Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has caved on earmarks. That is, he no longer supports it and will go along with Senator Jim DeMint in applying a ban on republican senators applying for earmarks. Combined with the house’s pledge to ban earmarks, it looks like, for the first time in memorable history, we may have 2 years of congress without any earmarks.
Of course, the lobbyists and the lobbyists who lobby for lobbyists are upset. That is good news. Let every expenditure of the public’s money be discussed in public. Let us shame those who want to roll pork in their direction, and let us balance the needs of the minority with the needs of the majority.
There are some rumblings. For instance, conservative representative Michelle Bachmann is saying she wants to keep earmarks for transportation. Obviously, it looks like she as a few ideas on how to spend the people’s money but doesn’t want to discuss them until after they have already passed the president’s desk. Of course, I doubt she’ll get her way.
If this proves to hold, which I hope and pray it will, it will demonstrate to the American people that congress can and should be earmark free.
Congress has already all but pledge to balance the budget without raising taxes. Meaning, they are going to cut spending, perhaps across the board. Key conservatives have pledged that they will seriously consider cuts to the military, and perhaps even withdrawing our forces from across the world to save costs. There is a good chance that democrats may be forced to meet republicans half-way, since liberals are also in favor of a balanced budget, as long as republicans are willing to cut military spending along with everything else.
Next battle: Constitutional limits. That is, adding citation for every expenditure and every legislation to the constitutional authority granting that power.
After that, we need to investigate ways to eliminate Medicare, Social Security, and all unconstitutional social spending from our federal budget. We can save over 50% of our budget if we do so, and these will be savings that will expand many-fold over the coming years since these programs are not sustainable. I believe we can find a “soft-landing” scenario that will help those with time prepare for retirement while giving those in retirement enough to get by. However, absent such a method, we will have to take the “hard-landing” approach and make it clear to everyone that if they do not support the elderly through charitable contributions, many elderly people will not have the medical care, food, and shelter they need.