View Full Version : Who is the Real Big Spender?
12-03-2003, 03:12 PM
FROM THIS PAST SUNDAY ON FOX NEWS
MR. SNOW: Senator, let's turn to one of your passions, which is pork barrel spending on Capitol Hill. In the Bush administration in three years, spending has gone up 21 percent -- that is non- discretionary domestic spending -- as compared to a 0.7-percent drop during the Clinton years, 13.6-percent increase in the Reagan years -- the point is, it's the most rapidly increasing budget, possibly in American history. I want to ask you what you would like to do about it, what do you intend to do about it?
SEN. MCCAIN: Well, we'll continue to try to block some of the -- to highlight the most egregious aspects of it, to urge the president to exercise his veto pen. He's got to do that to emphasize his seriousness. We had caps at 4-percent growth, and it's at least 8 percent just for this year. The numbers are astonishing. Congress is now spending money like a drunken sailor, and I've never known a sailor, drunk or sober, with the imagination that this Congress has. And one of the really disturbing -- one of the most disturbing aspects of this, Tony, is the earmarking, which is -- you know, you used to see -- when I first came to the Congress in the '80s, you'd see $100,000 here, $100,000 there. Now we're talking about billions -- billions.
Recently there was a chart published in "The Washington Post," where it's just up in the billions of dollars, and this energy bill, of course, there was no policy initiatives in the energy bill. It was just one pork-barrel project larded onto another to the point where we are subsidizing a Hooters.
MR. SNOW: Senator, let's explain what an earmark is -- that's where a member of Congress says, "This is my money. It's for this project, and therefore all discretion is out in terms of the agency that is in charge of administering that project."
Now, the president has never vetoed the spending bill. He has made a couple of threats. Do you think the president bears some responsibility for what's going on on Capitol Hill?
SEN. MCCAIN: Yes, because I think that the president cannot say, as he has many times, that, "I'm going to tell Congress to enforce some spending discipline," and then not veto bills. This energy bill -- I hate to keep going back to it, but it's kind of a classic example -- the administration originally supported an energy bill that would cost about 8 billion -- billion -- dollars. This one is up to $24 billion, and the administration is still saying it's one of its highest priorities. I don't know how you rationalize that.
But, look, with this latest Medicare prescription drug thing, which is now a $7 trillion unfunded mandated on top of a $13 trillion unfunded mandate, everybody agrees that Medicare is going to go broke. We are laying a burden of debt on future generations of Americans. A second point is, you cannot -- any economist will tell you, you cannot have this level of debt of increasing deficits without eventually it affecting interest rates and inflation. It's common sense, and that's what -- and those are the greatest enemies of middle income Americans and retired Americans.
MR. SNOW: Senator Daschle says he wants to reopen debate on Medicare for probably, not necessarily, the purposes you like. Would you like to see Republicans seize that to pare back the bill that just got passed and signed by the president?
SEN. MCCAIN: Oh, I'd like to see that, but you know that's not going to happen. We're going to move on. It's just -- it's so unfortunate because what we should have done, Tony, was take the poor American seniors and given them a discount card and say, "Here, go out and buy your prescription drugs." And then we should have reformed Medicare. We put in a new entitlement program that no American that I know of truly understands, and in the bill we did such incredible favors to the pharmaceutical companies. We banned Medicare from negotiating with the drug companies for lower prices for prescription drugs. The Veterans' Administration does it. The state Medicaid programs do it. And we also banned any reimportation from Canada. This was the greatest -- it wasn't an accident that the pharmaceutical stock went up $9 billion the day before we passed the bill.
MR. SNOW: All right. Senator John McCain, as always, thank you so much for joining us.
12-03-2003, 03:28 PM
12-03-2003, 03:31 PM
And before anyone accuses me of political bias [which I happily confess], this is a conversation between a right-wing "journalist" who worked in the Reagan and first Bush White House and a Republican Senator from the state of Arizona. And it's on FOX News. Enough said about that.
12-03-2003, 05:09 PM
Yeah, I was going to say how reliable can that be, it's a republican of Fox news. It must be all lies ;)
12-03-2003, 08:00 PM
Even the most right-wing op-ed page in the country, the Wall Street Journal, is turning on Mr Bush: POLITICAL CAPITAL
By ALAN MURRAY
Bush Seems to Lack
Will to Shift Course
To Correct a Deficit
Actor James Brolin, who starred in Sunday's CBS/Showtime movie "The Reagans," did a lousy job portraying former President Ronald Reagan. But then, Mr. Reagan is a hard act to get right -- as George W. Bush is now learning.
