Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Trickle Down Fiscal Restraint?

"The rumblings are beginning to be heard a little bit more, on the radio talk shows," said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. "They really don't blame the president for the increases in the deficit. They know it's the Congress that is doing the spending, especially the Senate" where Republicans have a one-vote majority.
The administration has increased spending in several high-visibility, politically sensitive areas, including the Department of Education, though the increase there was $10 billion less than the Democrats wanted.
Mr. Bush also has raised spending for veterans benefits, medical research and a multitude of homeland defense programs to combat terrorism.
Democrats maintain that under the Clinton administration spending was kept under control and that this helped produce the sizeable surpluses in the last half of the Clinton years. Total outlays fell under Mr. Clinton, from 22.2 percent of the GDP to 18.4 percent of the GDP in 2000.
But Republican Budget Committee officials say that one of the biggest reasons for that was the sharp decrease in defense spending during the Clinton years.
Still, administration supporters on Capitol Hill argue that Mr. Bush's $1.7 trillion in tax cuts will reduce the expected flow of federal revenues and thus eventually slow the rate of spending over the coming years — as happened during the Reagan administration.
"The bottom line is that the Republicans and the administration have created a situation where the government does face future revenue constraints that will ultimately translate into spending restraints," a House Republican budget analyst said.

When Joe Citizen engages in this kind of spending restraint they call it “bankruptcy.” I guess an alcoholic might reason that if he drinks everything now, he won’t be able to get drunk later. Of course, Republicans aren’t to blame. They just control the White House, the House and the Senate, but the latter only by one vote, not counting Zell Miller. I guess the implication is that they haven’t managed things well because merely controlling every branch of government isn’t enough. They want more! Power addiction. Funny thing about addiction. Nothing is ever enough and someone else is always to blame for your failures.

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