Saturday, September 17, 2005

Katrina Clean-Up

From what I've read, Bush said we're going to rebuild New Orleans during his speech last week. While a bad investment, there is something to be said for the sentimental value of the Big Easy, so I'll refrain from complaining, for now.

As long as the money spent is somehow made up, I'm not going to raise a whisper. There are plenty of government programs to cut, and if the feds need a hand at discerning which to choose, I will offer my services free of charge. Alternatively, Bush could raise taxes. This would solve the revenue problem, although the last thing he needs is another drop in his approval ratings.

So what is Bush going to do?

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.

"It's going to cost whatever it's going to cost, and we're going to be wise about the money we spend," Bush said a day after laying out an expensive plan for rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast without spelling out how he would pay for it.

Years ago, when I was a naive Republican, I would have believed him. This is the same Bush who has a vice-president named Cheney. It was Cheney who said that, "deficits don't matter" and then went on to show that not enough people care to prove him wrong. Looks like the deficit gets bigger again, as we all know Bush is not going to cut spending. I bet the Chinese are stoked.

Bush said it's important that government quickly fix the region's infrastructure to give people hope. Asked who would pay for the work and how it would impact the nation's rising debt, Bush said he was confident the United States could pay for reconstruction "and our other priorities."

He said that means "cutting unnecessary spending" and maintaining economic growth, "which means we should not raise taxes."

Someone please tell Mr. Bush he cannot have his cake and eat it too. One cannot play empire, cut taxes, and increase domestic spending. Even FDR knew that, as social spending fell during World War II. With respects to fiscal responsiblity, Bush is closer to Johnson than Reagan.

It is high time we stop this nonsense about Bush being conservative. He is a liberal, who loves to spend more money than the government has. Even Clinton balanced the budget.

Perhaps I am judging Mr. Bush too harshly. He could, in fact, cut spending to raise money for New Orleans. The trouble is, his record precedes him. And that record is nothing, if not worrisome.


troutsky said...

I would be curious to know your recomendations for spending cuts. And just how you define fiscally conservative. I wish I had the figures handy (because I am to busy right now to go researching) but military spending is a vast slice of the budget pie, would you cut there? Reagan,your example of fiscal responsibility, presided over a giant increase in military spending and I would argue that it was at the expense of needed investments in national infrastructure, both physical and social and so was neither prudent nor conservative.

At issue here ,again, is the conservative dislike of government. By starving the government of revenue they are unable to invest wisely ( spending which is smart)at the same time their global ambitions and crony capitalism (corporate welfare) is draining the treasury.Will it cause a collapse? Us Marxists can only wait and hope. Liberals ,Libertarians, and conservatives seem to have no solutions but perhaps you can suggest some.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

The more I look at Reagan, the more I am convinced he wasn't all that conservative. Right-wingers typically blame this on the Democrat party's control of the senate. I actually just think we haven't had a very conservative fellow in office since Coolidge, or perhaps Eisenhower.

Now, for spending cuts... First, I would cut defense immensely. I would start to bring our troops home from around the world (Germany, the Balkans, South Korea, etc., etc.). It is important to have a military force in case we are invaded, but the force can be small if well-trained.

I would also cut socialist security--perhaps phasing it out slowly--as well as medicare and medicaid--again, phasing them out. These would be left to the states to fund, if they wised. I would also cut education, again, reserving it to the states.

Basically, the feds should have so little to oversee they couldn't possibly abuse their power because they haven't gotten any. It would behoove us--I think--to go back almost to the days of the Articles of Confederation, though the feds would have a bit more power than that.

This is, to be sure, naively idealistic. I am sure some of the cuts would probably work poorly. Still, it is clear that the government needs restructuring and a little less irresponsible spending couldn't hurt them. Or us.