Putting earmarks into perspective

John Cole at Balloon-Juice.com makes a very important point that every voter should heed. Break out the calculators, kids, and follow along.

The total national debt, as I write this, is $9,679,000,000,000.00 (nine and a half trillion).

The Budget for 2008 is close to $3,000,000,000,000.00 (three trillion).

Our budget deficit for this year is going to range in between $400-500,000,000,000.00 (four hundred to five hundred billion, give or take a few billion).

The total value of earmarks in 2008 will be approximately $18,000,000,000.00 (eighteen billion).

In other words, when [John] McCain talks about earmarks, he is talking about 3% of our annual budget deficit, .6% of our annual budget, and a number too small to even report when discussing our national debt. Or, put another way, he is talking about two months in Iraq, something he wants to keep going indefinitely.

Not only are they lying about [Sarah] Palin’s involvements with earmarks, they are just not being serious about the horrible economic problems we face. These are not serious people.

Let’s take Cole’s figures one step further.

According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the “uninsured will spend $30 billion out-of-pocket for health care in 2008 while receiving $56 billion in uncompensated care, three quarters of which will be from government sources.”

Compare $86,000,000,000, one single sliver of health care costs, against all federal earmarks. Those projects, pork barrel and important needs alike, account for less than a quarter of the annual budget burden caused by health care.

Lack of heath care affordability has a far greater impact on the national treasury and quality of life of everyday Americans. While the media is in a frenzy over “Bridges to Nowhere” and red meat partisan attacks, the McCain-Palin ticket have yet to focus its storied reformer talents on tackling this much more pressing concern that today accounts for 16 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

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Wendy Norris

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