Sunday, September 25, 2005

Never enough to spend

posted by Rob at 4:46 PM

Yeah, Greg, you have a point. The federal government's wallet needs to be closed tighter than Lando's slacks, yet it keeps getting opened because:

1 - Few - in either party - want to spend less

2 - Since Bush came to office we have hit the deficit trifecta - war, recession and national emergency, of which Katrina and Rita can be classified.

First let's clarify our economic shape. As a percentage of overall GDP, the deficit remains lower than it was in the 1980s. The deficit was 3.6% of gross national product in 2004. Yes, that is the highest rate since 1993, but lower than most of the 1980s.

To further explain - in 1984 the federal government brought in (in millions) $666,486. Last year, federal revenue stood at (in millions) $1,880,070. So, in 20 years federal revenue grew three times in size, yet the deficit, by percentage of GDP, is lower.

Thus, our country's economic shape is better than it was twenty years ago, at least as measured in federal receipts. This is not to forgive the Jabba-like gluttony of politicos both red and blue, but to demonstrate that "our children's" shoulders are less burdened now than they were in the 1980s.

Yet, as you request Greg, "we should balance the books as quickly as possible." That's easy to demand, but difficult (for politicians) to do.

We have an administration and Republican-led Congress that will not suggest tax increases, because to do so will weaken their re-election chances. We have a Democrat opposition that will not suggest spending cuts (outside of Iraq) because to do so will - say it with me - weaken their re-election chances.

Many conservatives are upset with the Republicans now for their carefree spend, spend, spend attitude (see bill, highway). Yet it has been common the past few years to hear Democrats complain that not enough money is spent (see Behind, No Child Left; and Care, Medi).

And when the parties do see eye-to-eye, we get a trillion-dollar liability.

I agree with the quote you selected from our great first president, who at the time never conceived of a federal income tax, federal gas tax, federal phone bill tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax or any of the other hundreds of hands Uncle Sam sticks into hundreds of pockets.

With regard to cultivating peace, we never asked for war. The powers within Afghanistan attacked us. We fought back.

More than 15 years ago, the power within Iraq attacked a neighboring country. The international community forced that power back within its borders and attached a list of demands for peace. Those demands were never met. It was time they were.

Which now takes us into arguing over Iraq, which I have no time to do now.

UPDATE: Here's a nice summary of some conservative anger toward Bush and Republicans in Washington for spending money faster than an Ewok-driven speeder bike.


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