Supposedly we have a two party system of government. Republicans and Democrats noisily bad mouth each other and struggle over the spoils of electoral victory. But with government spending at stake, they play together pretty well.
Consider the recently passed Water Bill, WRRDA. WRDDA is said to have no earmarks, but the project known as the “Great Wall of Louisiana” is specifically funded; how is that not an earmark? Rep. Miller (R-MI) assures her constituents that there is money in the bill for “Great Lakes State” projects. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, both Democrats, as well as Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) assure us that there is money to dredge little used NYS harbors. Have our representatives, Republicans and Democrats, conspired to help each other out? Earmarks–no way–that word is taboo for both parties.
The recently passed 2015 Defense Appropriation Bill, NDAA, supposedly provides for defense. In fact, it has more to do with stimulus. Our representatives from both parties, supposedly opposed to wasteful spending, strive mightily in unison to protect defense appropriations that they favor. According to Defense News: “The floor process left intact the general crux of the House Armed Services Committee-crafted bill: It protects a slew of weapon programs. It does so mostly by raiding accounts used for service contracts and other non-weapons accounts.” Rep. Miller assures us that the A10 airplane operated by the Michigan National Guard will not be defunded.
Rep. Tom Reed says that government spending is the nation’s most pressing problem, that government spending isn’t necessary for economic recovery, and that government can’t create jobs. But when the spending is in his district, he quietly votes in favor.
© William Hungerford – May 2014