The President signed a $410 billion Omnibus Bill the other day. He signed it behind closed doors and without much fanfare considering it was one of the largest (in dollar terms) things he's done since being inaugurated. Why?
Several reasons. First and foremost, it has almost 9,000 "earmarks" totaling $5.5 billion, less than 2% of the total Bill. One of his platforms for election was to stop doing business "the old way" in Washington and to remove "pork" and earmarks. Clearly this bill does not support those beliefs at all.
Any other reasons? Well, the Omnibus Bill was actually written many months ago and the primary purpose of the bill is to keep government running. The bill is actually for the government's fiscal year that started in October, so it's been delayed five months already.
Is that justification for allowing the earmarks? I say profoundly NO, it is not. Guess what? If you make it part of your platform and then don't act on it after only two months in office, you're a freakin' hypocrite. It's offensive.
What are some of the earmarks for? There's the Mormon Cricket, a very destructive insect that ravages our heartland. Bee research. We need bees, no doubt. $2.9 million for Shrimp aquaculture. $1.8 million for swine odor and manure management. $6.6 million for Formosan subterranean termite research. There are, as I indicated, many thousands more. Could any one of them be justified? Probably. But to allow this bill to pass without sending it back to the House and the Senate at least once (and he should have sent it back many, many times) as a show of your disapproval was pretty dumb and not what we signed on for as a country.
Did this kind of thing happen under other presidents? Absolutely. Take your pick. They all do it. What pisses me off is that Obama stared us in the face and said he WOULDN'T do it. At least the other presidents didn't run on the platform of reforming Washington and not allowing pork and earmarks. Well, none that I actually remember. I'm sure someone at some point has used that platform as well.
Would the earmarks be more bountiful under McCain? Almost undoubtedly they would. Again though, that's irrelevant. Barrack has basically lied already and his presidency is only two months old. And lied in a big way.