With their slim majority, the Democrats on the panel claimed two-thirds of that sum. Clinton is among their more junior members.
By contrast, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), also a Democratic presidential candidate and Clinton’s rival for the nomination, has only one request in the defense bill.
How many of her political endorsements are also benefiting from a designated earmark?
And my question to you is:
If Hillary is giving more money to the Pentagon than any other Democrat (and is doing it in a way that she can come out publicly and say she hasn't "voted" on these increases)...then where is the motivation to pull out of Iraq in a timely manner?
The Pentagon is getting all this cash from her, isn't that like a tacit endorsement to keep spending it?