Mr. Brolin's portrayal was limp from the beginning. President Bush's version started out stronger, as he pushed tax cuts, spoke of clear distinctions between good and evil, and championed a strong defense.
But what's missing from President Bush's Reagan act is the ability to admit mistakes with grace, and to make mid-course corrections without sacrificing principles.
For President Reagan, the biggest mid-course correction on economic policy began just weeks after he celebrated passage of his tax cut in August of 1981. With new budget projections showing deficits headed into unexplored territory, the White House began that September to work on a package of tax increases and spending cuts to stem the red ink. The result was a $100 billion tax increase, combined with modest cuts in government entitlement programs, which passed Congress in the summer of 1982.
That was followed by an effort to bolster the financing of Social Security. Operating under the cover of a commission headed by now-Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, the Reagan team engineered a bipartisan agreement to reduce cost-of-living adjustments for senior citizens, to gradually raise the retirement age to 67, and to boost payroll taxes.
Neither law did much for Ronald Reagan's popularity; but both showed he was able and willing to push through tough measures when the circumstances demanded them.
President Bush now faces similarly daunting fiscal projections. "The U.S. budget is out of control," the economists at Goldman Sachs pronounced in a report last week. "The sharp shift from surplus to deficit in recent years is by far the biggest setback in 50 years, and it isn't over."
The report predicts the fiscal 2004 deficit will surpass $500 billion. And it offers no hope that growth alone can eliminate deficits in the future. "Any thoughts of relief ... are a pipe dream until political priorities adjust," the report concludes.
The nation, in other words, is overdue for a Reagan-style, mid-course correction. But Mr. Bush still shows no sign of adjusting his course.
Instead of tax increases, President Bush is pushing another round of tax cuts, this time back-loaded so that the budget effects can't be measured and won't be felt for more than a decade. Instead of reducing entitlements, he has just pushed through the biggest increase in Medicare in decades.
Increasingly, President Bush resembles not Ronald Reagan, but another GOP forbear: Richard Nixon.
At the end of his first term, Mr. Nixon brushed aside concerns about swelling deficits and an explosion in government spending, and pushed through Congress a $30 billion program of "revenue sharing" with states and cities. He also acquiesced to a 20% across-the-board increase in Social Security benefits. In his book "Presidential Economics," the late Herbert Stein, who served on the Nixon Council of Economic Advisers, tells how the president shocked his cabinet by telling them early in 1972 to go out and "spend more money."
"By many measures," Mr. Stein concluded, "the Nixon years were a period of retrogression from the conservative economic standpoint." Unless a midcourse correction comes soon, the same will be said of the Bush administration.
Presidents Nixon and Bush may turn out to be bookends to the conservative era, with their big-government drift simply reflecting the mood of the nation. The first governed at the end of a liberal era, when the nation wasn't yet ready for the small-government policies that he claimed to personally favor. The second governs at what may prove to be the end of a conservative era, and faces a nation that is not only troubled by war and a sluggish economy, but also fatigued from a quarter century of efforts to rein in the size and scope of government.
It is also possible that what really links Presidents Nixon and Bush is something else: an unbounded desire for a second term, even at the expense of taxpayers. Continuing to cut taxes and increase government spending in the face of runaway budget deficits isn't a good way to run the country. But it may still be a great way to win elections.
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I'll agree with you 100% Bush is a complete hypocrite when it comes to spending and it's gotten rediculous. He labeled Al Gore a 'big spender' but he seems to just love to spend beyond his means.
12-04-2003, 07:34 AM
"It's the same old song, but with a different beat"..................Oh, Uhh.......... just got lost for a second. Pork barrel legislation is a time honored tradition of All politicians and their respective parties. It is not the prerogative of either party!
12-04-2003, 09:23 AM
Originally posted by NamVet4
"It's the same old song, but with a different beat"..................Oh, Uhh.......... just got lost for a second. Pork barrel legislation is a time honored tradition of All politicians and their respective parties. It is not the prerogative of either party! Yes, but if you're not only spending, but also cutting taxes massively [mostly for the wealthy] and running up gigantic deficits as a consequence, then you are, in a very real sense, declaring war on the next generation. That is NOT business as usual. Even President Reagan, considered a saint of virtue and conservatism by the Republican party, knew there had to be limits to such mischief.
