Earmarks are down 40 percent in the 2011 spending bills compared to last year. The House Republicans' self-imposed moratorium on earmarks is the reason. I think earmarks are overblown as a driver of federal spending and that there are much larger programs that need tackling if the GOP is to get serious about limiting government. I also don't object to earmarking in principle.
But I do believe constantly requesting funds for small but constitutionally dubious pet projects makes it more difficult for Republicans to have the credibility they need to rein in those larger programs. So this is a very modest step in the right direction.
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