For those of you unfamiliar with the term 'earmark', it refers in this context to the pet projects--often of critical importance--including the building of bridges, roads, etc. that members of Congress win funding for at the federal level to bring home to their districts across the country.
The process rewards legislative acumen and seniority--in other words the sharpest, most effective members of Congress are usually the most effective in winning funding for projects that their constituents want--weather it be a new museum, a new road, an improvement to an unsafe road, etc.
Overall, compared to America's annual defense and military budget, plus our entitelment programs (mainly Social Security and Medicair)....earmarks make up a fraction of the country's overall budget (see graphic above).
But, in keeping with most of what the Tea Baggers obsess and create a fuss over...they are really simple to understand, easy to smear and rail against....and are what idiot brainwashers like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have currently chosen to fire up their legions of dunces about.
Personally, I'm enjoying the show and am eager to see how this all plays out. Way to focus on the important things, GOP!