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House Republicans Must Be Joking

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Thomas Jefferson said, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” Certainly, our current unhappiness as a nation can be partially attributed to the fact that for at least the last 38 years we have allowed government at all levels in the United States to rack up enormous debt in the name of providing for the needs of the American people. The $400 billion national debt in 1971 has ballooned to well over $11 trillion today. Our national debt as a nation has gotten so bad that the ratio between debt and GDP will soon be one to one. Most sane Americans agree that the lunacy must end.

The President, however, doesn’t see things quite the same way. He has proposed a $3.5 trillion budget for fiscal year 2010. Besides being the largest budget proposal in the history of the republic, it is filled with items the President claims the American people need. You know — the same kinds of expenditures which have traditionally produced huge deficits and sent our total debt into the stratosphere — more for college loans, worker retraining, nutrition, health and housing programs.

But, this article is not about the President’s insane budget proposal. It is about the response to it by the opposition party, the so-called conservative party of the two major parties in the U.S., the Republican Party. This week, responding to a challenge by the President to propose cuts in his budget, the House GOP acquiesced and submitted their recommendations for lowering federal spending. They proposed spending cuts totaling $23 billion over the next five years. You heard right, spending cuts averaging $4.6 billion a year for the next five years. That amounts to one ten-thousandth of a percent of the total Obama budget! House Republicans must be joking.

Now, the Republicans, led by House GOP Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, are right to propose elimination of federal spending on building sidewalks and bike paths and hiring crossing guards. But, in a $3.5 trillion budget this is the best they can do? What about slashing the budgets of various federal departments by half? Take the Education Department for instance. It’s unconstitutional and doesn’t educate one kid. If we cut its budget by half, we could save another $23 billion a year. Then there are the extortionists over at the Transportation Department. $73 billion a year is given to this bureaucracy so they can take state funds, attach strings to them and send them back to the states as a gift to them to improve our highway structure. Why not let the states keep their own revenue and decide how best to spend it locally? We would save billions a year just in salaries. How about the Energy Department? Aren’t we still dependent on foreign oil? A slashing of fifty percent here would save $13 billion. Lastly, there is plenty to be cut at the Commerce Department. Do we really need a federal agency to promote American products abroad? Isn’t that what the weak dollar and advertising budgets are for? Obama’s budget has allocated $7.4 billion dollars to Commerce for the 2010 Decennial Census. If we could reduce the census to its original format, simply counting heads for congressional apportionment, and not bathrooms and outhouses on properties for God knows what, we could save billions. The total savings, just from cutting these few departments’ budgets in half, comes to $80 billion per year. Now we have a start toward fiscal solvency.

In any event, like the mantra that Obama represents real change, the idea that the current Republican Party would have the courage to do the rights things as the opposition party is a pipe dream. Eric Cantor, one of its leaders in the House, is emblematic of this. Cantor served in the House through the Bush years and voted for almost all big spending schemes. He consistently voted for Bush budgets which nearly doubled the national debt in eight years. He voted for Bush’s defense authorization bills, lavish federal department appropriations, the $150 billion stimulus bill of February 2008, and the $700 billion TARP (twice). It’s no wonder the best he could do was come up with a total amount of spending cuts that doesn’t even deserve the title “infinitesimal.”

Sadly, as our day of financial reckoning approaches there are still no real leaders in charge in Washington to put an end to the lunacy that is federal spending. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are more interested in helping their own cause than in doing what is right for the country. Ultimately, doing what is right for the country is what Americans really need.

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    My only disagreement with the article is in the suggestion that the Republicans in Congress must be joking.

    It seems unlikely to me that they (or the Democrats) are making jokes intentionally; our Masters in Government seem to leave any inherent sense of humor behind when they go to Washington. Presumably unintentional sick “jokes” do abound, however, because neither party appears to understand the functions of a tourniquet.

    Good article!

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bit late for a tourniquet. We ought to be looking at amputation.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Of their heads?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Comment # 3 — is that what they think with?

    Dan(Miller)

  • Baronius

    Meek budget-cutters when they’re out of power; bold spenders when they’re in power.

  • Clavos

    #4:

    When did they start thinking?

  • Bliffle

    The republican party abandoned their priciples many years ago when they embraced a Lust For Power as the supreme good.

    IMO, the Bush administration adopted a policy of spending the country so far into debt that any ensuing democrat administration would be hobbled. In the meantime, of course, they and their friends could pick up a lot of cash from liquidating the US treasury. Some might call it treason.

    Now they are chagrined that the dem administration isn’t folding, but rather, raising the ante.

    Words cannot express my utter contempt for the current republican party and their supporters, some of whom regularly appear here at BC full of excuses and alibis for the swine.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos-/ Christine Lakatos

    “Both the Democratic and Republican parties are more interested in helping their own cause than in doing what is right for the country.” I couldn’t agree more!

  • Bliffle

    Not even “their own cause” but merely their own wallets. Let’s face it, the aberrant laws and Supreme Court decisions that have over-empowered corporations includes outright bribery of politicians.

