President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to keep the stimulus bill "free from earmarks and pet projects." But banning earmarks won't restore public confidence if state and local governments don't use the money effectively. Should the stimulus include standards for determining which projects to fund besides being "shovel-ready within 90 days"? How can Congress balance the need to spend wisely with the imperative to spend quickly?
-- Lisa Caruso, NationalJournal.com