It is no coincidence that when earmarks were done away with Congress ceased to function as legislative body in any way.
Earmarks were the poker chips that allowed negotiations. Granted that sometimes the earmarks were egregious like the Alaskan “bridge to nowhere”, but those could have been addressed specifically and on their merit. Instead, earmarks were done away with in their entirety. Can you imagine trying to trade with someone when neither of you has anything with which to trade or barter? You would each make your initial offer and that would be it. No negotiating on price or additional add ons to make the deal acceptable to both sides.
If you want to end Government gridlock, allow earmarks and a way to deal with the most egregious. In the case of the “bridege to nowhere”, The publication of the deal was enough to end it.
The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats or Republicans or Independents or the talking heads looking at this?