Tuesday, December 02, 2003

pinions of buddy don:
herd inny good publicans lately?

i've cummenced to wurryin bout my memry, so hep me out here. wusnt the publicans the ones that balanced the fedrull budget n the demcrats the ones that gut us into wars? seems lack thats how i member it. so has the two parties jes switched sides?

fergit bout the war fer a mint (it'll cum back aroun). tiz the ferdrull budget that has me perplexed. even the washington times wuz aware that sumthin out of whack wuz a'goin on:

  • Federal outlays jumped by $222 billion in President Bush's first two years, a spending increase that is expected to accelerate under the administration-backed $400 billion prescription-drug bill that is speeding through Congress."
  • in the same articull, they point this out: "Spending of all sorts is rising at a very rapid rate I figure that discretionary spending was up by more than 15 percent this year. That's a pretty good clip," said Robert Reischauer, former director of the Congressional Budget Office. Overall annual spending under Mr. Bush over the past two years has gone from $1.789 trillion in fiscal 2000 to $2.011 trillion in 2002, according to congressional budget officials.
  • so how big a jump is that? same articull gives ye the anser: But budget officials say those dollar amounts do not fully measure the growth in spending. They prefer to measure spending increases as a percentage of the total size of the economy, or its gross domestic product. In 2000, President Clinton's last year in office, total outlays accounted for 18.4 percent of the GDP. By 2002, the budget consumed 19.5 percent of the GDP.
  • kin it all be spendin on welfar n such? Democrats have been loudly complaining that domestic social welfare spending has been cut under the Bush administration. But congressional budget officials say that over the past two years such spending for education, job training, unemployment assistance, Medicare, Social Security, veterans benefits, food stamps and other "human resources" has risen from 11.5 percent of GDP to 12.7 percent.

thays a paper in lakeland florida name of the ledger that has a nuther articull on the same topick:

  • So much for the promise of smaller government. This year, for the first time since World War II, federal spending has topped $20,000 per household (in dollars, adjusted for inflation. Last week, The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group that monitors federal spending (and seeks to eliminate the deficit), said the first six months of this year have been "the most fiscally irresponsible in recent memory."
  • Even past defenders of Republican fiscal policy abandoned the party last week. The Wall Street Journal editorialized about it Nov. 24 under the heading "The Price of `Governance' ": "What was supposed to be an end-of-session triumph for the Republican Congress is turning into something of an embarrassment, if not a crackup. This tends to happen with a political party attempts to pass legislation inconsistent with what it claims are its limited government principles."
  • Faced with the prospect of expanded Medicare without genuine reform, The Journal finished by wishing Sen. Ted Kennedy success with a filibuster to block the Medicare bill and ended by adding, "It's all enough to make us long for the Washington gridlock of the 1990s."

the washington post also noticed that the budget seems to be out of control:

  • "The U.S. budget is out of control," the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs & Co. warned Friday in its weekly newsletter to clients.
  • In the final days of the congressional session, GOP leaders added billions of dollars to energy and Medicare bills to help persuade key factions to support the legislation. Overall, the energy bill would cost $33 billion and the Medicare bill $400 billion. Less noticed were congressional moves to expand veterans' benefits by $22 billion and increase spending on forest-thinning projects from $420 million a year to $760 million to ensure passage of forest legislation promoted by the White House. Lawmakers are also trying to extend 14 expiring tax cuts through 2004, at a cost to the Treasury of more than $7 billion.
  • All those actions come in the face of a federal budget deficit already projected to rise from a record $374 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 to close to or above $500 billion in the current fiscal year.

john f dickerson examines the topick fer CNN:

  • Much of that has gone to fighting the war on terrorism, but funds have also been spent on new benefits for veterans, subsidies for farmers and aid to low-performing schools and needy students. Pork-barrel spending is also on the rise. In the past two years, it has gone up 48%, according to one watchdog group, including millions of dollars in the farm bill that went to those infamous mohair subsidies, and politicians of both parties are quietly delighted that the public no longer seems to care.
  • Republican leaders insisted that the Federal Government should not use its bulk-purchasing power to demand low prices. Instead, the program will rely on pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate good deals; the companies will have more bargaining clout than senior citizens but far less than the Federal Government would have had. At the same time, provisions to ease restrictions on cheaper drugs from Canada and elsewhere were removed from the legislation.
  • For this and other reasons, the announced price tag hides the magnitude of the promises being put into law. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, director of the Congressional Budget Office, says the costs of the bill will jump in the second decade to between $1.3 trillion and $2 trillion. A gap in coverage means those with prescription bills between $2,250 and $5,100 get no relief.

the new york times had an articull called Broad Bills Stuffed With Lawmakers' Pet Items witch tells bout how sum of the money is bein spent:

  • A provision benefiting a specific hospital in Tennessee was added to the Medicare bill at the last minute in an effort to get the vote of Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., Democrat of Tennessee. The hospital was not named in the bill, but was described in terms that apply to only one hospital in the United States, the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. Mr. Ford's father, a former congressman, is a lobbyist for the hospital. In the end, Mr. Ford voted against the bill. Bush administration officials now say they will probably not provide any extra money, even though the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, is urging them to do so because the hospital is in his state.
  • The Medicare bill also increases payments for doctors in Alaska for a cancer treatment known as brachytherapy and for health maintenance organizations that have been dropping out of the Medicare market.
  • Data collected by The Chronicle of Higher Education shows that spending on pork barrel projects at colleges and universities topped $2 billion this year for the first time. In a recent report, the Democratic staff of the House Appropriations Committee said the number of projects designated for assistance under the health and education spending bill nearly quadrupled, to 1,850, in the last three years.

a los angeles times op-ed piece says most everthang in the hedline, Welfare Turns into a Suite Deal:

  • HMOs and PPOs will receive almost $80 billion in federal subsidies to administer the program. An estimated $139 billion in additional profits will flow directly to pharmaceutical companies. Rather than enabling Medicare to use its market power to bargain for cheaper drugs in classic capitalist fashion, the Medicare reform bill specifically prohibits such negotiations.
  • It also sets the bar so high for federal approval of safe and affordable drugs from Canada that it completely forecloses the free-market competition that might drive down U.S. drug prices by 50%.

so have ye herd frum inny good publicans lately, the kind that bleeves in keepin spendin under cuntrol? one wuz spotted, recently, name of john mccain. reuters wrote it up in a article called McCain Lashes Congress, Bush for Overspending:

  • McCain said Bush, who has never vetoed a spending bill, was in large part responsible for this year's spending levels exceeding prescribed caps of 4 percent growth, at a whopping 8 percent. "The president cannot say, as he has many times, that I am going to tell Congress to enforce some spending discipline and then not veto bills," McCain said.
  • We are laying a burden of debt on future generations of Americans. ... Any economist will tell you, you cannot have this level of debt, of increasing deficits without eventually it affecting interest rates and inflation," he added.

ye mite need to make sure ye dont lose yer overtime sos ye kin hep pay fer all the bills bein run up in our behalf.

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