12-04-2003, 09:40 AM
President Bush is now asking Congress to hastily approve one of the biggest spending bills ever -- 820 billion dollars. Bush and his
people are also cutting lots of last-minute, back-room deals, doing favors for their friends who run huge corporations, at our expense.
Last-minute giveaways in this bill include:
- Rolling back rules requiring that people be paid for overtime. Eight million hard-working families count on these fair compensation rules.
- Allowing media giants to monopolize even more local media outlets than before. Companies like Fox that have bought more outlets than current law allows would now be allowed to keep them. In fact, this bill raises the limit just the amount that Fox needs.
Many of the bill's worst provisions have been inserted at the last
minute by top Republican negotiators. The final bill, more than 400 pages long, was first shared with Democrats the day they were leaving for Thanksgiving (Tues. Nov. 25th), in an obvious attempt to force an immediate vote, sight unseen.
Instead, Congress is returning for a special session next week. The House is expected to vote on it on Monday, December 8th. The Senate is being asked to approve it on Tuesday the 9th.
But as Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) said, "A legislator would have to have rocks in their head to agree to something they haven't yet read."
I couldn't agree more.
Especially when you consider that majorities in both houses of Congress have already rejected both the media ownership change and the overtime rollback.
Process aside, the spending itself is also outrageous. It's part of a long pattern of Bush spending billions of our tax dollars to reward his friends and campaign contributors, a pattern the Nobel prize-winning economist George Akerlof has described as "a form of looting."
I encourage you all to contact your Congressman and voice your displeasure at this attempted Looting byt this Evil man and his Evil administration ...........
12-04-2003, 10:16 AM
Soldiers will not patrol without the armor if they can get it. But as of now, there is not enough to go around. Going into the war in Iraq, the Army decided to outfit only dismounted combat soldiers with the plated vests, which cost about $1,500 each. But when Iraqi insurgents began ambushing convoys and killing clerks as well as combat troops, controversy erupted.
Last month, Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) and 102 other House members wrote to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to demand hearings on why the Pentagon had been unable to provide all U.S. service members in Iraq with the latest body armor. In the letter, the lawmakers cited reports that soldiers parents had been purchasing body armor with ceramic plates and sending it to their children in Iraq.
Do we need further proof that there are serious problems in the management of the war, the government and finances?
12-04-2003, 02:14 PM
That's a scandal, NamVet. I'm not surprised, though. Just disgusted.
12-05-2003, 10:08 AM
Paul Krugman writes (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/05/opinion/05KRUG.html?pagewanted=print&position=)
ne thing you have to say about George W. Bush: he's got a great sense of humor. At a recent fund-raiser, according to The Associated Press, he described eliminating weapons of mass destruction from Iraq and ensuring the solvency of Medicare as some of his administration's accomplishments.
Then came the punch line: "I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." He must have had them rolling in the aisles.
In the early months of the Bush administration, one often heard that "the grown-ups are back in charge." But if being a grown-up means planning for the future in fact, if it means anything beyond marital fidelity then this is the least grown-up administration in American history. It governs like there's no tomorrow.
Nothing in our national experience prepared us for the spectacle of a government launching a war, increasing farm subsidies and establishing an expensive new Medicare entitlement and not only failing to come up with a plan to pay for all this spending in the face of budget deficits, but cutting taxes at the same time.
Recent good economic news doesn't change the verdict. These aren't temporary measures aimed at getting the economy back on its feet; they're permanent drains on the budget. Serious estimates show a long-term budget gap, even with a recovery, of at least 25 percent of federal spending. That is, the federal government including Medicare, which Mr. Bush has given new responsibilities without new resources is nowhere near solvent.
What really makes me wonder whether this republic can be saved, however, is the downward spiral in governance, the hijacking of public policy by private interests.
The new Medicare bill is a huge subsidy for drug and insurance companies, coupled with a small benefit for retirees. In comparison, the energy bill which stalled last month, but will come back has a sort of purity: it barely even pretends to be anything other than corporate welfare. Did you hear about the subsidy that will help Shreveport get its first Hooters restaurant?
