Those who view earmarking as an expression of the "congressional prerogative" sell Congress short of its preeminent role as the first branch of government. As the defenders of earmarking are fond of saying, earmarks represent less than 2 percent of all federal spending. Precisely! By focusing on a measly 2 percent of spending, we have given up effective oversight on the remaining 98 percent.
Without the earmark distraction, Congress can return to the deliberative process of authorization, appropriation and oversight, thus reining in spending abuses of the administration rather than simply piling on with spending abuses of our own.