As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Senate Passes Omnibus Spending Bill

Good. Let's get this the hell out of the way and move forward. The earmark debate is so side-splittingly misinformed I can hardly stand it. Even Eric Boehlert couldn't hold off the stupid today. It's not just that earmarks are a small percentage of the bill, maybe 1-2%. It's that their inclusion in a spending bill DOESN'T CHANGE THE OVERALL AMOUNT OF SPENDING. Earmarks are a technical term of art whereby representatives of the people direct small pieces of funding instead of government bureaucrats. It kills me that it takes Bob Frickin' Bennett to point out this fact, which kind of makes the whole debate completely pointless.

BENNETT: First, let me make several things clear that you perhaps don't understand. Number one, if the money were not earmarked for this purpose it would still be spent. That is, the Department of Agriculture would be spending it somewhere else. And you would not be saving a dime if you eliminate these earmarks.

Is that so damn hard? Why can't one Democratic lawmaker, or anyone from the Obama Administration, make this simple point. After that, all you're arguing about is the size of the spending. And given that the economy is falling off a cliff and no other sector is creating demand, you simply don't get far with an argument that government should be tightening its belt at this juncture. That would fall under things the willfully ignorant say, or to be redundant, things cable television news anchors say.

(By the way, I agree with exceedingly little in BoBo Brooks' article other than these sentences: "The House minority leader, John Boehner, has called for a federal spending freeze for the rest of the year. In other words, after a decade of profligacy, the Republicans have decided to demand a rigid fiscal straitjacket at the one moment in the past 70 years when it is completely inappropriate." Brooks is so thick he actually contradicts himself on this later in the column.)

This whole debate has been a perfect example of the dumbing down of America.

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