Money matters

I quickly wanted to touch on a couple of money matters.

First, you may recall the absolute horror Americans experienced a few years ago when they heard about the size of the national debt. We were so broken in many people’s minds that there seemed to very little separating us from a Zimbabwe scenario with total financial collapse, a buy-out by a consortium of Japanese and Saudi investors, the total debt servitude of our young ‘uns for generations to come, and the real and true end of welfare as we know it.

I have a surprise for the doomsayers. So far, that hasn’t happened.  That didn’t happen. Indeed, despite the way MSM members, especially Paul Krugman, constantly malign the President and Republicans on our economy, despite 9/11, and despite a 4 year war, we’re at least doing great when it comes to national deficit debt. Yup, I said great! I mean, how else would you describe the fact that the annual deficit national debt has dropped by more than 50% since 2004. Don’t believe me? Read this. (H/t: Richard Baehr.) Amusingly, faced with these stunning numbers, Democrats immediately responded that the numbers were meaningless, because they’d be eaten up in coming years by all the entitlement programs Democrats refuse either to revamp or defund.

Nor does it appear that the self-styled “blue dog”Dems, those who claimed to be fiscally conservative, will be helpful in keeping the “other” Democrats from destroying the economic benefits Bush’s stewardship has seen. For all their posturing, they’re just as bad as other Democrats (and, to be honest, as bad as the many spendthrift Republicans) in Congress:

A high-stakes budget showdown is shaping up this fall between President Bush and Congressional Democrats. The debate will also be a moment of truth for the so-called “blue dog” Democrats: the 48 self-described fiscal conservatives in the House Democratic Caucus.

The bone of contention is the $22 billion in domestic spending that Democrats passed in their budget resolution above what Mr. Bush requested in his own budget. The Democratic spending plan would increase non-defense expenditures by 6.5% next year–more than double the inflation rate. The White House is threatening vetoes if Democrats pass spending bills above Mr. Bush’s limit, which could possibly lead to a government shutdown. Republicans have already lined up the necessary House votes to sustain any spending veto.

The blue dog Web site boasts that its mission is to “refocus Congress on balancing the budget and ridding taxpayers of the burden of debt.” If a balanced budget is what they want, the best fiscal option would be to enact what is called a “continuing resolution” budget that would fund all programs at last year’s level plus 1% or 2%. Along with rising tax revenues, this could cut the budget deficit roughly in half next year, to well under $100 billion. But Republicans can’t do that on their own: they need the votes of these moderate Democrats.

Here’s the rub: So far this year the blue dogs have been almost all bark when it comes to fiscal restraint and debt reduction. Thirty of the 48 have voted for every one of the non-defense spending bills their committee chairman have sent them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is enforcing party discipline, and as a result 28 of the 48 blue dogs voted “no” on each of the 27 amendments that Republicans proposed to cut the costs of these bills. The 13 freshman Democrats who represent conservative districts–such as Heath Shuler (N.C.), Baron Hill (Ind.), Zack Space (Ohio), Nick Lampson (Texas)–have been a particular disappointment; back home these same blue dogs trumpet their “independent streak.”

(Read the rest here.)

I wonder if these Blue Dog Dems’ constituents, who presumably voted for them based on their trumpeted fiscal conservatism, have caught onto the little game of bait and switch that was practiced on them before, during and after the election.


5 Responses

  1. I think you’re confusing two different concepts. It’s true that the annual deficit is shrinking, but the total debt gets larger every year:

  2. You’re right. I’ll correct.

  3. The debt is also a function of the trade deficit. Which means CHina.

    It would make things easier for American jobs and manufacturers if China were to play fair instead of cheating. However, the Left wants China to cheat for it allows them to create protectionist barriers, which protect Big Business. Kennedy’s business if nothing else.

    As a function of spending, socialism and other such benefits far exceed defense spending. Having more wars does little to the national economy except produce stronger military towns and military contractors. Having the Left in power, though, is something else entirely.

  4. Also, have you considered the effect of “off the books” expenses, where we spend the money and just don’t count it? Does anyone know how much this amounts to each year?

  5. Throughout this unprecedented, near-decade long economic expanion, we are STILL running massive yearly deficits. Common sense would indicate that we ought to be able to decrease the national deficit in times of economic boom. However, even now, though the rate of increase has slowed, it still increases. As a fiscal conservative, I remain certain that this is a road to national ruin.

    The Republicans are now controlled by that faction within the party that is perfectly comfortable with huge government spending, and huge deficits, as long as the money is spent on those things that they approve of. Big government Republicanism is not my home. I have no political home, any longer.

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