One of the biggest outcries from both the electorate and many in the government is the need to cut back on our out-of-control national spending by doing away with the practice of "ear-marking". In other word--politics as usual. One politician needs the support of others to get a bill passed. In exchange for support one politico promises to include a pet project or funding to the bill for the supporting colleague. Often the original bill ends up looking like a Christmas tree with all sorts of money-spending amendments designed as pay-back to those needed to get it passed.
While I'm not defending this practice of political back-scratching and budget-busting…let's be honest. Mississippi has been a leading recipient of ear-marking and profiting from the influence of our long-tenured and well placed Senators and Representatives for many years. In recent times, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran—ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee—has been name the "King of Pork Barrel" for bringing home dollars and projects to our state. Certainly, he was only following in the footsteps of many of Mississippi Congressional powerhouses who used their clout and influence to make up for our state's low population and subsequent low number of representatives. As one of the traditionally poorest states in the union, one could say that this kind of ear-marking has been Mississippi's perpetual stimulus initiative. And we have, for the most part, needed it, been grateful for it and rewarded our politicians who brought home the bacon with approval and re-election. While not defending it…neither do I condemn our folks for getting more than their share. That would be hypocritical.