The news out of Congress is that "earmarks" are coming back. These are a type of special-interest provision tacked onto a bill to get a reluctant legislator to vote for them. The earmarks typically hand out tax dollars to people or projects in said member's state or district.

This was the way Congress operated for many years, but about a decade ago they conceded that it was unethical and not in the public interest. Since then, we've learned that if Congress has to behave ethically and care only about the public interest, nothing will get done. And so we're going back to the old ways. A corrupt Congress is an effective Congress.

Now supposedly, this time around, private parties and companies won't get the handouts. At least, not directly. Apparently the new earmarks will be limited to state and local governments and nonprofit entities. Of course, those entities will then be free to benefit private parties and companies galore, limited only by what they can get away with under prevailing local politics.

Back in the heyday of earmarks, Oregon Senator Bob Packwood was running the show on the tax system. He and his crew would play a guessing game with the public. A special-interest provision, sometimes called a "rifle shot," would dole out some juicy special tax deal to, say, "that corporation incorporated on April 8, 1927 and operating a facility placed in service on March 10, 1982." It was up to you to figure out who that was. Some were easier to identify than others.

I wonder if they'll resurrect that charade this time around with the earmarks. Given the current makeup of the Senate, you can expect to see some big bones being thrown to "any state being admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863" and "a certain state located at latitude 44° 21′ N to 49° N and longitude 104° 2′ W to 116° 3′ W." 

But if that's what it takes to move the country forward, forget about your ethics and play along. They decapitated Sir Thomas More, you know.


  1. Ear notching system really Jack🤪 don’t get out much these days 😂


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