Saturday, January 17, 2009

Earmarks vs. Logrolling

"In United States politics, earmarks refer to congressional provisions that direct approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that direct specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees. . . . Typically, a legislator seeks to insert earmarks that direct a specified amount of money to a particular organization or project in his/her home state or district."

"Logrolling is the trading of favors or quid pro quo, such as vote trading by legislative members to obtain passage of actions of interest to each legislative member."

In other words, an "earmark" is "I want mine". "Logrolling" is "If you give me mine, I'll give you yours".

There are no earmarks in the 850 (and growing) billion dollar stimulus package (which follows the 700 billion dollar financial bail out package).

But, there's plenty of logrolling.

(I'm not saying federal aid to local schools is a bad thing. But, pay increases for teachers? smaller class size? increased funding for special ed? All noble objectives, but there are better ways to lower unemployment or increase manufacturing. These provisions (and many others) were put in the stimulus bill as the price of someone's vote, not because they are effective economic stimuli. Don't expect them to work miracles. They won't.)

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