Sunday, November 04, 2007

John Murtha's Debt

Obviously, every congresscritter contributes to the annual budget deficit. That said, John Murtha 'contributes' more to it than most:

Twenty-one members were responsible for about $1 billion in earmarks, or financing for pet projects, according to data lawmakers were required to disclose for the first time this year. Each asked for more than $20 million for businesses mostly in their districts, ranging from major military contractors to little known start-ups.

The list is topped by the veteran earmark champions Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is the chairman of the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee, and Representative C. W. Bill Young of Florida, the top Republican on the panel, who asked for $166 million and $117 million respectively. It also includes $92 million in requests from Representative Jerry Lewis, Republican of California, a committee member who is under federal investigation for his ties to a lobbying firm whose clients often benefited from his earmarks.

It's time we stopped calling them earmarks & called them what they really are: the price of corruption. Here's how the WSJ worded it:

Johnstown’s good fortune has come at the expense of taxpayers everywhere else. Defense contractors have found that if they open an office here and hire the right lobbyist, they can get lucrative, no-bid contracts. Over the past decade, Concurrent Technologies Corp., a defense-research firm that employs 800 here, got hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Rep. Murtha despite poor reviews by Pentagon auditors.

When Democrats won majorities in the House & Senate, Nancy Pelosi said that they'd use a pay-go system to restore fiscal discipline. It sounds to me like John Murtha has a different type of pay-go system. If you don't pay Johnstown's Piper, you don't pass go. You don't collect your share of corruption markers, aka earmarks.

“Pork hasn’t gone away at all,” said Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, an earmark critic who cites the “circular fund-raising” surrounding many of them. “It would be wonderful if this was a partisan issue, with Republicans on the right side, but it is really not. Many of these companies use money appropriated through earmarks to turn around and lobby for more money. Some of them are just there to receive earmarks.”

Ms. Pelosi was more interested in campaigning on earmarks than she was worried about reforming the system or "draining the swamp." Simply put, she wasn't & isn't serious about earmarks or cleaning up corruption.

That's why she needs to be a one-term Speaker & why John Murtha needs to be involuntarily retired.

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Cross-posted at Let Freedom Ring Blog