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April 18, 2008

McCain's Plan to End Earmarks Puts Integral National Security, Foreign, and Domestic Programs in Peril
Posted by Adam Blickstein

This week, Sen. John McCain vowed to "veto every bill with earmarks" in order to help pay for his economic plan and tax cuts.  According to the Congressional Research Service, this would effectively end programs essential to American security, foreign operations, and domestic security, including aid to critical allies such as Jordan and Colombia as well as military construction.

Today, the National Security Network held a conference call with NSN President Rand Beers and federal budget and economic expert Scott Lilly, a Senior Fellow at American Progress Action Fund, to examine McCain's misguided earmark plan. Below are a few choice quotes, and the audio can be found here:

The numbers don't add so you end up in a situations when people are forced to do things that you would otherwise not do and those are usually bad choices and I think that's exactly where we are headed for. If we don't get to the bottom of where this proposal is really going...we may end up doing things to pay for them that are far more destructive than we thought...and i think the disturbing thing is that we've a candidate that put out a proposal to pay for it that he really didn't look at.
    -Scott Lilly

With respect to the foreign assistance budget and the notion that 70% of that budget in the 2005 fiscal year was earmarked, even if you go down to the lower [funding] level that you have now, really represents an undermining and gutting of our national security policy as executed by the state dept. this assistance is  to prevent crisis to ameliorate crises and after the fact rebuild, whether we are talking about Iraq and Afghanistan to day or other parts of the world...What this proposal is is an irresponsible approach to national security by McCain and his team if in fact they are going to make all these earmark cuts by the definition of the Congressional Research Service and as Scott mentioned as soon as they start to pull one or another program because of its priority their ability to make the claim that they are anywhere close to covering the tax proposal that Sen. McCain is making begin to collapse completely..
-Rand Beers

McCain has continually said that "I have experts of my own." Ironically, one of his top experts on economics is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who used to run the Congressional Budget Office. Now, someone who once oversaw the entire federal budget knows that there are earmarks, as defined by CRS, that are essential to national security, foreign policy and military infrastructure, and probably should not let his candidate run around proposing cuts to these programs in order to pay for tax cuts. Why, then, is Holtz-Eakin allowing McCain to make such reckless proposals that would undermine American security?


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Hmmm. Could it be that he wants a job in the McCain administration?

I won't sleep tonight worrying about which earmarks are essential to national security, foreign policy and military infrastructure.

Could it be:
$1,000,000 to Marvin Industries for LAU-7 Sidewinder Repalcement Program?

$5,000,000 to Raytheon Company for Cooperative Engagement Capability

$4,500,000 to Honeywell Defense and Space for Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine (VAATE) -- Small Turbofan?

$2,000,000 to Goodrich Corporation Optical & Space Systems for Terahertz Spectrometer Technology?

$3,000,000 to KDH Defense Systems Inc. for Waterway Threat Detection Sensor System?

$1,000,000 to Bosch-Rexroth Coporation for Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicles (HHV) for the Tactical Wheeled Fleet?

Or some of many others?

Earmarks, AKA Pork, are worthless giant expenditures that bring millions of dollars into congressional districts for nutty programs that even the spendthrift Pentagon, as well as other departments, doesn't want.

There were almost 2,000 porky earmarks added to the 2008 Defense Authorization bill. (Actually the number is 1,776--that's the spirit!)

Congressmen Young(59) and Murtha(46) lead the list with stuff even the Pentagon doesn't want (and that's saying something). Among other pork, Young goes with "Atmospheric Water Harvesting" and Murtha wants a "National Drug Intelligence Center". It's about time! Go here for a complete listing.

Murtha's nemesis Jean Schmidt won't be denied, she came through with $480 million for an airplane engine that the Pentagon doesn't need, but who can blame her, the GE factory is in her district. More here.

Holtz-Eakin also failed to stop McCain from pushing for a moratorium on the gas tax for this summer, an idea so bad it got panned by the Wall Street Journal. Holtz-Eakin said that the shortfall in the Highway Trust fund would be made up from the general fund, not even noticing that the experiment had been tried in Florida with poor results.

One thing that baffles me is the sure stupidity of the current batch of Republican leaders who fight wars through tax cuts. In Americas's previous wars taxes have always raised in order to finance the wars, but this doesn't seem to be the case with the wars in Afghanastan and Iraq. The current Republican leadership wantas to emulate Reagan's tax cuts in the 1980s but what they fail to reaize is that Reagan led through in era of peace, but even then federal debt skyrocketed through the roof. Finally John McCain's cuts in military and non-military aid to other countries seems to symbolized the neo-conservative emphasis on unilateral hard military power and not the multilateral soft power that this country needs to stop the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

fundamentalism in the Middle East.

fundamentalism in the Middle East.

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