Critics of congressional earmarks have long argued that the practice of inserting money for special projects is fraught with potential conflicts of interest and corruption and should be banned.
Now those in favor earmark reform have yet another reason to push for their elimination: public choice economics.
As recently pointed out by Cato scholar Brandon Arnold, “the earmarking process operates under a system of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs.” In other words, everyone pays but not everyone gets their money’s worth.
In all, Arnold estimates that 16 states receive a disproportionately large share of congressional earmarks while the remaining 34 states, which comprise 90 percent of the US population, receive considerably less than what they put in thus turning them into “earmark donor states.”
So how does Texas fare in all this? Pretty poorly, according to Arnold’s analysis.
Overall, Texans receive just 40 percent of what they proportionately should, meaning that the state’s taxpayers shell out more than $1 billion in federal taxes to pay for other states’ earmarks. In today’s day and age, this can hardly be called chump change.
With the vast majority of states, including Texas, receiving far less than what they put in, not to mention the practice is ripe with fraud and abuse, it is hard to see why taxpayers should support this practice any longer.
– James Quintero