11.24.2003

DEBT'D

From the Republican Party Platform:

"We will not stop there, for we are also determined to protect Medicare and to pay down the national debt. Reducing that debt is both a sound policy goal and a moral imperative. Our families and most states are required to balance their budgets; it is reasonable to assume the federal government should do the same. Therefore, we reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget."

I guess that the Bush Republicans skipped that part of the memo. It definitely stands in stark constrast to the following article from the Washington Post:

As Congress rushes to conclude its 2003 session, Republican leaders are trying to garner votes for controversial legislation by loading the bills with billions of dollars in added costs that analysts said would expand the budget deficit for years to come. The year-end binge has alarmed analysts in Washington and on Wall Street, coming as it does after three years of presidential and congressional initiatives that have both substantially boosted government spending and shrunk its tax base.

All those actions come in the face of a federal budget deficit already projected to rise from a record $374 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 to close to or above $500 billion in the current fiscal year.
[...]
"The only thing I can tell you is evidently the word 'tomorrow' no longer exists in the vocabulary of otherwise responsible members of Congress," said Warren Rudman, a former New Hampshire Republican senator and long-standing budget hawk. "They are acting as if there is no tomorrow."

Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin said, "Our political system has simply lost its willingness to take the very difficult path of maintaining fiscal discipline."

Some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers expressed concern that the burgeoning deficit is happening under the watch of the Republican Party, which came to power in Washington preaching fiscal restraint and less government.



Another article from the Washington Post continues:

Way back before Republicans took over the House in 1995, GOP lawmakers pilloried Democrats for stuffing legislation with local projects that get little or no oversight but boost the popularity of the lawmakers who take credit for them.
[...]
But a rising tide of GOP spending on home-district projects is making those Democrats of yesteryear look like mere pikers of pork, according to a 15-page study just released by the minority staff of the House Appropriations Committee.

The study finds that the number of home-state projects earmarked in various bills has skyrocketed under the GOP, despite the party's rhetorical commitment to reining in a profligate federal government.



And all of this definitely fails to meet any of Bush's "promises" made during the 2000 Debates:

"This is a peaceful nation, and I intend to keep the peace. Spending money is one thing. But spending money without a strategic plan can oftentimes be wasted. First thing I'm going to do is ask the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan so we are making sure we're not spending our money on political projects, but on projects to make sure our soldiers are well-paid, well-housed, and have the best equipment in the world. "

"One of my promises is going to be Social Security reform, and you bet, we need to take a trillion dollars out of that $2.4 trillion surplus. Now remember, Social Security revenue exceeds expenses up until 2015. People are going to get paid. But if you're a younger worker, if you're younger, you better hope this country thinks differently, otherwise you're gonna be faced with huge payroll taxes or reduced benefits. And you bet we're gonna take a trillion dollars of your own money and let you invest it under safe guidelines so you get a better rate of return on the money than the paltry 2% that the federal government gets for you today. That's one of my promises. "

"When you total up all the federal spending [Gore] wants to do, it's the largest increase in federal spending in years. And there's just not going to be enough money. "

"It's a difference of opinion. [Gore] wants to grow the government and I trust you with your own money. I wish we could spend an hour talking about trusting people."


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