I’m shocked. Or not.

After promising unprecedented openness regarding Congress’ pork barrel practices, House Democrats are moving in the opposite direction as they draw up spending bills for the upcoming budget year.

Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify “earmarks”-lawmakers’ requests for specific projects and contracts for their states-in documents that accompany spending bills.

Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge them.

Smaller government is the only way this kind of abuse can be reduced, not just a change in party power. The more Washington does — the more responsibility we hand over to them — the more money they get. The more money, the more abuse of it. Divide up some of that power into 50 pieces (commonly referred to at “states”), and you have more accountability and less abuse, mostly because when you centralize things in Washington, abusers have one-stop shopping for largesse.

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