Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Some not so random thoughts on Congressional spending

Semi-buried in the front section of Sunday's Union-Tribune ran this story from the New York Times:

The fact that Congress remains a spending disagreement or two away from shutting down the government no doubt strikes some as remarkable. But there is another extraordinary aspect to the fiscal clash unfolding on Capitol Hill: earmarks have disappeared from the budgetary landscape.

It is still sinking in for both those who have lavished money on hometown projects and those who have spent years opposing earmarks that the pork-barrel spending that has driven so many appropriations measures through the House and Senate is, at least for now, at an end.

Even Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, who made battling earmarks a cornerstone of his Congressional career since his election in 1990, said he would not have predicted that Congress could kick the habit.

“Think of this fight we have had for 20 years,” Mr. Boehner said in a recent interview. “If somebody would have asked me, ‘Will you ever get there?’ I would have had my doubts.”

One of the more extraordinary developments in the sad, sad history of Congressional budgeting gets shoved to the back pages? What gives? Article goes on to report that because of the earmark ban, $2.8 billion was able to be scraped together to go towards the not-yet-agreed-upon continuing resolution.

And then there is this from The Liberator Today:

I think that American business would start investing and growing again if they could be assured that there would be no further tax increases and that the federal governments role would be stabilized. When you think of the Clinton and Reagan expansions, they were made possible due to a stabilization in the role of government, resulting in a predictable business climate. Clinton had help from Republican majorities, but when you think of the accomplishments of his administration, NAFTA, Welfare Reform, and a balanced budget, you would have thought we had elected a Republican to the White House.

Billy-Jeff, Billy-Jeff...

Funny how history works.

And speaking of historical, the current President, with his own Republican-controlled House, is missing his own opportunity by punting on entitlement reform.


steve said...

"think of the Clinton and Reagan expansions"

I have. Interest rates were very high early in Reagan's term. So was unemployment. Once interest rates stared dropping, businesses could afford to borrow and the economy boomed. The Clinton economy was largely a tech bubble, but the tax increases probably helped. :-)


K T Cat said...

At some point "no new taxes" and "no new regulations" won't work because the existing ones are sufficient to put a stop to new business enterprises.

Beware the notion that holding the line is good enough.