Is Pork Good for the Political Diet? End of the Earmark Era Up for Review

Is Pork Good for the Political Diet? End of the Earmark Era Up for Review

A Business Week article by Bendan Greeley had us debating in the office earlier today about two topics close to our profession: earmarks and their possible role in effective governance.

As a political consulting firm, our own clients’ interests are often highly localized, with only a few opportunities to move issues to the core of a Washington committee agenda for example, or rapidly through the bureaucracy of government.

Earmarks have often provided one such opportunity that, when used to good effect, can streamline decision making and provide a relatively effective means of securing resources to valuable local projects that would otherwise struggle for their moment on the bigger stage of Washington. Of course, with the good often comes the bad, and the anti-”pork” measures have sought to address these.

Brendan’s article considers that government dysfunction has increased since the ban on earmarks, and the practice, rather than disappear has led only to a shift in the power brokers for special-interest spending from one group to another, without an increase in transparency or efficiency.

Here is the article link –

Earmarks: The Reluctant Case for Ending the Ban
By Brendan Greeley on January 10, 2013

“I haven’t seen so much lard,” said Ronald Reagan, “since I handed out blue ribbons at the Iowa State Fair.” It was March 1987, and the president was using his weekly radio address to blast a highway spending bill he’d just vetoed. The next month 13 Republican senators deserted him by voting to help Democrats override the veto. As the late Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat legendary for bringing money home to West Virginia, told his chamber: “Potholes know no party.”