Budget battles loom around the corner

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

Granted, there were extraordinary circumstances after 9/11.

The country was in the early stages of a recession and 9/11 damaged not only the profitability of our airlines, but also slowed the overall economy. There was a need for tax cuts to stimulate the economy, and President Bush acted.

But, by granting the largest tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, the president did less to help the economy than he could have. And, once the decision was made to go to war in Iraq, the tax cuts were then the opposite of wise tax policy and should have been reversed for the top 1percent. They were not.

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As a result of these decisions this administration has created a “borrow and spend” mentality that has damaged the American economy since that time. Our national debt has increased over 50 percent during the Bush administration, adding $3.4 trillion to a debt that is now over $9 trillion dollars.

Additionally, even with the cost of the war “off the books” the deficit that had become a surplus soared once again due to tax cuts that did not produce enough revenue to replace the lost tax revenue.

The president, and the Republican party, ultimately compounded the damage done by these policies by wasteful spending. President Bush vetoed no spending bills … ever, until the Democrats took over Congress. And, while ignoring spending, he watched Republican earmarks triple the total earmark spending for the nation.

This spending, combined with no-bid war contracts, Iraqi re-construction corruption, and $9 billion lost by Bremmer in his management of Iraq, resulted in contributing greatly to the irresponsible fiscal management of this administration.

Today, the dollar has fallen to its lowest value level in our history as a result of our increasing debt, our economic weakness, and our poor balance of trade. Americans can buy less with a dollar than ever before.

Would you believe that the administration that brought about all of the events leading up to the fall of the dollar is now claiming that the Democrats in Congress are practicing “wasteful spending?”

The administration that never met a debt it could not increase is now threatening to veto all spending bills because Congress wants to fund social support programs that have been damaged by the recent Republican budgets.

Why can’t the S-CHIP program that provides access to affordable insurance to working moms and dads get funding? Because President Bush has decided that the best chance for Republicans to win the presidential election of 2008 is to campaign against the Democrats as wasteful spenders who will increase our taxes.

This is why he will jeopardize many needed programs and budgets over the next few weeks and months … to create a rhetorical pathway to allow Republicans to campaign on a platform of fiscal restraint.

Soon you will hear the Republican cry of “tax and spend” Democrats once again up to their old antics. But this time you will hear it from a party that spent more, wasted more, borrowed more, and corrupted more than any group of political pals in our history.

From the lips of those who brought us new deficits, incredible debt, and Iraqi waste that is criminal, from these folks you will hear about the wasteful spending that Democrats propose on children’s insurance, modestly expanding Head Start, and helping fund the HEAP program that provides heat to people who cannot pay.

Let the Republicans run on their deeds in 2008, they speak more honestly of their fiscal policies than does their rhetoric.

Mr. president, have you no shame?

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.