Monday, September 19, 2005

Operation Cheapass

From the Washington Post:

House Republicans are looking at delaying some federal spending, including money for a prescription drug benefit under Medicare and thousands of highway projects, to offset the cost of rebuilding the Gulf Coast, a leading GOP fiscal conservative said Sunday.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said there is a need for dramatic spending cuts in “big-ticket items.”

However, Democrats appearing on Sunday news programs questioned how President Bush can trim the budget to pay for Katrina recovery and support tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Where is he going to find roughly half a trillion dollars over the next several years for Iraq and for Katrina?” Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., asked on “Late Edition” on CNN. “I think we’re not leveling with the American people.”

Raising taxes or not making permanent the president’s tax cuts is not the answer now, said Pence, head of the Republican Study Group, the spearhead group for the GOP’s most conservative members.

“We simply cannot break the bank of the federal budget,” Pence told ABC’s “This Week.”

“We simply can’t allow a catastrophe of nature to become a catastrophe of debt for our children and grandchildren,” he said.

The drug benefit program, set to begin Jan. 1, is expected to cost $40 billion a year. Last month President Bush signed a $286.4 billion highway bill that has been criticized for including about 6,000 projects added by lawmakers to benefit their districts and states.

Setting aside all of those additional highway projects and delaying the drug benefit by a year are expected to be among the proposals House Republicans are preparing for “Operation Offset” this week, Pence said.

“We need to rebuild,” he said. “We can find the cuts in Washington, D.C., to do that, I really believe that.”

Well, Mr. Pence, you should have thought of that before you cut all those taxes, now shouldn’t you?

To remind all of you who were in the Delta Quadrant until 2001, we had a budget surplus under the Clinton administration, and the rich people were doing just fine; building all those nice McMansions in Palm Beach and driving up the demand for SUV’s to feed their obsession with penises that seemed to capture the imagination of the rich and right-wing for eight years. But they pissed it all away with their self-serving tax cuts and self-inflicted war, leaving nothing behind for that rainy day, which inconveniently showed up while they were on vacation.

I actually hope that Mr. Pence tries to cut back on things like the Medicare drug benefit; he would make a dandy poster boy for the election of 2006, demonstrating once again the tin ear and Scrooge-like mentality of the far right when it comes to fiscal policy. Cut taxes for the rich? Sure! Help the poor pay for their prescription drugs? Hmmm, we’ll have to see about that; we have a deficit, you know.

I honestly think these people wouldn’t know irony if it bit them on the ass.