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Is Reviving Earmarks a Smearmark for Congress?

In an effort to get Congress functioning once again—not to mention a desperate attempt to ensure their reelection—Democrats are proposing to revive congressional earmarks.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an “earmark” as “legislation that allocates a specified amount of money for a specific project, program or organization.”
That definition is a little too sanitized.
For decades congressional leaders trying to move a bill through Congress, especially budget and spending bills, would talk to various members from both political parties to find out “what they had to have” to support the bill.
Federal taxpayer dollars being handed out to the states would include those earmarks stipulating that X dollars of that money were reserved for the Senator Blowhard Bridge or the Rep. Swindle Concert Hall.
OK, I exaggerate—but only a little. Some earmarks could be for very useful and needed projects. But much of the earmark money was intended to please powerful interests and donors, not the general public. Oh, and glorify the member of Congress who secured it.
Earmark defenders—and there were, and are, some on both sides of the aisle—argued that the money was being designated for the states anyway, so earmarks didn’t actually increase federal spending. And, if Congress didn’t determine how the money would be spent, then the executive branch, bureaucrats or state legislatures would.
And to be fair, there's some truth in both assertions.
Even so, the earmark process looked to most voters, and especially to many fiscal conservatives, like one big, corrupt porkfest. Congressional votes were up for sale if the price were right.
As a result, when he became speaker of the House of Representatives in 2011, Republican John Boehner, who had never taken an earmark, ended the practice. He was helped by President Barack Obama, who also wanted to curb them.
As Obama said in November 2010, after it was clear Republicans would control the House in 2011, “Earmarks like these represent a relatively small part of overall federal spending. But when it comes to signaling our commitment to fiscal responsibility, addressing them would have an important impact.”
Obama went on to say, “We have a chance to not only shine a light on a bad Washington habit that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars, but take a step towards restoring public trust.”
The only problem with Obama’s comments: Washington continued its massive spending spree, even without earmarks. The only actual federal spending cuts did not come from ending earmarks; they were the result of the “budget sequester” that took effect in fiscal year 2013.
For better or worse, earmarks allowed Congress to function, which it no longer does.
One reason so many Democrats want to end the Senate filibuster is so they can get their far-left agenda passed. And bringing back earmarks might allow them to “buy off” some Republican support, achieving the same goal.