It has become part of US political convention to attack 'earmarks' - legislative provisions that direct funds to specific projects - as wasteful and corrupt. In this provocative book Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q. Kelly argue that in fact earmarks are good for American democracy. Using extensive interviews with Washington insiders and detailed examples they illustrate how earmark projects that were pilloried in fact responded to the legitimate needs of local communities, needs that would otherwise have gone unmet. They also demonstrate that media coverage of earmarks tends to be superficial and overly-dramatic. Cheese Factories on the Moon is a much-needed challenge to a widespread but deeply flawed 'consensus' about what is wrong with US congressional spending.
"This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in earmarks, the federal deficit, and the role of Congress and congressional spending decisions in the larger government/political picture. Highly recommended. General readers and undergraduate students at all levels." —CHOICE
“I’m a fan and am delighted to see such a book—at just the right moment in the debate about earmarks.”
—Mickey Edwards, Aspen Institute and former U.S. Representative (R-Oklahoma)
“One of the highest callings for political scientists is to puncture conventional wisdom using data, historical context, and logic. In Cheese Factories on the Moon Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly do just that by demolishing the easy rhetoric and demagoguery on earmarks that are employed regularly by politicians and editorial writers across the country. One doesn’t have to agree with every element of their thesis to see that the reality is nowhere near as simple as that conventional wisdom has suggested.”
—Norm Ornstein, Resident Scholar American Enterprise Institute
“Cheese Factories on the Moon counters popular criticisms about earmarks. Frisch and Kelly have written a unique and balanced book about congressional earmarks and the appropriations process generally. Every student of Congress and especially journalists covering Congress should buy this incisive analysis about the realities of earmarks. The book will become a classic on how and why earmarks are adopted and what their consequences are for the public good.”
—James A. Thurber, American University
“Scott Frisch and Sean Kelly, unlike many academics, really ‘get it.’ They are also smart enough and brave enough to challenge conventional wisdom when it comes to politics and public policy. This book, like their previous work, should be must reading for students and instructors of political science for sure, but it would help a lot of pundits, too—if they’d just quit talking long enough to read it!”
—Leslie C. Francis, Washington Media Group and former Deputy Chief of Staff for Jimmy Carter
"Frisch and Kelly's book is a valuable counterpoint to those who exaggerate and misconstrue the nature of earmarks." — Congress & the Presidency
I'm a fan and am delighted to see such a book-at just the right moment in the debate about earmarks.