I would like to address the subject of earmarks today. I think there's a lot of misunderstanding here among the Members as to exactly what it means to vote against an earmark. It's very popular today to condemn earmarks, and even hold up legislation because of this.
The truth is that if you removed all the earmarks from the budget, you would remove 1 percent of the budget. So there's not a lot of savings. But, even if you voted against all the earmarks actually, you don't even save the 1 percent because you don't save any money.
What is done is, those earmarks are removed, and some of them are very wasteful and unnecessary, but that money then goes to the executive branch. So, in many ways, what we are doing here in the Congress is reneging on our responsibilities, because it is the responsibility of the Congress to earmark. That is our job. We are supposed to tell the people how we are spending the money, not to just deliver it in a lump sum to the executive branch and let them deal with it, and then it's dealt with behind the scenes.
Actually, if you voted against all the earmarks, there would be less transparency. Earmarks really allow transparency, and we know exactly where the money is being spent.
The big issue is the spending. If you don't like the spending, vote against the bill. But the principle of earmarking is something that we have to think about, because we are just further undermining the responsibilities that we have here in the Congress.
If we want to get things under control, it won't be because we vote against an earmark and make a big deal of attacking earmarks because it doesn't address the subject. In reality, what we need are more earmarks.
Just think of the $350 billion that we recently appropriated and gave to the Treasury Department. Now everybody's running around and saying, Well, we don't know where the money went. We just gave it to them in a lump sum. We should have earmarked everything. It should have been designated where the money is going.
So, instead of too many earmarks, we don't have enough earmarks. Transparency is the only way we can get to the bottom of this. And if you make everything earmarked, it would be much better.
The definition of an earmark is very, very confusing. If you would vote to support the embassy, which came up to nearly $1 billion in Baghdad, that is not called an earmark. But if you have an earmark for a highway or a building here in the United States, that is called an earmark. If you vote for a weapons system, it would support and help a certain district, and that's not considered an earmark.
When people are yelling and screaming about getting rid of earmarks, they're not talking about getting rid of weapons systems or building buildings and bridges and highways in foreign countries. They are only talking about when it's designated that certain money would be spent a certain way in this country.
Ultimately, where we really need some supervision and some earmarks are the trillions of dollars spent by the Federal Reserve. They get to create their money out of thin air, and spend it. They have no responsibility to tell us anything. Under the law, they are excluded from telling us where and what they do.
So, we neglect telling the Treasury how to spend TARP money, and then we complain about how they do it. But just think literally; the Treasury is miniscule compared to what the Federal Reserve does.
The Treasury gets hundreds of billions, which is huge, of course, and then we neglect to talk about the Federal Reserve, where they are creating money out of thin air, and supporting all their friends and taking care of certain banks and certain corporations. This, to me, has to be addressed.
I have introduced a bill, it's called H.R. 1207, and this would remove the restriction on us to find out what the Federal Reserve is doing. Today, the Federal Reserve under the law is not required to tell us anything. So all my bill does is remove this restriction and say, Look, Federal Reserve, you have a lot of power. You have too much power. You're spending a lot of money. You're taking care of people that we have no idea what you're doing. We, in the Congress, have a responsibility to know exactly what you're doing.
This bill, H.R. 1207, will allow us for once and for all to have some supervision of the Federal Reserve. They are exempt from telling us anything, and they have stiffed us already. There have been lawsuits filed over the Freedom of Information Act. Believe me, they are not going to work, because the law protects the Federal Reserve.
The Constitution doesn't protect the Federal Reserve. The Constitution protects the people to know exactly what is going on. We should enforce the Constitution. We should not enforce these laws that protect a secret bank that gets to create this money out of thin air.
So, the sooner we in the Congress wake up to our responsibilities, understand what earmarks are all about, and understand why we need a lot more earmarks, then we will come to our senses, because we might then have a more sensible monetary and banking system, the system that has brought us to this calamity. So, the sooner we realize that, I think it would be better for the taxpayer.