Some Things Make No Sense
by Marilyn Mackenzie
I was wandering around the grassfire.org site today and I came across an article about some recent earmarks and a petition to sign to end them. That article said, "Congress just passed a bill containing more than 500 earmarks. Among those are the Parking Garage to Nowhere, a visitor's center that you can't visit, a federal grant to restore a mounted fish, and $10,000 in federal money to support a fashion and portrait show. Is it any wonder why Congress has a single-digit approval rating? This is the kind of reckless, arrogant, out-of-control spending that we oppose."
My search took me to other articles and to other sites, as internet searches often do. I found my way to OpenSecrets.org and to an article about lobbyists from 2007. Okay, it's old news but it included information I had not heard before.
Did you know that our local state, county and city governments spent over $34 million in the first six months of 2007 lobbying for funds for local projects?
The way things are now, the company or local government that hires the best lobbyists will get money, not the best projects, or the ones that will benefit the most people.
Or...the smart politicians tack on earmarks to bills that everyone wants to see passed, and Americans are totally unaware of what's been put on the back of the bills.
It bothers me to know that my local government may be spending big bucks for lobbyists. I also understand that if they don't, the local government may not get any money from Washington.
It had been suggested that there be a one year moratorium on earmarks, and even a permanent ban on them. I think each American should stand behind this effort, should write his/her congressmen/women. I think we should suggest that lobbyists all find other jobs, too, while we're at it.
And then, back home, we should all be watching our local governments more closely.
I'll bet that there are plenty of local citizens who wouldn't mind - or might even love - going to Washington D.C. to explain why a local project needs federal support. They'd have more real passion about the matter, and if someone paid for transportation, meals, hotel and a day's pay that they lost, these folks would be happy. And that's a far cry from paying professional cheerleaders (lobbyists) hundreds of thousands of dollars about something that only matters to them because they're being paid.