Wednesday, December 28, 2005

About the Budget, Part 2

During the Reagan Revolution, the goal was to cut the size of government and control the growth of spending. It was as perplexing then as it is now to understand how a reduction in the growth of a program could be deemed a “cut” in spending.

If $6 billion was spent on a specific re-occurring program in FY 2005 and it had seen 7% increases in the past, it has become expected to see an appropriation of $6.42 billion in FY 2006. If a reduction in growth were to take affect, the appropriation might be $6.3 billion dollars representing a 5% increase for the next fiscal year rather than the usual 7%. Either way the program received an increase - $300 million rather than $420 million.

What was frustrating to many conservatives at the time was that the liberal point of view reported the change as a “cut” in spending which afforded them the opportunity to decry the “mean spirited” changes as having a negative effect on the poor and disadvantage. In reality, the needy did see an increase in spending from one fiscal year to the next – it simply was not as large an increase as desired.

Senator Mike DeWine fell into the same pattern Wednesday as he was one of five Senators to vote against the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. His stated reasoning was “[t]his bill was, unfortunately, very detrimental to poor children with regard to health care.” He went on to cite cuts in funding for child support enforcement, foster care, and Medicaid health insurance for the poor.

In reality, the $30 billion reduction out of a projected $14.3 trillion (or $14,300 billion) in federal spending over the next five years amounts to less than one-half of one percent. And, it is only a one-half of one percent reduction in the current 5.4% rate of growth – not a cut from current spending levels.

If Senator DeWine was so concerned about the perception of “cuts” and the effects of the Deficit Reduction Act, why didn’t he speak out about the $3 billion in new special interest spending?

In the last two months, Senator DeWine has co-sponsored three new spending bills (one a long term entitlement program with unreported cost projections) with his colleagues (Kennedy, Durbin, and Schumer) without any hint or suggestion of a corresponding reduction in spending elsewhere. He has voted to increase the spending on two “bridges to nowhere” in Alaska before they were stricken from the Transportation Bill (but, the $500 million still goes to Alaska to spend on “other” transportation projects), and voted twice to keep “pork” buried in legislation rather than highlighting it in the Conference Reports.

It appears Senator DeWine, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, does not understand that Congress’s free spending binges are not without consequences. The short term budget deficits lead to long term debt which will burden our children and our children’s children.

It will be necessary and possible to explain to future generations that the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security required great financial resources. On the other hand, it will be quite difficult to explain to them that the debt burden they carry was created to build two “bridges to nowhere”, digital converter boxes for better TV reception, keep the price of milk constant, and the myriad of other items which fall under the category of wasteful spending. Congressional spending far, far removed from the Constitutional requirement of “common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”

William G. Pierce

Addendum: Highlights of the Budget Bill


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a republican for 30 years, I can't support Dewine any more. He has become a liberal and tree hugger.

Tue Jan 03, 05:50:00 PM EST  
Blogger PierceBlog said...

Mr. Pierce is an excellent conservative alternative to the status quo that Sen. DeWine has become. We look forward to your support in this campaign and hope to bring change to Washington.

Tue Jan 03, 07:33:00 PM EST  

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