  • Bliffle

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

    Do you mean like going to war 10,000 miles away with a nation that has never attacked us and lacks the means to do so, and spending $2trillion on that unnecessary vanity war?

  • Clavos

    includes outright bribery of politicians.

    And you’re surprised.

    Why do you think they became politicians?

    Not why they should have, why they did.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Words cannot express my utter contempt for the current republican party and their supporters, some of whom regularly appear here at BC full of excuses and alibis for the swine.

    Bliffle, as usual you confuse the elected representatives with the body of the party itself. The grassroots of the party do not support the mercenary politicians who manipulate and buy their way into office. Every time you blame the errors of Bush or the excesses and weaknesses of Republicans in Congress on the party as a whole you remind us out here in the grassroots of the fact that we need to clean up the party, but even more of who the real enemies are, and why we’ve put up with inadequate representation for so long.

    I hate the politicians, but I have to hate the left even more for forcing us to promote the venal and the mediocre because their lack of principles will get them elected.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Bliffle, not $2 trillion. We’ve been over this before. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost under $1 trillion, about the cost of the TARP bailout or the ARRA stimulus. We spend about as much per year on the wars as we do on the old Health, Education, and Welfare Departments (Ed and HHS).

  • Bliffle

    You see, Dave, this is your problem: you’re not REALLY a conservative but just an anti-liberal.

    You can strive as much as you wish against the boogeyman leftists you invent, but it does not lead you to conservatism.

    But you’re not alone, as the stupid position of anti-liberal consumes most of the self-declared ‘conservatives’ who bloviate all over the landscape.

    So I suppose it’s comfortable for you to be among a fellowship of some kind, even if spurious.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Interesting diagnosis, Bliffle.
    But how would Dave’s thinking processes improve were he a true conservative?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Bliffle – just our of curiousity…when does it become at least partly the fault of the democrats? They’ve had control of congress for years now and the presidency for 6 months. Will it ALWAYS be W’s fault?

    I’m just wondering.

    I blame them all. I’ve actually gone to the polls in the past and voted against every incumbent. I’ve never voted a party line in my life.

    I like that…Republicans are full of excuses…drum roll please…what’s the number one democratic excuse for the problems of the world?

    W…W…W…W

    You guys are starting to stutter!

  • Baronius

    Andy, there are two differences between the D’s and R’s overspending. First, with the Republicans there is an element of hypocrisy. They know (or at least they say they know) that we need smaller government. Second, when a Republican overspends, there’s nowhere else to go. Actually, that’s not true. The best place to go is into the primaries, where Republicans can put up more fiscally-conservative candidates. But in reality, many Republicans switch their registration to Libertarian or independent. If only the party realized how many voters left them because the voters are more Republican than the party.

    BTW, that’s a good point about Congress. Congressional Republicans were fiscally conservative whenever Democrats are in the White House, but they loosen up when they hold the presidency. The Democrats in Congress will spend everything, every time.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    That is true Baronius, we’ve all come to expect the overspending from the dems, that’s usually what gets them elected, is that promise to spend. It’s not supposed to be that way with the less govt guys.

    I believe that a lot of people call themselves independant or libertarian because they don’t want to associate with either party, but I’d bet that more of them that use that term are or were republicans at one time or another.

  • M a rk

    50% cuts? Why not 75% or better yet, 99%?

  • M a rk

    …yeah, I know what you’re all thinking: even a government a hundredth the size of our present one would still be way too big. S let’s just shut it down altogether.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    For what little it may be worth, there was just a change in the New York State Senate, with the Republicans getting majority control. The article refers to it as a “coup.” Two Democrats

    sided with 30 Republicans on key votes to change the Senate’s leadership. They resisted entreaties by Democratic Senators surprised by the coup. . . .

    After Democratic senators attempted to adjourn the meeting and left the Senate, the Republican majority appointed a new rules committee, which met on the floor of the Senate to adopt a new set of rules distributed at that time. They said that all committee assignments and leadership positions announced under Smith would be revoked, with new appointments to come Wednesday.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Most Republicans are Democrats in disguise, which is why there is no loud outcry for the spending spree. They’ve all got their hands in the kitty, and why upset the apple cart if there’s some gold in there?

  • Bliffle

    Roger asks:

    “But how would Dave’s thinking processes improve were he a true conservative? ”

    Dave is articulate and has access to some good sources. If he abjured slights and attacks on ‘liberals’ for a month and articulated good sound conservative principles his articles would be much better.

    We need something to take BC out of this constant anti-leftist vs. anti-rightist mode that we keep going round and round in.

    As it is the articles, and especially the comments, are just the same old dreary accusations. Knee-jerk stuff.

  • Clavos

    bliff,

    We need something to take BC out of this constant anti-leftist vs. anti-rightist mode that we keep going round and round in.

    As it is the articles, and especially the comments, are just the same old dreary accusations. Knee-jerk stuff.

    Good points, but “physician, heal thyself.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    It is not true that all of the children in New York State have been invited to play in the legislative sandbox; only some of them.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Bliffle

    When in Rome…