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March 4th, 2009
10:14 AM ET

Why we secretly love earmarks

Editor's note: A nationally syndicated columnist, Roland S. Martin is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith" and "Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America." Visit his Web site for more information.

CNN
Roland S. Martin

Whenever the opposing coach playing Texas A&M University would go off on the referees, our yell leaders - we don't have cheerleaders - would signal the crowd to do one of our yells that ends with, "Sit down bus driver!"

As I watched Sen. John McCain stand up and go on one of his rants about earmarks, I wanted to shout, "Sit down bus driver!"

Look, I like Sen. McCain, and to be honest, I agree with him 100 percent that Congress shouldn't be spending billions of dollars on pet projects, but I'm also realistic: no one truly cares.

Really, no one cares. Sure, there are a few folks in Congress who rail against earmarks. And there are outside pressure groups who are trying to rally the American people to voice their outrage about the process, but I firmly believe that the folks at home love to send their members of Congress to bring the bacon back home.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Arachnae

    What most people fail to realize is that if earmarks were eliminated, NO money would be 'saved'. Earmarks only direct the spending of a predetermined budget, they don't INCREASE it.

    If you eliminated an earmark to build a bridge, say, the money just flows back into the 'bridge-building' pot to be spent somewhere else.

    March 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  2. Ruth Smith

    I've been watching you on CNN lately. I love your bright, well thought out answers during the economic discussions on AC360. You're practically a genius, Roland. The brightest guy on TV these days. And cute, too. (Anderson better watch out.)

    I just wish they'd ask you more economic questions, Roland. Since you know so much, even more than that silly man John McCain, your wisdom and knowledge can only help during these trying times. Actually, Pres. Obama might want to think about putting you in his cabinet just to be on the safe side.

    Based on the wonderful books you've written alone, I think the world is underestimating your vast, economic talents.

    March 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  3. Los

    Look, some earmarks are good and some are bad. Earmarks put people to work by building parks, updating/upgrading highways, funding research and things of that nature. Then of course there are obvious earmarks which are favors to some big time donor and those are the ones that irk us. But for the most part Roland is right....who cares.

    March 4, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  4. Heather,ca

    Speak for yourself. I like a balanced budget and checkbook. Living and staying within that. Im a Democrat and fiscally conservative and I dont like pork.

    March 4, 2009 at 11:01 am |