03 October 2005

The "W" stands for "What, me worry?"

As I sit here preparing to drive across town in order to hand deliver a form so I can get reimbursed $40 for mileage I drove last month, I was reminded of something I read the other week:
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Friday ruled out raising taxes to pay for Gulf Coast reconstruction, saying other government spending must be cut. "You bet it will cost money, but I'm confident we can handle it," he said.

Bush spoke after his advisers warned that Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction costs will swell the national debt by $200 billion or beyond. "It's going to cost whatever it costs," he said. "We're going to be wise about the money we spend."

Bush did not put a price tag on the costs or say what government programs will be cut..."It means we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean that we maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes," he said.
However, just days earlier, the erstwhile majority leader, Tom DeLay, risked rotator cuff damage patting himself on the back making claims like this to the Moonie Times:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have 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.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."
And finally, from the NYT:
Despite those comments, many Republicans are increasingly edgy about the White House's push for a potentially open-ended recovery budget, worried that the president - in trying to regroup politically - was making expensive promises they would have to keep.

"We are not sure he knows what he is getting into," said one senior House Republican official who requested anonymity because of the potential consequences of publicly criticizing the administration. After years of alleged fat trimming (including, for example, Corps of Engineer projects involving certain levees), that's left "nobody able to come up with" further savings, can someone explain to me how this course for rebuilding is even remotely responsible, let alone "conservative?"
When $200M vanity bridges and highway projects are being signed off on with no problem, when, exactly, does the "be(ing) wise about the money we spend" begin? While I sweat getting $40 taken care of on my lunch hour, the president is preparing to shore up his crumbling presidency of reformulations, exaggerations, and lethal cronyism with money the rest of us earned. Whoever said it was spot on: far from stopping, when it comes to this administration, the buck doesn't even slow down.

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