Stan Collender makes the point I’ve been trying to make. Eliminating earmarks, which account for less than 1% of the budget, would save absolutely no money at all:
Lost in all of the debate (and the reporting about the debate) on the earmarks in the omnibus 2009 appropriations bill the Senate is still working to adopt is the basic fact that cutting earmarks doesn’t save any money. This is not open for discussion. An earmark simply is a congressional decision to allocate part of appropriation for a particular purpose. Eliminating the allocation doesn’t reduce the appropriation, it simply leaves the allocation decision to a federal department or agency rather than to Congress. But keep in mind that projects approved by a department or agency are just as likely to be infuriating as projects included at the behest of of a member of Congress.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Click here for my blog entry about this subject.