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Bush Calls For Balanced Budget OR Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

January 4th, 2007 | by Ken Grandlund |

In a move worthy of Professor Marvel (aka The Wizard of Oz), President Bush is now calling for the new Democratic led Congress to join him in balancing the budget within five years. From a man who insists on ‘paying’ for his wars with money outside the normal budgeting process, who has jacked up the federal deficit to enormous levels, who has never vetoed a single spending bill, and who probably can’t even balance a simple checkbook, the call is laughable.

Of course, Bush won’t agree to rescind any of the tax cuts of the previous six years, nor does he seem ready to actually account for the costs his wars, but hey, we know that this call for a balanced budget is less about substance and more about PR anyhow. (You may not remember, but Bill Clinton passed a ‘balanced budget’ during his presidency, and his positive approval ratings at 65% at the end of his presidency are among the highest of former presidents. And that was after the whole stupid sex scandal thing.) Perhaps Bush is hoping to tie his ‘legacy’ to a new series of Look At What I Tried To Do’s instead of the Look At How Badly I Fucked Everything Up’s.

Of course, a balanced budget would be a good thing to accomplish, and maybe now that we’ve cleaned out some of the scum in Congress some headway can be made. Of primary importance is the removal of earmark spending, aka Pork Project Spending. Under veto-resistant Bush, earmark spending has ballooned from a mere (HA) 3000 projects in 1996 to over 15,800 in 2005. And while 2006 saw fewer specific earmark projects getting funded, the total bill for these special pork projects came in at a record $67 billion. In fact, according to the Congressional Research Office and Taxpayers for Common Sense, since 2000 (the beginning of the Shrub Presidency), nearly $237 Billion has been spent by politicians in pork projects for their home districts. And now the man wants to crack down on spending? What? Have all his benefactors been reimbursed for their investment in the GOP?

White House Budget Chief Rob Portman says we face a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Gee, I wonder what the White House is targeting for cuts to make their balanced budget a reality? Funding for the homeless? Education? Healthcare? Maybe we should finally close down all those pesky VA buildings too? And of course, that damn EPA can go, right along with the FDA and the entire science funding budget. See, with these guys, it’s not that we’re overspending on things, it’s that we’re spending them on the wrong things. Just think- if we didn’t have to pay for all those damn welfare queens, we wouldn’t have to pay for the war(s) off the books. We’d have the money right there!

As I say, a balanced budget is a great goal, and hopefully the new congress will do something serious about achieving one. But to believe that Bush is serious about a balanced budget is about as rational as believing that we are seeing progress in Iraq.

[tag]budget, Bush, politics, economy[/tag]

  1. 12 Responses to “Bush Calls For Balanced Budget OR Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain”

  2. By steve on Jan 4, 2007 | Reply

     Ken,

    Can you show the viewers here the increase on Federal Tax revenues since 2003?  Wasn’t 2005 a record for tax revenues brought in at  2.15 Trillion?  I wonder what 2006 is going to shape out to be.

    So why should Bush rescind tax cuts?

    Sounds to me like he’s gotta a spending problem, not a tax revenue problem.  Sound familiar?  Sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Remember when Davis wanted to raise taxes to bail our state out?  Remember Angelides campaign?  Remember how pissed the Teacher’s Union was when Schwarzenegger wouldn’t give them the money the state didn’t have?  Arnold won again because he bailed the state out without raising taxes, simple as that.  He cut spending. Oh and guess what, our state’s revenues are way up too.  Imagine that.  Why?  Because the economy has been good despite the increases in fuel costs, tragedies like Katrina, and a down turn in the housing market, all things blamed on Bush.

    No one blames Bush for keeping unemployment low.

    We’re fighting a war that Nancy and the gang ALL SIGNED UP for.  (well maybe not Nancy)  That’s what’s great about the Democrats running Senators out to run for President.  All voted for the war and it is gonna be fun to watch them squirm when asked about the war during the debate.

    But it’s like it always is, Bush’s fault.  Right?

  3. By christopher Radulich on Jan 4, 2007 | Reply

    So Steve

     You believe in deficit fiancing and want to pass the bill to our kids and grand kids. 

  4. By ken grandlund on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    well Steve, Arnold didn’t exactly get us out of any tight spots, budget wise. Remember the massive bond measure we all approved? that’s hardly balancing a budget or cutting spending. Also, CA is not analagous to the feds in this. In fact, spending isn’t really cut so much as slowed and there is a big difference there too. (and for the record, I voted for Arnold twice. Not so much because of his stellar performance bu trather to act as a bulwark against some of the most extreme leftists running around these, namely the CA legislators. Much in the same way that I supported an overriding democrat majority to stymie Bush. Despite being a progressive liberal leaning independent, I still will vote for an ‘R’ if they fit the bill better.)

    And borrowing on the future for needs of today is downright tyrannical- forcing individuals not yet even born to subsidy our poor planning without ever having an opportunity to speak? talk about an evil government plot. borrowing on the future may be acceptable for long life infrastructure projects, but not to pay for bad governance. please see the difference.

    As for unemployment being low, don’t forget about the folks who just plain ‘left the system’ and aren’t counted anymore. I don’t have those numbers, but anecdotally they have been increasing on Bush’s watch too. But don’t let reality slow you down here.

  5. By steve on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    “And borrowing on the future for needs of today is downright tyrannical- forcing individuals not yet even born to subsidy our poor planning without ever having an opportunity to speak?”

