President Obama and Transportation Earmarks

According to the Associated Press, President Obama will give states nearly half a billion dollars to spend on transportation and infrastructure projects. Here’s the kicker:

“The money initially was allocated to the Transportation Department for special projects known as earmarks from 2003 to 2006. The Republican-controlled House has since banned earmarks, which are provisions tucked into bills which direct taxpayer dollars to lawmakers’ pet projects.

“Obama has vowed to veto any bill that includes earmarks and has supported efforts by lawmakers in both parties to permanently ban the practice.

“But the White House official said money awarded by previous Congresses should be spent to improve the nation’s highways, transit systems and ports. Instead of letting the money sit idle, it should be used to put Americans back to work and repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the official said.”

So, despite vowing to veto bills containing earmarks (a promise he actually broke immediately with the stimulus bill which contained over 8,000 earmarks), President Obama is handing out earmark money.

Apparently, he has also forgotten that Congress passed a transportation bill just a couple months ago that increased transportation spending. Is more money really needed?

Expect him to tout this as a job creating move. Remember shovel ready? Apparently, the President hasn’t learned that doling out money for infrastructure projects will not immediately create jobs – and certainly not before the election, which we’re assuming is his aim.

Instead of handouts to his preferred voting blocs (in this case, unions, yet again), maybe he should concentrate on helping all Americans. He could start by telling the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass a budget and the three-dozen jobs bills the House has passed. Or, and this is just a suggestion, he could allocate that money for deficit reduction.

Of course, working on behalf of the American people would really cut into his golf and campaign time.

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