Third Party & Independents Archives

More of the Same

When the Democrats across the country ran for control of congress in 2006, they did so citing massive pork and overspending by the Republicans controlling the federal government. And they were right, the Republicans over the previous six years had spent us into more and more debts all the while making sure that as much money as they could get went back to their local communities in the form of pork projects.

Unfortunately, it appears that once they won election the Democratic leadership have decided that playing politics is more fun than tending the till.

In the current bill being debated concerning the funding of the Iraq war, the Democrats are pulling out all of the stops to get enough people on board so that they can add a deadline along with the funding. Of course, this is well within their right to do as the party in power. However, they apparently don't have enough votes for the bill on it's merits so they have gone to the tried and true method of gaining support: Cash. In fact, the spending bill is currently up to $21 billion dollars more than the President has asked for.

According to reporting by The Washington Post

For Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), there is $25 million for spinach growers hurt by last year's E. coli scare. For three conservative Democrats in Georgia, there is $75 million for peanut storage. For lawmakers from the bone-dry West, there is $500 million for wildfire suppression. An additional $120 million is earmarked for shrimp and Atlantic menhaden fishermen.

For more than a year, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R) has tried unsuccessfully to secure federal funds to prevent salt water from intruding on rice fields in his lowland Louisiana district. So it came as a surprise last week when Boustany found $15 million in the House's huge war spending bill for his rice farmers. He hadn't even asked that the bill include it.

So many people have expected more from this congress because of the promises they made to gain control. I wonder if the let down is worse for them who actually thought that this congress would be different than the previous since that expectation was there? Or will they be defended to the end by their supporters as having to play the game. Why, perhaps if they just has a BIGGER majority then they wouldn't have to play these games...

The news on the budget front isn't looking much better either, so far there appears to be no move to decrease the amount of money that the federal government spends each year. I'm not sure how they intend to start paying down the debt that is going to be crushing us soon, but it's going to be very hard to accomplish while spending more and more each year.

I often wonder who's more at fault though; those who get into office and find that they must play the game and get as much federal funds back to their local voters as they can, or the voters themselves who demand fiscal responsibility, just as long as they get their 'more than fair' share. We keep sending mostly the same kind of people to congress.

As Albert Einstein once said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Posted by Rhinehold at March 20, 2007 10:43 AM
Comments
Comment #212838

Chances are, if there is a deadline, spending for the war would end. Thus, more opportunity to cut the budget and spend that money to pay down the debt? This war is bankrupting the American people in more ways than one.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 20, 2007 11:15 AM
Comment #212840

So, you’re saying the ends justify the means?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 20, 2007 11:17 AM
Comment #212842

Rhinehold:

Like it or not, sometimes it does. I would rather pay those things now and end this costly war than carry it out indefinately. I don’t see how the American people, most of whom no longer support this war, should continue having to pay in perpetuity for it. The higher the debt gets the longer to pay it off. At the expense of Americans suffering? Why should we support Iraq before we support Americans? So, yes. At least in this case, in my opinion.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 20, 2007 11:20 AM
Comment #212847

Womanmarine,

Funny thing about politics is, that if enough publicity gets around about the pork, it becomes the reason to defeat the bill, or offer a different version.

Posted by: gergle at March 20, 2007 11:41 AM
Comment #212848

Ok, but here’s my problem. Don’t the Democrats have majority control? Why are they having to bribe (yes, that is what is going on) their own party members with billions of dollars of OUR tax money in order to get this passed?

Don’t you see the dilema here? The party is using our tax money to pay off other congressmen for something that they should have the power to do anyway. And if not, if they can’t make this happen without bribing other congressmen, then aren’t they failing at their jobs?

Heck, I can go into Washington and get everything I wanted if I had a blank check and lots of taxpayer money that hasn’t been collected yet to spend and I don’t think anyone would confuse me with a good representative…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 20, 2007 11:41 AM
Comment #212851

The whole thing is that Remer and his Void stuff was absolutely right. You have people there who are still on the old-school dole without change or any renewal. They bring back the bacon for their states and districts and we get stuffed with the bill.

HERE’S A FINE SOLUTION—the states with more pork pay higher FICA taxes—that’d cure things in a hurry wouldn’t it??? “VOID” WOULD BE IN FULL PLAY RIGHT THERE. They get the bill dropped right on themselves and the constituencies flip out—done!!! See ya’ in the local primaries..

Posted by: Gleep the chimp at March 20, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #212854

Rhinehold,

Unless the “children” in Washington begin to play well together, how much change can we actually expect?

