Eric Cantor on Earmarks

| Wed Oct. 13, 2010 5:19 PM EDT

Eric Cantor explains today why he's obsessed with earmark reform even though it wouldn't have the slightest impact on federal spending:

If we hope to preserve Social Security and Medicare for seniors, younger workers and our children, we must begin the conversation about common-sense ways to reform both programs.

These are big things — and there is little question that turning trillion-dollar deficits into surpluses, while starting to pay down our national debt, is an enormous mountain to climb. Yet the long climb to fiscal responsibility must begin with a few smaller, but necessary, steps.

Hmmm. I think Cantor has failed to explain his position clearly. Allow me to make a few small edits. Don't worry, I'm a professional:

If we hope to preserve Social Security and Medicare for seniors, younger workers and our children, we must begin the conversation about common-sense ways to reform both programs.

These are big things — but proposing cuts to these program would be an electoral disaster. If Republicans proposed real federal spending reductions we'd get our hats handed to us in November. So we're not going to do it. We're just not. And we're not going to do anything serious about cutting spending after the election either. Instead we're going to distract the rubes with some chatter about a problem that even I admit is trifling. They'll eat it up. I might be pandering here, but that's sure better than the alternative.

All fixed. Any questions?

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