Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Armey Rips GOP : On The Money

Dick Armey, who to me is reminiscent of when Family Guy was hilarious without being perverted [Mr. Griffin Goes To Washington], blasts the GOP in general and President Bush in particular on their outrageous spending since they have got control of the government. His Wall Street Journal op-ed minces no words, and... he's absolutely right:
Across the nation, wherever I go to speak with them, their refrain is the same: "I can't tell a dime's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats." Our base rightly expects Republicans to govern by the principles -- lower taxes, less government and more freedom -- that got them elected. Today, with Republicans controlling both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, there is a widening credibility gap between their political rhetoric and their public policies.
At the national level, where President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are presiding over the largest expansion of government since LBJ's Great Society, things are no better.
He gives some excellent examples as well:
Instead, we have embarrassing spectacles like the 2005 highway bill. Costing $295 billion, it is 35% larger than the last transportation bill, fueled by 6,371 earmarks doled out to favored political constituencies. By comparison, the 1987 highway bill was vetoed by Ronald Reagan for containing relatively few (152) earmarks [ed. i. e. It was vetoed for earmarks even though there were only 152]. Overall, even excluding defense and homeland security spending, the growth rate of discretionary spending adjusted for inflation is at a 40-year high.
And inflation itself is actually quite low, thanks to the tax cuts President Bush made in his first term. The economy is doing very well now - but it would be even better if the GOP-led House and the President would stop this ridiculous spending. A strong economy does not excuse large government expenditures.

All of our leaders are complicit in this spending spree. President Bush has yet to veto a single spending bill. The House leadership refuses to reign in appropriators, claiming, as one of them preposterously put it, that "there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget."

I have always believed that good policy is good politics for Republicans.
Conversely, when we let politics define our agenda, we get in trouble. The highway bill is one example, where the criterion of choice was politics. An even better example was 2003's expansion of Medicare to cover prescription drugs. This was an explicitly political effort to take health care "off the table" for the 2004 elections.
Armey points to a young, growing group of Congressmen who are finally (against the wishes of the GOP leadership) trying to stop the madness. There are some more excellent points at the end of the article, and it is extremely worthwhile to take the time to read it. Check it out.

One last line by Armey:
When we act like us, we win. When we act like them, we lose.
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