Wednesday, July 09, 2008

MN-02 : Is Guilt the cause of John Kline Earmark Pledge ?

To state that "This Congress and this Administration have failed to meet their responsibilities to manage the government. " is a rather tough critique.
And the conclusion "That is simply inexcusable." is harsher.

That was part of the speech that Republican Presidential candidate John McCain gave on Monday. McCain is staking his economic plan on cutting earmarks but earmarks may not be as much of the problem as poor oversight by Congress and poor management by government agencies.

Republican John Kline (MN-02) has taken the “No Earmarks Pledge”.
But why ?
There is a vast difference between earmarks and wasteful government spending … although an earmark could be a wasteful government project, many earmarks are good investments and ensure that the monies are spent according to Congress’ (that would mean the People) desires and not the Administration.

But John Kline has called the earmarks a broken process
and his pledge is a form of protest. So, fast growing communitities suffer, while Kline protests.

Yet, I wonder if it isn’t guilt.
As a member of Congress, Kline has been part that has seen --in John McCain’s words--"Government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years."
RoveRobots had to support Bush, but Kline also has a responsibility in his committee assignments to make sure that monies were spent wisely.

The General Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report addressing ineffective management of weapons systems that "cost increases that add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, schedule delays that add up to years, and capabilities that fall short of what was promised."
Some projects cited include :
Global Hawk was $900 million; the first review increased that prediction to $967 million. The current estimate is $3.15 billion.
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) was $1.1 billion, but it is expected to cost nearly $3.6 billion.
Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) was $338 million and is now $2 billion.
The GAO concludes that if this trend "goes unchecked and fiscal pressures to reduce spending continue to grow as expected, Congress will be faced with a difficult choice to either pull funds from other federal programs to support Defense acquisitions or accept less warfighting capability than promised."

In an earlier commentary, the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) which the CBO estimates will grow 60% over budget, and the increase in fuel costs were discussed.

It has been well reported that Congress lacked oversight in the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres, but "That is simply inexcusable" for Congress to allow the DOD to mismanage activities right here in the USA.

Is it guilt that makes John Kline deny obtaining justifiable earmarks for the Second District as he knows of how dire Congress is managing our monies ?

Instead of taking the “No Earmarks Pledge”, Kline should take the “No Lobbyists and PAC Money Pledge … after all his Freedom & Security PAC has received monies from Lockheed Martin, and other government contractors. Last year, the largest federal contractor, Lockheed Martin, received contracts worth more than the total combined budgets of the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Congress. And No-bid (non-competitive) contracts have grown by 115% during Kline’s years.

1 comment:

Apollo said...

Great post - on point as usual. I wonder if Kline will ever acknowledge a more nuanced view of earmarks or if he will continue with the usual pandering on the issue that we have become accustomed to.