Want to to know why earmarks will never end? Because when people in a district don't get them, "pork" suddenly becomes "needed projects," and people like Sylvia Smith are there to cheer on their griping:
Like many people, I am ambivalent about earmarks.
Yes, they have grown exponentially in number and dollar amount. Yes, many are for absurd projects. Yes, the system is a breeding ground for corruption. Yes, states and communities represented by Appropriation Committee members get a disproportionate share of the spoils. Yes, lawmakers use earmarks for their political advantages.
But when Congress is responsible for collecting and spending taxes, why shouldn't individual lawmakers be allocated some tiny fraction of the budget to designate for projects the people in their communities ask for?
It seems to me the major flaw in earmarks is not the fact of them but the process. Even though there's more transparency than there used to be (and kudos, once again, to Rep. Mark Souder's long-standing policy of telling us all the earmarks he asks for), there is not enough.
No, the flaw is not the "process." It is the very fact of the earmarks. And as long as this attitude prevails -- earmarks are bad, very bad, and why aren't we getting ours? -- nothing will change. Earmarks will disappear when congressmen like Pence and Burton are rewarded for giving them up, and taxpayers start voting out those who accept them. Unfortunately, those who are nicely bribed seldom turn on those who bribe them.