Unnoticed and unreported, victory has been won. Earmarks are gone!
First the Senate and House Republicans agreed to give them up. Then President Barack Obama followed suit in his State of the Union speech.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid initially scoffed at his president's proposal, but he was forced to back down by his colleagues and the Senate Democrats have now adopted a two-year moratorium on earmarking.
So the Fiscal Year 2012 and 2013 budgets will be earmark free!
Thanks go to the tea party activists, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and some stalwart Republicans for this achievement.
Several years ago, earmarks topped out at $60 billion a year. Last cycle, they ate up $15 billion of spending. Now they will go to zero.
This reform puts an end to a singular form of corruption in which senators and congressmen passed out earmarks with one hand and raked in campaign contributions from lobbyists for the projects with the other.
This form of legalized bribery has accounted for between one-quarter and one-third of the typical campaign war chest of Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012. But no more.