Camarillo, Calif., Sept. 22, 2010 – In recent years, special congressional appropriations known as ‘earmarks’ have become synonymous with wasteful government spending and corruption. Andy Roth, a vice president at the Club for Growth, claims that “Earmarking is a corrupt practice, plain and simple."
“Hold on” say two CSU Channel Islands (CI) Professors of Political Science. Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly’s new book Cheese Factories on the Moon: Why Earmarks are Good for American Democracy, was released this week by Paradigm Publishers (Boulder, CO).
The founders of the American republic, in the Constitution, invested the power of the purse in the U.S. Congress to ensure that spending would reflect the priorities of the public. Earmarks allow constituents, through their representatives, to influence the federal government making it responsive to the demands of local interests; they allow members of Congress to adapt ‘one-size-fits-all’ national programs to local conditions. “Ultimately it is up to voters to hold members accountable for their earmarks; if they think the earmarks don’t serve the interests of the district they can defeat their member of Congress in the next election” says Kelly.
The founders also believed that bestowing the power of the purse on the Congress would allow the legislature to check the power of the executive branch. “People arguing for the end of earmarks are saying, ‘Let’s give all the authority to a cen...