Is sanity making a small comeback?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 Comments

We keep hearing from the Obama administration that the $410 billion omnibus spending bill now in the Senate is "last year's unfinished business" but the reality is that Bush wouldn't sign off on it so Pelosi held it until Obama took office. And Obama can't blame this one on Bush if he signs it, because it will be his signature on it, 8000+ earmarks and all, after he campaigned on "no earmarks." This "well, no earmarks NEXT year" just doesn't cut it as far as I'm concerned. I am not interested in funding pig odor research, and if the folks living near said pigs would like to, they are more than welcome to fund such research themselves.

So I was surprised and relieved to read this WSJ op-ed by Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, arguing in favor of rejecting the pork-laden omnibus bill.



Excerpts:

The Senate should reject this bill. If we do not, President Barack Obama should veto it.

The omnibus increases discretionary spending by 8% over last fiscal year's levels, dwarfing the rate of inflation across a broad swath of issues including agriculture, financial services, foreign relations, energy and water programs, and legislative branch operations. Such increases might be appropriate for a nation flush with cash or unconcerned with fiscal prudence, but America is neither.

...

Our nation's current fiscal imbalance is unprecedented, unsustainable and, if unaddressed, a major threat to our currency and our economic vitality. The national debt now exceeds $10 trillion. This is almost double what it was just eight years ago, and the debt is growing at a rate of about $1 million a minute.

Washington borrows from foreign creditors to fund its profligacy. The amount of U.S. debt held by countries such as China and Japan is at a historic high, with foreign investors holding half of America's publicly held debt. This dependence raises the specter that other nations will be able to influence our policies in ways antithetical to American interests. The more of our debt that foreign governments control, the more leverage they have on issues like trade, currency and national security. Massive debts owed to foreign creditors weaken our global influence, and threaten high inflation and steep tax increases for our children and grandchildren.

The solution going forward is to stop wasteful spending before it starts. Families and businesses are tightening their belts to make ends meet -- and Washington should too.

The omnibus debate is not merely a battle over last year's unfinished business, but the first indication of how we will shape our fiscal future. Spending should be held in check before taxes are raised, even on the wealthy. Most people are willing to do their duty by paying taxes, but they want to know that their money is going toward important priorities and won't be wasted.

...

[T]he bloated omnibus requires sacrifice from no one, least of all the government. It only exacerbates the problem and hastens the day of reckoning. Voters rightly demanded change in November's election, but this approach to spending represents business as usual in Washington, not the voters' mandate.


Mel at A Voice for Moms has a great post with more about the omnibus bill.

I hope the Senate and/or the President listen to reason. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the voters who wanted "change" weren't of the opinion that Bush didn't spend enough during his 8 years...

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