A decade ago, one of the first things Republicans did after taking back the House of Representatives was get rid of earmarks. For those of you who don’t recall, “earmark” is the term of art for when members of Congress bring home the bacon to their district. The GOP was in a tea party-ish mood back then, and getting rid of “bridges to nowhere,” etc., was all the rage.

At the time, I thought the earmark ban was an encouraging sign of reform. But in recent years, I’ve changed my mind somewhat. Yes, the practice had gotten out of control, and it drove some corrupt practices. But if the issue was runaway spending and debt, getting rid of earmarks was always more symbolic than serious. The main drivers of our national debt have always been entitlements, not road projects or ice skating rinks.

Jonah Goldberg is editor-in-chief of The Dispatch and the host of The Remnant podcast. His Twitter handle is @JonahDispatch.