I am my favorite earmark. Unfortunately, nobody in Congress is interested in slipping an earmark into a spending bill for me. Maybe that is because I have no intention of donating money to any of them.
That doesn't mean that the process isn't costing me.
Citizens Against Government Waste, which closely monitors federal spending, is putting the finishing touches on its tally of pork projects in the pending spending bills — and the picture isn’t pretty. The group estimates that there will be at least 8,000 earmarks this year, costing U.S. taxpayers, $18 billion to $20 billion. - Politico
Figuring on 300 million Americans, that comes out to $66 each. Since I am the only wage earner in a family of four, my share comes out to $266. According to the story, the previous year's total was $29 billion. My share of that was $386. That's over $650 of my money wasted in just two years. Wasted by politicians who pip themselves out for political donations.
Just imagine what the total for next year will be if Congress passes a mortgage bailout. (Although that is not technically an earmark, it will be 'earmarked' for people who don't deserve it, just like earmarks.)
Now to put this all in perspective, take the Alternative Minimum Tax. This is a tax that each year negates tax deductions for more taxpayers, forcing them to pay a higher alternative rate instead. Congress has given us their worthless assurances that they are working on the problem, but as of yet, they have not come up with anything promising.
Congress is considering a patch that would temporarily increase income exemption levels and allow for certain personal exemptions normally disallowed in computing AMT liability.The patch is expected cost roughly $50 billion in projected federal tax revenue over 10 years. The cost of the other 32 breaks under consideration is $21 billion. That means Congress will have to come up with a total of $71 billion in revenue raisers if they observe pay-go rules, which require lawmakers to raise as much in tax revenue as they cut, or to cut spending as much as they cut taxes. - CNN
You see, they need to figure out how to replace the revenue they would have collected by not fixing the AMT. What they are not planning on doing is cutting Government spending, which would eliminate the need to collect the money in the first place. That is unfortunate, as the amount needed to patch the AMT is only $5 billion a year according to the story above. For those not paying attention, that is only a quarter of what was wasted by Congress on earmarks this year. So, not only can Congress stop the creep of AMT onto ever-more taxpayers, but they can do it without raising anyone's taxes. There is even enough left over to cut some taxes. But our fine Congressmen are sure to need the money for earmarks. Maybe that is the secret in fixing the AMT, have someone earmark a fix.
Murtha in My Pocket - FFI 14 Aug 07
No Bailout for Homeowners in Trouble - FFI 6 Sept 07