Friday, January 7, 2011

The Ties that Bind

Here's another argument against congressional earmarks for those who need one -- and for those who wrongly assume that the heaven-sent windfalls always benefit local beneficiaries.

The Colorado Springs City Council not long ago caught a little flak for refusing to sign-off on a letter to U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, drafted for us by city staff, seeking Lamborn's support for some Obama Administration "stimulus" measure intended to "help" local governments out. How dare we refuse a federal handout, the critics cried, when the city is weathering a fiscal storm? It amounts to looking a gift horse in the mouth.

But even a dolt by now knows that almost all federal money comes with strings firmly attached -- even those most notorious of federal "freebies," earmarks. There are times when accepting "federal money" -- which is really local money recycled -- is legitimate. But in most cases, we should look on such windfalls of printed money with a caveat emptor skepticism.

When presented with the opportunity to lunge for the loot, this city council showed wisdom by exercising discretion and saying "no thanks."

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