Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Garrett Gets $14.7 Million in Earmarks

Today, Representative Scott Garrett did two things: He called on President Obama to cut more spending from the budget, and voted against the $410 billion spending bill with some of Garrett's $14.7 million in earmarks for FY 2009.

Here's Garrett's quote to Jessica Coomes of the Express-Times:
"Let's start it right now," Garrett said about trimming the debt. "...That would've been a great way to add some substance to his remarks last night; unfortunately, he didn't do it."
Practice what you preach. Garrett had initially touted requesting $24.8 million.

It's been shown time and again that earmarks don't make certain taxpayer dollars are being spent most efficiently or that we're even spending on things the agencies want. The whole process raises questions:
  • Why was Hackettstown Community Hospital chosen instead of Valley or Pascack Valley?
  • Other than being born there, why choose out of district Englewood Hospital's bloodless surgery program over Hackensack University Medical Center's, which has a branch in District?
  • Why does Garrett keep getting money for a program the Army ended two years ago? Or is it something pushed by a lobbyist that Garrett agreed to without consulting the Pentagon, again?
  • What about the other $10 million he signed on to? Does the Pentagon actually want what he bought them?
To be fair to Garrett, he wasn't alone in requesting many of these earmarks. In addition, many of the programs sound worthy, which is often a hangup for folks, including myself at times. Garrett also isn't the worst, by far, about earmarking.

All of that said, the bottom line is that we're talking about a systemic problem of allocating money with no accountability for results. As much good as some of these earmarks may do, we can't be assured we got the best bang for our buck.

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