Home > Facts and Figures, Solution-Problem > Obama’s Sophistry on Earmarks

Obama’s Sophistry on Earmarks

In case you were paying attention to the State of the Union speech last night (and you were probably playing a drinking game, so I’ll give you a pass), you noticed Barack Obama say this:

If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.

If that wasn’t enough to make you erupt into peals of laughter, let’s run a few hypothetical scenarios.  The next time Congress wants to pass a “doc fix,” postponing the planned cuts to Medicare reimbursements, let’s just have a Congressman insert an earmark. 

In case you’ve been keeping score at home, those planned cuts to Medicare reimbursements were the linchpin of Obamacare’s laughable promise to reduce the deficit.  Honestly, I’m envisioning Ron Paul earmarking $2 billion for something like the “East Texas Chicken Farming Museum and Cultural Center,” and inserting that into one of Obama’s pet pieces of legislation.  Try calling that bluff, Barack.

And Dr. Paul scampers off impishly into the night…

That would be a game of chicken (pun intended) that Obama would lose immediately, but if we could count on Obama to actually be honest, earmarking would be far more effective than any no vote.  On a more serious note, the best way to end the wasteful wars in the Middle East could very well be by inserting earmarks into the periodic funding bills necessary to keep our guns blazing away over there.  How about an ironic earmark for an Iraqi war memorial inserted into the bill for Iraqi war funds?

Of course, anyone who believes that Obama would ever follow through is of the most credulous sort.  This means that when Obama vetoes legislation that he already disagreed with, these people will tend to believe him when he says it was “because of the earmarks.”  And that, naturally, was the whole point.  Make a show of being tough on spending without doing a single thing you weren’t already planning.

In case that wasn’t enough sophistry for you, it turns out that the White House has already backed off its pledge, according to Cato.  Why?  Because an earmark is not an “earmark.”  Naturally.

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