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8,000 Earmarks Can't All Be Good

William Dunkelberg, Economics Professor, Temple University
Thursday, 12 Mar 2009 | 8:36 AM ET

There are over 8,000 earmarks in the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress.

Here are some examples: sidewalk construction in Cherryland, California, totally teen zone in Albany, Georgia, school sidewalk in Franklin, Texas, bus for Lawrence, Kansas and Detroit, Michigan and Culver City, California, Lemon Street reconstruction in Florida and Vienna, Virginia and Williamstown, Vermont, 5th and Market Street improvements in Philadelphia, old Tiger Stadium Conservancy in Detroit, and the list goes on for 8,000 items like this.

I am not offering a commentary on the worthiness of these projects, here’s my issue: why are this 8000 projects a federal matter, why is the Congress of the United States managing this? These are very local issues as are issues related to the quality of education.

We send our money to Washington, put on knee pads and beg to get our money back to take care of local problems. Trust me, the overhead charge Congress imposes on your money is huge. Congress loves the power of course, and loves having governors and business leaders groveling in front of them.

This is nonsense, and hugely wasteful of our hard earned money.

Leave the money with the local governments and let them fix the sidewalks and buy buses.

The President's argument that members of Congress know their states best is not correct.

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William Dunkelberg is an Economics Professor at Temple University.

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