Illegal Congressional pork "earmark" sneaked into a bill will cost $54M+ for super-speed rail across desert from Disneyland to Las Vegas
In case you don't know what "earmarks" are..., they are pork barrel projects for costly things coveted by various Congress-members. What they do is slip these pricey pet projects and funding for them into existing spending bills in Congress---IN SECRET!! They can even be slipped in anonymously!!
You might just as well call "earmarks" Congressional "gravy"---or, in some cases, "graft." Congress-members are taking taxpayers' federal tax money and spending it for something the vast majority of taxpayers do not know anything about, do not want, and did not request that their state's elected Congress-members approve.
How Congress assumed for themselves the power to do this is anybody's guess. "Earmarks" are not in the Constitution, not anywhere in the law, and not in the Senate or House rules or procedures. In other words, they are not legal. They are never proposed as individual stand-alone bills to be passed. They are never brought to public attention in the bright light of day, where taxpayers can know how their money will be spent and can object, if they so choose.
Apparently these "earmarks" are used pretty much as bargaining chips and it's mostly the best players among the senior and most powerful greedy lawmaker-porkers who are the ones that get their pork. But Congress is not a gambling casino---even though their "earmark" scam is a crap(py) game.
And, we poor-schmuck taxpayers don't want or need our pockets picked for Congressional-pork-"earmarks" to be forced down our throats.
Read about it below and at businessweek.
"This Train Is Really Defying Gravity"
If Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has his way, someday a superfast hovering train will whisk tourists from family-friendly Disneyland to the what-happens-here-stays-here city, Las Vegas. But so far, the Nevada senator's fascination with magnetic levitation -- the futuristic technology that would power the train across the desert at 300 mph -- has managed only to levitate a steady stream of money out of the federal budget: $54 million and counting.
Few others are climbing aboard. The Transportation Dept. rejects MagLev for its steep price tag, which a 2005 study says eclipses the cost of current high-speed rail by "fourfold to ninefold...."
It's just one small example of how congressional leaders can keep projects alive and how difficult it will be for reformers to stamp out earmarks -- the hidden pots of cash that lawmakers tuck into spending bills for favorite projects or constituents...."