All Of The Fuss About Earmarks

With all of the headlines about Mitch McConnell joining the Tea Party ranks in looking to ban earmark spending, FirstRead raises some good points:
[The movement to ban earmark spending is] so … small, especially compared with the price tag of extending the Bush tax cuts (for the wealthy or the middle class) and what the deficit-reduction co-chairs recently proposed (tax increases, spending cuts, entitlement reform). It also raises this question: If senators or members of Congress are no longer in charge of bringing home the bacon to their states or districts (via earmarks or another mechanism), then what becomes their primary mission? Being ideological fighters? And then there's this: By banning earmarks, is Congress ceding all the bacon authority to the executive branch? (If you're a community, for example, you're going to the Transportation Department to get your road projects, not your congressman.) McConnell even addressed this on the Senate floor yesterday, “I’m not wild about turning over more spending authority to the executive branch.”
I don't think that this thing has legs. However, I think that it's a positive conversation -- and will likely shed some much-needed sunlight on the back-room dealings that get projects earmarked into Congressional legislation.

Chart via Foreign Policy