|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Across the country, local governments, nonprofit groups and scores of farmers, to name but a few, are waking up to the fact that when Congress stamped out earmarks last week, it was talking about their projects, too.
Tensions are particularly acute in districts where new conservative lawmakers, many of whom criticized throughout their campaigns the practice of quietly inserting earmarks into spending bills, are coming face to face with local governments and interest groups who were counting on federal dollars to help shore up their own collapsing budgets.
The issue is hardly limited to Republican districts. Democrats, led by President Obama — who recently said earmarks were a bad thing — also agreed to give up the practice. Last week, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who has long cherished earmarks, announced that they would be banned from this year’s appropriations bills. But he was not happy about it.
“The reality,” Mr. Inouye said, “is that critical needs in communities throughout the country will be neglected: roads and bridges in disrepair, job training programs shuttered, and vital resources for national defense and law enforcement cut off, to name just a few.”
Many citizens, even those who sympathize with cuts in spending, insist that not all pork is cured with the same untoward salt. “I do agree we have to cut from somewhere,” said Steve Tribble, the county judge executive of Christian County in Kentucky, where a planned road project is now imperiled. “I am against some earmarks,” he said. “Not the good ones. I can promise you this is not a road to nowhere.”