cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The state budget, so far, has had 71 earmarks added for various "needs" in the Democrat's districts that total the "chump change" amount noted in the title of this blog. These are the things that the various members of the Assembly wanted as their protection from the "unwashed" in their respective districts so as to be re-elected next year. The earmarks range from the Yahara River Watershed Project at $6.6 million down to three local food pantry gifts of $5,000 each.
$37 million dollars to buy votes. If every man, woman and child in Wisconsin voted, which they don't, that would mean a vote is worth about $7.40. If only 20% of the population votes, then each would've cost $37, etc. Some of the districts receiving this earmark money, based on population and typical voter turnout probably have a price tag of hundreds of dollars per vote cast
Earmarks have been around for ages, and on both sides of the aisle. This isn't just a Democrat or a Republican "epidemic".
Is it time for this "tradition" to be shelved? Is it time for the public to rise up and demand that earmarks be forever forbidden? Should we insist that any expenditure thought to be worthwhile be voted up or down in broad daylight in both houses? Is it time that these "magic" bullets be taken from the quivers of the elected representatives of our state?
I suspect that the answer is a resounding YES! If it happens uniformly for both parties, then I think this would be a good idea.
Is there merit in starting another public demand for an up or down vote on the end of earmarks? Is it realistic to seek the creation of such a bill by our own elected representatives? Would these garner any co-sponsors? Would they ever be scheduled for a vote in the Assembly or in the Senate?
The Curmudgeon Blog today is titled "A Ghost Town Named Detroit".