Monday, September 19, 2005

It Grows On Trees, Doesn't It? II

In a previous post I discussed what I feel is out of control federal spending. Economist Stephen Moore corroborates my concerns here.

The Bush Administration and Republican leaders in Congress have worked together to bring us levels of government spending that even Democrats would have blushed at a few years back. I was dumbfounded by comments made here by the Left’s favorite Congressional punching bag Tom DeLay (R-TX) about “Republicans hav[ing] done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.” A comedian could elicit all kinds of laughter simply by reading that statement to the audience.

Moore notes that the Katrina relief package is not only piled on top of our spending for Iraq, but “comes on the heels of a massive domestic spending build-up.” He adds that “Federal spending, not counting the war in Iraq, was growing by 7% this year, which came atop the 30% hike over Mr. Bush's first term.” Where is all that money coming from?

Is there anything wrong with spending money on Hurricane Katrina relief? Reasonable spending is to be expected. But is what we have done and are proposing reasonable? Moore calculates that it is so expansive “we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America.”

A number of proposals would have cut other nonessential spending to help defray the cost of the relief package, but Republican leaders in Congress prevented these measures from even coming to a vote in their haste to appear compassionate by expediting the passage of the spending bills.

Politicians from across this great country are “elbowing their way to the orgy table for a slice of this $200-billion pie.” Even Utah can cash in because it declared a disaster when it took in Katrina evacuees. The message from Utah is, “We’re so glad to sacrifice for these unfortunate souls – as long as we get some booty out of it.”

Moore asks the question that seems to be taboo to utter in the halls of Congress: “What is the appropriate and constitutional role here for the federal government?”(italics original) At the risk of being branded uncompassionate, I suggest that the appropriate federal role is far more limited than the way it is being carried out.

Moore is right when he says that “Both political parties are now willing and eager to spend tax dollars as if they were passing out goody-bags to grabby four-year-olds at a birthday party.” Reagan Republicans once argued for limited government. They castigated the “tax and spend” Democrats. Today, Republicans are all over the spend portion of that equation. They are reducing their ability to differentiate themselves from the Democrats.

3 comments:

Lysis said...
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Lysis said...

Dear Reach, I hope you would consider some thoughts.

1. Though it is, of course, impossible to prove, as thank God it didn’t happen; Bush’s “30%” spending increase is far less that the cost of the socialist situation that Gore and Kerry would have been pushing our nation into.

2. I would remind you that the “power of the purse” is in the hands of the Republican controlled Congress. Let’s place some blame and some demands on them!

3. Much of the increased government spending under Bush has been cause by the necessary expenses of paying for 9/11, the war against terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, and else were, and now a devastation caused by nature. Some expenditures are necessary. Look at it this way: If my son came to me to demand thousands of dollars for an apartment in Salt Lake for him and his friends to “hang out in”. I would justly and deny his request on the grounds that I do not have funds for such a venture – on the other hand if the same son came to me to request thousands of dollars for emergency surgery to restore his health or save his life – I would gladly supply the funds, even taking extra work or selling some valuable possessions, to obtain the money. For indeed, my son’s (familie’s) welfare is my whole purpose in earning money in the first place.

4. To Moore’s claim that we are giving $400,000 to each person in Louisiana – Most of that expense will be to rebuild the infrastructure – infrastructure which you, Reach, have admitted is vital to our entire nation. Think rather that are giving each “victim” a home and a highway.

5. Finally – To Moore’s implication on the nature of those asking for assistance. The peoples of Iraq and our own gulf states are not grabby four year olds; they are our friends and fellows who are suffering greatly from events beyond their own control. They deserve our help, not our scorn!

Reach Upward said...

Lysis, thanks for your comments. Please note that the 30% figure does not include spending for the War on Terror. I understand your apartment - surgery analogy, but if your son needed that surgery, surely you would have to cut spending elsewhere to make up for it. Our government should do no less. You have a point on the infrastructure matter, but the $400,000 figure does illustrate a point as well. Also, the grabby four-year-olds referenced are not the people needing help. They are the people everywhere else that come out of the woodwork wanting a piece of that Katrina relief pie though they really have nothing to do with it.