January 05, 2005

For This We Elect Republicans...

Usual, reflexive, party-cheerleading has been canceled for this post. John Fund writes in OpinionJournal's Political Diary today, that House Republicans have decided to wait for a rainy day to cut spending.

On Monday, a group of conservative House Republicans tried to get their party's caucus to endorse tough rule changes that would have made it harder to increase federal spending. Many Republicans say they are concerned about the spending surge since President Bush took office, but apparently not so concerned as to actually put some muscle behind their rhetoric.

All but one of the budget changes offered by conservative House members were defeated in a meeting of the GOP caucus. Some of the defeated amendments would have required a three-fifths vote to increase entitlement spending; required a "rainy day fund" for emergency spending; required roll-call votes on bills costing more than $50 million and repealed a rule that allows automatic passage of a debt ceiling. Plans to let caucus members vote in secret on Monday may have backfired, since it allowed the pork barrellers to vote one way while talking another.

House leadership aides insist they still plan on tough measures to restrain spending but insist they will do it "our way," meaning taking on faith that this year's budget can be restrained by force of will alone. Consider this a thumb in the eye of the National Taxpayers Union, which strongly endorsed the rule changes. "What most taxpayers and even some avid followers of politics don't know is that Congress's own rules create significant incentives for higher levels of spending, and make it exceedingly difficult for lawmakers to maintain oversight of the massive federal budget," points out NTU Director of Government Affairs Paul Gessing.

Before you forward the Democrat Registration forms, though, I still have to vote for the people who at least talk about what I like. The GOP talks about shrinking government and fails -- the Ds talk of expanding government and deliver.

Join me and change it from the inside!

Posted by jk at January 5, 2005 11:26 AM

Despite this setback, Denny Hastert said yesterday that "the 109th will be a reform congress" and it was reported today that Dubya has allowed a summary of his SS reform plan to be made public - it calls for privatization (assetization) of two thirds of a worker's FICA tax. Hopefully this is not only two thirds of the worker's half, making it one third of the government's total take (and only one third of any self-employed worker's tax).

If two thirds of the total FICA tax goes into a private account for each worker, and only the remaining third stays in the Ponzi scheme, then I would endorse Alex's plan for that last third - but with the caveat that the tax must eventually sunset and there is NO benefit program for handicapped, disabled, etc. (Altruism by force is immoral and anti-American.) That being said, if it happens I will also eat Alex's neighbor's hat!

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2005 01:16 PM

I hope you're right about the 109th. Politically, it would be a huge setback to have House, Senate and White House all GOP and continue this profligacy.

I for one will be happy with an incremental step toward assetization. when people have a small nest-egg that is really theirs, they will want more.

If it is sunsetted, I will provide your choice of sauce for the hat...

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2005 02:39 PM
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