Politics & Media
Mar 10, 2009, 12:19PM

Earmarks, defined

They're not as simple as you think.

In fact, cutting them doesn't save any money at all:

That means that eliminating an earmark only eliminates the allocation and not the spending. The appropriation, the law that actually provides the funds for the government to spend stays at the original level regardless of whether the earmark stays in place. The only thing that changes is that the decision about how and where to spend the funds shifts from Congress to the executive branch agency that administers the funds.


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