Checks and balances

Jun 202007

A letter writer to the WSJ writes today

… the essential question: What is the driving force behind the “earmark” phenomenon? It’s so clearly destructive, yet it persists….

The problem is simple. Earmarks bound for my home district are “economic opportunity.” Earmarks bound for your home district are “pork.” Until that reality changes, folks like Sen. Coburn are rolling this boulder uphill. Fiscal responsibility? For thee and thee, but not for me.

To change that reality, we need term limits.   If your congressperson is rewarded by his constituents for getting pork for your district, and mine is rewarded by ours for getting pork for our district, it will be a race to the bottom.  If there are no effective controls on the greed of congressperson or voters, the most corrupt congressperson (and the most corrupt voters) will win.

What is needed is a way for the voters in our district to put limits on the greed and corruption of the voters  in yours, and vice versa.  Given that the power to pork is highly correlated with incumbency (and if you don’t believe me, listen to the incumbents argue as to why voters should re-elect them) term limits will be a control on this.  It will be a way for us to limit, not our own congresspersons, but yours.

And why should voters in our district be allowed to control who you elect?  Because your congressperson gets to spend our money on special treatment for you.

If Congress was restricted to dealing only with national issues, it might be a different story.   But there is no chance of that happening any time before the Revolution comes.