"The principle of the earmark is our responsibility. We're supposed to -- it's like a -- a tax credit. And I vote for all tax credits, no matter how silly they might seem. If I can give you any of your money back, I vote for it. So if I can give my district any money back, I encourage that. But because the budget is out of control, I haven't voted for an appropriation in years -- if ever. . . .Yes, you are. But this is also a republic. And you also have a responsibility to say, as somebody who's elected and paid to do their homework and understand the issues, "We can't afford it," which you said -- sorta. Why not just say that in the first place, rather than putting the earmark in anyway?
"I don't think the federal government should be doing it. But if they're going to allot the money, I have a responsibility to represent my people. If they say, Hey, look, put in a highway for the district, I put it in.
"I put in all their requests, because I'm their representative."
Paul suggested that doing away with earmarks was a back-door way for the executive branch to gain power over the legislative branch: "The whole idea that you vote against an earmark, you don't save a penny. That just goes to the administration and they get to allocate the funds. . . .Rep. Paul never gives examples of this in action, or how much money has been spent in this way. And frankly, the "if we don't spend it, somebody else will" philosophy doesn't hit me as sound financial policy.
"If you don't earmark something, then somebody else spends it and there's no transparency."