Thursday, May 12, 2005
Both Parties Guilty On Deficit
The Senate voted 76-22 Wednesday to defeat an attempt to rule that the $295 billion bill added to the federal deficit and thus violated budget rules.
This is not a "gotcha" post. Personally, I think the current deficit levels are irresponsible, but just as irresponsible are the claims by some that only Republicans are to blame. If the left won't hold the Democrats responsible for their actions regarding spending then the Democrats have no reason to stop spending. Can anyone on the left actually throw partisanship aside and condemn the vote of Democrats yesterday?
I'm sure some folks would, but not me. That's because I'm not condemning either side for spending extra money on roads and highways. Sometimes that kind of spending is necessary. Do you like to drive on highways that are pockmarked with pot holes? Or drive over bridges that are on the verge of collapse? Which highway projects in San Antonio would you eliminate so that Bush can meet his arbitrary spending limit?
No, the difference between Republicans and Democrats is not on the spending side, it's on the paying side. Democrats are the only ones willing to go to their constituents and tell them they need to help pay for these extra projects, while Republicans irresponsibly slash taxes for the wealthy and just allow the extra spending to accumulate as debt.
I think you are naive to think that if taxes are raised that Democrats will suddenlg keep spending within available revenue. They will do just what the Republicans are doing, justify the debt as a percentage of GDP, or claim to have a plan to lower it over a ten-year period; effectively passing the buck to the next crop of politicians who will also not want to cut spending. I realize my views put me at odds with many on the right, but until both sides hold the parties' feet to the fire on spending, any spending we can't pay for, they will go on doing it.
OK, here's an idea. Let's pull our troops out of Iraq in six months. That would save billions and billions. I don't support slashing spending on our troops while they are in the field, but I did not support sending them to Iraq in the first place. That would have saved over $300 billion right there and makes a few extra billion spent on highway funding seem like petty change.
And I obviously disagree that making the wealthy pay their fair share is punishing them. If they feel so put upon they can swap places with me anyday. Give me their income and I will happily pay more taxes.
Why is that naive? That is what happened during the Clinton years when we got our first balanced budget in decades.
If Republicans were consistent in actually slashing spending along with slashing taxes, I would be critical of them but I could not call them fiscally irresponsible. However, as you point out, they continue to spend as before and just put everything on credit.
I don't want to rehash the argument about if going into Iraq was right or not, but the financial cost of the 9/11 attacks were up around a trillion dollars. The money we are spending in Iraq now to change the Middle East is nothing compared to the cost of another 9/11 type attack. And no, I am not saying Iraq was involved in 9/11, but there can be no doubt that Iraqi Freedom is an integral part of the war on terror.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s Ronald D. Utt, the bill under consideration would direct as much as 40 percent of federal fuel-tax revenues toward projects that have little or nothing to do with highway improvements and additions. Two typical examples are a program to combat adolescent obesity, and funding for a magnetic-levitation demonstration.
After a recent tax cut in Massachusetts (cue Ripley's Believe It Or Not theme music), a provision was made in the bill to allow wealthy taxpayers to voluntarily continue to pay the higher rate. You can guess which 2004 presidential candidate and billionaire declined to pay the extra taxes...
Is it the same presidential candidate who promised over 100 days ago to release all his military records, and who claims to have delivered weapons to the communist Khmer Rouge?