Congress has no business spending tax money collected from across the nation on items that benefit a small number of voters! These are expenditures geared to get votes for a member of Congress to ensure his/her re-election.
For example, why should a taxpayer in, say, Utah pay taxes for a convention center in Myrtle Beach, S.C.? This is a prime example of an earmark and the results thereof. Earmarks should be local/state issues and funded by local/state bond issues, tax levies, etc. In other words, get the money from those who would benefit from the expenditure, not from the federal government.
The recent stimulus package had a reported 9,000 earmarks! If Congress had to consider each of these as a separate bill and pass/fail it on its merits as to benefitting the nation as a whole, my guess is that 99 percent would fail and thus save taxpayers millions and millions of dollars.
Make our Congress members work for re-election by protecting taxpayers from federal abuse, protecting our shores, legislating laws benefitting the country as a whole, etc. I for one would have a lot more respect for them!