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October 06, 2005

Bush Supports Cutting The Budget... Rhetorically

He's calling upon Congress to reduce spending, apparently forgetting the Constitution empowers him with a veto.

And he's not being terribly specific. A laundry list of boondoggle pork, mentioning specific instances of wasteful spending in 30 or 40 different states, would help the cause tremdously.

Richard Nixon cut total discretionary spending by 15.2 percent, mostly by slashing defense spending almost a third. Over two terms, Ronald Reagan increased discretionary spending 15.3 percent, largely due to a 38 percent increase in defense spending. With the Cold War over, George Herbert Walker Bush's cuts to the defense budget allowed him to reduce total discretionary spending by 3.4 percent -- even as he goosed nondefense spending by a robust 13.9 percent. In his first term, Bill Clinton actually reduced total discretionary spending 8 percent; in his second term, he increased it a relatively modest 8.1 percent.

Then there's George W. Bush. In his first term, he increased total discretionary spending 35.1 percent and that percentage will actually rise: the final figures for fiscal 2005 aren't in yet, so we have to rely on the July OMB midsession review numbers. The final numbers will be significantly higher, especially since midsession figures do not take into account hundreds of billions in supplemental spending related to Hurricane Katrina and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How has the president spent so much? Defense spending has greatly increased, by 37.2 percent over four years. But the president also increased nondefense discretionary spending by a humongous 37 percent. Even when you subtract homeland security spending, Mr. Bush and Congress boosted nondefense discretionary spending by 23 percent during his first term.

Bill Clinton was a fiscal conservative; George W. Bush is a fiscal liberal.

And he's not going to stop until the party rises up to check him. Which isn't going to happen on the official DC level, because the Republican Congressional leadership is actually worse than Bush.

It's time to send a strong message:

Stop spending our money or we will sit out 2006.

The thing about an ultimatum, about walking away from a negotiation, is that you really have to be prepared to follow through. I think a lot of us are at that point.

Dr. Reo Symes Offers A Second Opinon: An idea that I've had as well--

One thing I think might help with Porkbusting and actually getting a 'pork list' acted on, is instituting something like tey do with that "Base Closure Committee."

You know, where an independent panel comes back to Congress with their recommendation and Congress can either say yea of nay, but they can't change the details. Congress handcuffs themselves like this cause they know, individually, they won't have the politcal willpower to back a closure in their home state (even if they know it needs to go) and that this way, they can actually get it done.

Anyway, seems the same mechanism would work on pork. I know "Pork" isn't as clear cut as a' no longer strategically necessary base,' but it might the only thing to counteract selfinterested politics.

I think that's about right. Have a group of anti-pork Congressmen and Senators draw up a big bill of all spending cuts, have the Congress vote on the whole list with no amendments or changes. Up or down.

People like the idea of getting "free money" from the government. But it's not free at all. What New Jersey is getting in "free money" is more than offset by what New Jerseyans are paying Wyomingans, Nevadans, Alaskans, and Mississippians in their own "free money."

Putting all this pork together to be excised from the budget in one vote may illustrate that fact dramatically. It's a lot easier to give up a "free" smoking area in a local airport when you see you're also buying "free" million-dollar highway reststops in Kalamazoo and "vital improvements" to the American Museum of Popcorn in DeMoines.



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posted by Ace at 03:13 PM

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