The Corner

Re: Re: Republicans and Spending

Jack Fowler argues that earmarks are “the sell-out which brings about big legislative horrors.” I disagree on both counts. First, why is it a sell-out for a congressman to direct that a portion of federal funding on local transportation projects be directed to a traffic light on Main Street, to use Jack’s example? What conservative principle requires that the executive branch allocate all the spending? Second, the connection between earmarks and the passage of big-funding bills is tenuous. Earmarks can be used to get the votes to enact good bills too, and there are plenty of other ways to get votes: The Cornhusker Kickback wasn’t an earmark.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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