Earmarks, riders, with their spurs in your sides and mine!

I show this article because it’s typical of what the reaction to the banning of riders, or earmarks, will be all across the country.  Oh, yes, ban earmarks for the good of the country, just don’t ban mine!  Folks, if we’re going to straighten out the economic mess in this country, our ox will have to be gored.  If we want something funded, then go at it honestly and straightforward, not hidden like a tree mushroom, depending upon the life of another for sustenance.  Earmarks are just that, sneaky last minute additions to funding that must be passed for one reason or another.  I’m particularly angry when an earmark is attached to an emergency bill, and to my way of thinking, every bill effecting those kids risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, as a for instance, is an emergency.

Do we want children to read?  Of course we do.  And there are a thousand other programs we want to see happen.   Do we want a bridge to nowhere?  Of course we don’t, but we’re not going to stop that kind of waste unless we STOP earmarks.

This clap trap of congress setting some time limit on bills is nothing but cowardice.  What they’re doing is recognizing the anger of the country over some congressional boondoggle such as earmarks, then setting themselves up so the reactionary bill can die a natural death without them having to take another stand on the issue.  In three years, when the “ban” on earmarks dies, no one in congress will have to risk the wrath of their constituency by taking a stand.  “Oh, no, I didn’t vote to bring back earmarks.  It was automatic.”  Coward. If it’s bad now, why will it be good in three years? BAN EARMARKS.  Get an ounce of chicken guts, congressman.

This from Publishers’ Weekly”

A rider attached by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), which proposes banning earmarks for the next three years, could have a devastating effect on educational programs like Reach Out and Read, Reading Is Fundamental, and Teach for America, which would lose their federal funding. The vote on the ban is scheduled to take place on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

“The passage of this amendment would be catastrophic for Reach Out and Read and 12 other high quality, evidence-based programs that benefit millions of children and families in our country,” says Reach Out and Read CEO Earl Martin Phalen. “The best way to protect America’s economic security for the future is to invest in early education, and vote against this shortsighted amendment.”

This year, for example, Reach Out and Read, which promotes early literacy and school readiness by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud at regular pediatric checkups, was awarded $6 million in federal funding. The organization leveraged it to raise another $21 million in non-federal funding to serve 4 million children and families nationwide.

Reach Out and Read is working with the 12 other nonprofit education organizations that would be affected by the earmark ban—Center for Civic Education, Close Up foundation, Communities In Schools, cooperative Education Exchange Program, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National History Day, National Writing project, New Leaders for New Schools, Project GRAD, Reading Is Fundamental, Teach for America, and VSA—to try to stop the legislation.

It’s a wonderful program. Would I love to see it continue?  Of course I would, far more than about 50,000 other government programs…but not if it requires an earmark.  Let Reach Out and Read, get honest straightforward funding, and preferably private funding.  Let’s all get off the government tit, for everyone’s good.

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