    Whoa there partner…  What’s the difference in what the President did to protect America (Now I know that is up to debate, but let’s say he did it to protect America for this argument)  and say, me borrowing to buy a house for my family, or buying a car or stashing money away for my kid’s education or spending the money for some risky surgery?

    The point is, anytime a head of the household or the head of the country makes a spending decision it may be unpopular.  Somebody is always going to be miffed.  If I told my wife for example, not to spend anything on her hobby, which can get up there because she collects comics and buys a lot on ebay, but then I turned around and bought a case a wine, which I do often, that she doesn’t drink, I gotta problem.  The problem is, I made myself happy but made her do something that made her unhappy.  Both purchases are frivilous yet we couldn’t in that hypothetical situtation do both and still have diapers for the boy.  The correct decision of course is compromise, which, Congress sort of did when they chose to go to war in Iraq.

    I find it funny though.  Bad governance is a matter of opinion.  Long life infrastructure projects can be bad governance too.  For example, I think mandating health care for all is bad governance of our country’s wealth.  Am I an idiot for saying that?  You might think that?  But I may think you’re an idiot for being against the war in Iraq.  See…  It goes both ways.  How many times has someone brought to Congress the want and need to drill in Alaska for oil, out in the middle of nowhere?  Every liberal in the country is against this but is it bad if that oil creates jobs, promotes commerce and makes our country a little more energy independent?

    Lastly, don’t question my reality, that comment is made to piss me off.  It had nothing to do with the argument.  I am quite aware of what reality is.  We look at it differently.  That’s what makes this country great.

     

  6. By ken grandlund on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    Steve- I was paraphrasing a quote from my blog-

     
    The Circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of men also; and as Government is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it. That which may be thought right and found convenient in one age may be thought wrong and inconvenient in another. In such cases, Who is to decide, the living or the dead?
    Rights of Man (Thomas Paine)

    It alludes to governments that create obligations which far outlive themselves, passing on debt to future generations who receive no vote in the debt nor any benefit from it.

    Basically, by long term infrastructure, I meant to imply transportation and communication highways and throughways, public facilities like hospitals, schools, fire stations and such, and things like dams, bridges, levies, etc. Health care, while something I think should be nationalized, should not be a deficit spending proposition necessarily. Some initial short term obligations would likely incur, but nothing that would take generations to pay off. It just takes some willingness and rationality and priortization of health over cash.

    And comparing one’s household spending to that of the national toil is hardly apples to apples. Your money is yours to do as you wish. The federal purse belongs to all and is not the president’s to toss about without the popular support of the people, something he clearly does not have at the present time.

    And you’re right about the ‘reality’ comment. Undeserved, even if I secretly think your reality view is kind of askew. I have found it to be un-askew (a word the President made up for me) at times as well. Apology offered.

  7. By Chris on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    Steve

    your comment

    Whoa there partner…  What’s the difference in what the President did to protect America (Now I know that is up to debate, but let’s say he did it to protect America for this argument)  and say, me borrowing to buy a house for my family, or buying a car or stashing money away for my kid’s education or spending the money for some risky surgery?

     

    So you think your kids and grand children should pay for your house and your car. You also think that you have the right to to expect them to pay for these things without asking them.

  8. By manapp99 on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    Bush can only SUBMIT a balanced budget. Congress is the branch that has to actually produce one. Since the last time we had a balanced budget we had a Republican congress, it is highly unlikely that his submited budget has a chance. And if true to form, the Democrat congress will increase the deficit which has been coming down faster than any projections (due in large part to the tax cuts stimulating the economy and increasing the tax revenues) by increasing spending, then blame the increasing deficit on Bush. Of course, all the left wing sheeple will suck up the Kool-Aid and regurgitate the lies fed to them by Pelosi and CO.

  9. By Paul Watson on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    manapp,

    And the last time you had a balanced budget, you had a Democrat President.

    So either the Republican Congress took a balanced budget and made it unbalanced or the Republican President didn’t submit one. Either way, it isn’t the Democrats’ fault.

  10. By manapp99 on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    Paul, you seem to forget that in 2001 we were in recession, then we had 9/11 which cost the US economy a trillion dollar hit. Then we went to war. These events will cause a hit to any econmy. The fact that we have rebounded as well as we have is remarkable. All done with a Republican congress and a Republican President. Government spending in the US is MOSTLY controlled by congress. Of course there is the contribution of the FED in setting monetary policy which has had noted effect on GDP as the rate cuts a few years back demonstrats. The sucess, of failure, of the economy and therefore government revenue is indeed a mixed bag, however I think that those of us out here in real life on both sides of the isle see the need for congress to reign in spending. Where to cut (or not increase) is the difference. The original post seems to deride the President for calling for a balanced budget. Submiting a budget that would come into balance in 5 years is the President calling for the congress, who writes the checks, to work towards making that happen. The President is right in his approach as he was in asking the congress to cut marginal income tax rates to stimulate the economy. Tax rates were cut and the economy was stimulated and revenues to the federal government increased as a result. He was right then and he is right now. It is improtant to note that the President is calling for making the tax rate cuts permanent to keep the economy growing and will be interesting if the Dems will understand the wisdom of this.

  11. By Chris on Jan 5, 2007 | Reply

    So Republicans have become the party of Spend and Borrow. They are now the party that advocates shirking of personnel responsiblity. Let some else pay the bills is their new motto.

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