Commentary

Earmarks Banned

Just like that, and the House has banned earmarks for the 112th Congress. The long sought after restriction on legislative excess was unanimously agreed to today by House Republicans to be applicable for all members of the next Congress. WSJ has the story:

The House measure was offered by Rep.-elect Sean Duffy, the Wisconsin Republican who won the House seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Obey, who has been Appropriations Committee chairman.

While the vote is an obvious nod to the new Republicans, it’s also a big win for House Minority Leader John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting, who has never requested an earmark and tried — unsuccessfully — for years to impose a ban.

“Earmarks have become a symbol of a Congress that has broken faith with the people,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement afterward. “This earmark ban shows the American people we are listening and we are dead serious about ending business as usual in Washington.

Okay, so the GOP has actually shocked the world and held to at least one of their pledges. And it was relatively painless. The only serious question is whether the House will accept Senate earmarks—or if the Senate Dems will get on board. Next issue? I think they get tougher from here.

Anthony Randazzo

Anthony Randazzo is director of economic research for Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. His research portfolio is regularly evolving, and he maintains a wide interest in economic policy at both a domestic and international level.

Randazzo is also managing director of the Pension Integrity Project, which provides technical assistance to public sector retirement system stakeholders who are seeking to prevent pension plan insolvency. His research focus on the national public sector pension crisis has a dual focus of identifying the systemic factors that cause public officials to underfund pension obligations as well as studying the processes by which meaningful pension reform can be accomplished. Within the Project he leads the analytics team that develops independent, third party actuarial analysis to stakeholders considering changes to public sector retirement systems.

In addition, Randazzo writes about the moral foundations of economic theory, and is currently developing research on the ways that the moral intuitions of economists influence their substantive findings on topics like income inequality, immigration, or labor policy.

Randazzo's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Barron's, Bloomberg View, The Washington Times, The Detroit News, Chicago Sun-Times, Orange-County Register, RealClearMarkets, Reason magazine and various other online and print publications.

During his tenure at Reason he has published substantive research on housing finance, financial services regulation, and various other aspects of economic policy at the federal level. And he has written regularly on labor economics, tax policy, privatization, and Turkish-U.S. political and economic issues.

Randazzo has also testified before numerous state and local legislative bodies on pension policy matters, as well as before the House Financial Services Committee on topics related to housing policy and government-sponsored enterprises.

He holds a multidisciplinary M.A. in behavioral political economy from New York University.

Follow Anthony Randazzo on Twitter @anthonyrandazzo