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Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The Rule of Law Goes to Pot - Erick Erickson
Whether or not to enforce the law is not an executive option.

Why We've Let Actors Become Our Moral Guides - Jonah Goldberg
It's unfathomable why we allow ourselves to look up to Hollywood.

Today in History:  Desert Storm Begins! (1991) ... Ivan the Terrible Crowned Czar (1547) ... U.S. Civil Service Established (1883) ... Prohibition Takes Effect (1920) ... Eisenhower Takes Command Of SHAEF (1944)

     ... More Headlines

The Virtue-Signaling Anti-Virtue Crowd - Ben Shapiro
America knows posturing when it sees it. Actors doing what actors do.

Celebrate Freedom, Not Pot - Froma Harrop
Pot is just another risky intoxicant, like alcohol, to be used with care.

Don't Refill the Swamp by Restoring Earmarks, President Trump - Philip Wegmann
What a way to alienate the base and encourage bad behavior.

Happy Times and Starry Dreams in Tinsel Town - Wesley Pruden
Ah, the Hollywood primary. And the results are (yawn) unanimous.

Who Are You Calling a Moron? - Stephen Moore
If Trump is an idiot, what are the liberal elites he keeps outsmarting?

Usurping the President's Constitutional Authority - James A. Lyons
The courts tread on the C-in-C's authority; DOJ surrenders too easily.

America Needs a Balanced-Budget Amendment More Than Ever - George Will
Our current censensus: Taxation without representation of the unborn.

Bureaucrats Earn How Much? - Lewis Morris
The average worker in 78 federal agencies makes about $100,000 per year.

Dangers of Government Control - Walter Williams
Seven unelected people have life-and-death control over our economy.

     ... More Op-Ed

Earmark This Bad Argument —  With President Trump endorsing a return to earmarks, House Republicans too are reportedly "reconsidering" their usefulness and pondering "how they might ease back into the practice." Lawmakers fret that they have lost too much power by giving up this instrument of corruption. (Not their characterization.)

Wikipedia defines "earmark" as a budgetary provision that "directs funds to a specific recipient while circumventing the merit-based or [competitive] allocation process." An earmark is a taxpayer-funded goodie bestowed on a congressman's constituent, the sort of crony willing to contribute to the bestower's next election campaign in return.

Quid pro quo, pay-for-play, bribery. Whatever you call it, there's darn good reason why political leaders who fight corruption have fought to end earmarks.

Congressional Republicans imposed a ban on earmarks in 2011 to show that they were anti-corruption. So why relapse? Well, "the time is right," according to GOP Representative John Culberson, for Congress to prove it can use earmarks responsibly. His bad argument is that the "excesses" of a decade ago were committed by "knuckleheads [who] went overboard."

Somebody alert Culberson to the fact that many of the same knuckleheads are still in office. Ahem. Congress is not yet term-limited, remember?

The more basic point is that earmarks are by nature corrosive of sound government. President Trump's only metric is apparently "getting [things] done" as opposed to obstructionism, preferring "the great friendliness" when we had earmarks. Sure, stuff got done -- a lot more spending, a lot more bad stuff.

To the extent they're gone, earmarks should stay gone. The only appropriate action is to make it even harder to bring them back.

Paul Jacob,
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