And it's not just legislation: hardly a day goes by without an administrative decision that just happens to confer huge benefits on favored corporations, at the public's expense. For example, last month the Internal Revenue Service dropped its efforts to crack down on the synfuel tax break a famously abused measure that was supposed to encourage the production of alternative fuels, but has ended up giving companies billions in tax credits for spraying coal with a bit of diesel oil. The I.R.S. denies charges by Bill Henck, one of its own lawyers, that it buckled under political pressure. Coincidentally, according to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Henck has suddenly found himself among the tiny minority of taxpayers facing an I.R.S. audit.
Awhile back, George Akerlof, the Nobel laureate in economics, described what's happening to public policy as "a form of looting." Some scoffed at the time, but now even publications like The Economist, which has consistently made excuses for the administration, are sounding the alarm.
12-08-2003, 12:17 PM
Here is some more Spending Fat on the Current Bill:
$50,000,000 to build an indoor rainforest in Iowa.
$2,000,000 for the First Tee Program, to get young people into golf.
$405,000 for industrial lubricants research in Iowa.
$338,000 for the Alabama Beef Connection.
$225,000 for the National Wild Turkey federation, a hunting concern.
$4,000,000 for the International Fertilizer Development Center.
$595,000,000 for Trilogy, an FBI information technology program.
$397,700,000 for prison buildings and facilities.
$6,000,000 for a Police Athletic League.
$30,000,000 for the Southwest Border Prosecutors Initiative.
$7,105,000 for construction of an international narcotics control
law enforcement academy in Roswell, NM.
Up to $120,000,000 for a classified Defense Department project.
$250,000 for the General Patton Museum of Cavalry & Armor, in Kentucky.
$225,000 for a shopping center in Adelanto, CA.
$500,000 for the "Exercise in Hard Choices" at the U. of Akron, which attempts to replicate House and Senate meetings in which congressional members review a budget, and vote to include or exclude various options.
12-08-2003, 12:23 PM
Spending fat? Half of those seem fine to me.
12-08-2003, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by RedskinsDave
Spending fat? Half of those seem fine to me. Virtually all that junk should be financed by state governments, if that is what they want. Let Iowa pay for its Iowa Rainforest project. What the hell am I [or you, Dave] doing paying for crap like that?
It's not getting better in Washington. It's getting worse. A lot worse.
12-08-2003, 03:49 PM
Money for more prisons to alleviate over-crowding is bad?Southwest Border Prosecutors Initiative? I bet if you lived in one of the four border states, you'd be for that one. FBI's Trilogy Program? You're happy with the antiquated system they use now that allows information and suspects to slip past them?
12-08-2003, 03:55 PM
No, I'm not in favor of more money for prisons. I think that's a sop to the right wing anti-drug nonsense and the left wing prison guards union, which just keeps getting bigger and bigger. If we treated every drug user the way we treat Rush Limbaugh [make fun of them if they are hypocrites, but not lock them up] we'd have plenty of room for all the rapists, murderers, and real criminals in the United States.
12-08-2003, 04:32 PM
No Thank you. The FBI has enough resources at it's disposal to monitor it's own citizens with. The Patriot Act took care of that for us....Now it's legally permissable to start a wire tap on someone who was convicted of Jaywalking in the interest of National Security. Gimme a break.
More money for Prisons? Spence summed up pretty nicely my thoughts on that issue.
The borders states can pay for their own crap. Certainly they benefit from all the Cheap and Available (let alone illegal) labor they get from accross the border.
If you want to pay for Youth Golf programs and Iowa Indoor rainforests, then be my guest, but don't use my money to do it.......
12-08-2003, 06:21 PM
So when the ACLU complains that prisoners are being mistreated because of the lack of space, you guys just say "tough dookie" right? If you really think that the only crimes committed by people in jail for drugs was drugs then you live in la la land.
The Patriot Act did not give the FBI the money needed to update their computer system. If you have a problem with the wire tap laws, don't break the law or complain to the Supreme Court. A nice attempt at a straw man argument there anyways.
12-08-2003, 10:03 PM
People in prison for using drugs should be let out and criminalization of drugs should end. The drug war has got to be the single most expensive and pointless government program in the history of the United States. We'd have plenty of room in prisons without those people incarcerated.
12-23-2003, 10:35 PM
The arguments for decriminalization are the maniacal ramblings of those who have been leaning left so far their brains have seeped out of thier ear!
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