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.