Posted by: Rocky at March 20, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #212864

Rhinehold:

Somehow you expect the minimal majority Democrats to fix what it took Republicans how many years to mess up? And doing it the way Republicans did is somehow more wrong? This is only one budget, and of course it can’t be all corrected on the first try. I give up.

Posted by: womanmarine at March 20, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #212866

Rhinehold, Yeah, I saw this story on C-Span this morning.

You beat me to the punch on writing about the Dim-ocrat politicians, who are proving, yet again, that they are all talk and no walk, just like their Republican compadres, when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

Our economy cannot, and will not, stand up to many more years of this abuse by these Republocrats.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2007 1:15 PM
Comment #212867

Even Bush joined in the hypocrisy by asking Congress to pass a clean bill, but leave his Katrina spending in there. As if Katrina dollars had anything to do with Iraq/Afghanistan.

The deal is, this pork spending would never pass on an up or down vote in a bill on its own merits. To steal our taxdollars from their intended purposes, these clever fooligans ride the spending on the back of other bills, often anonymously lest the requester lose votes over it.

What utter hypocrisy and lack of discipline, responsibility, and principle for what is right and good for our nation and her people. A WHOLE lot more of these incumbents have to go, and keep going until enough new guys get the picture.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2007 1:23 PM
Comment #212868

Rhinehold,

“When the Democrats across the country ran for control of congress in 2006, they did so citing massive pork and overspending by the Republicans controlling the federal government.”

It was corruption and the debacle in Iraq.

“So many people have expected more from this congress because of the promises they made to gain control.”

You, Rhinehold, defender of the center right (I’m being kind here), thought Nancy(San Francisco values) Pelosi was going to govern to your liking?
Come on.
Feigning sadness at this invented betrayal to prove your point?
Priceless.

“So many people have expected more from this congress because of the promises they made to gain control. I wonder if the let down is worse for them who actually thought that this congress would be different than the previous since that expectation was there? “

You mean like the “Republican Contract With America?”
Remember the morally superior Gingrich? Delay?
You gotta be kidding right. We run campaign ads that are anti-Bush, anti-Iraq and anti-corruption, we take over Congress because of GOP total failure and you want to pretend Democrats have done anywhere near the damage the Republicans have done after standing on their “high-ground” platform of wholesome family value god loving goodness and lied to everyone of us and became the most corrupt, lazy, constitutional crushing, executive bowing lap dogs and yes men in recent history.
My rant is done:~/

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 20, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #212869

“minimal majority”

A 51% majority passes the same as a 99% majority. This is just another excuse to cover up the fact that the one thing we need in office isn’t there, some one educated in Economics or Fiscal Budgeting.

The dem excuse of time to fix is irrelevent when you consider that they already promised resolve and a final solution in 100 hours or less.

Now if they had said: “We will work diligently to form a plan over the next few years that will resolve all the current financial issues”, that would be a different story.

I think this just proves what so many of us were saying prior to the election:

“It doesn’t matter who has the majority”.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at March 20, 2007 1:26 PM
Comment #212872

“lied to everyone of us and became the most corrupt, lazy, constitutional crushing, executive bowing lap dogs and yes men in recent history.”

Those are the reason why the Rep. had office for so long to begin with. Now the Dem. will do it again, then the Rep. will do it again, then the Dem. again, then the Rep. again, then the Dem. again, and on and on and on.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at March 20, 2007 1:57 PM
Comment #212873

You know comparing Republicans to Democrats is kind of like comparing Hiroshima to the Black Plague.

Some would argue the plague for having killed a third of the world’s human population.

Some would argue the nuke for effecting more than just mammals.

When you really get down to it they are both not good. I wouldn’t to be hit by a nuke or suffer the plague. If I had to choose between the two, I wouldn’t bother, because I would be destined to horrors either way. I think it is hilarious when when can speak ill of one of the two major parties while supporting the other.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at March 20, 2007 2:02 PM
Comment #212878

Well Golly Gee, it’s business as usual up there in DC. I seem to remember a few of us telling y’all that it would be. But the party faithful wouldn’t listen. And they’re still not listening. Even with the proof staring them in the face they still insist that it will be.
“This is only one budget, and of course it can’t be all corrected on the first try”.
Give us a break. Of course it can’t all be corrected on the first try. But they aint even trying to correct it. And lame excuses like this by folks with partisan blinders on are why nothing is getting done.
Did the Republicans screw it up while they were in power? You bet your sweet bippy they did.
Did the Democrats promise to fix the mess the Republicans created? How do ya think they got in power?
Are the Democrats even pretending to fix thing? Not on your life.
The only thing they’re working on is trying to get a Democrat President elected in 08. to this end they’re wasting money that could go to a whole heap more useful things, like paying on the national debt, on useless investigations and hearings.
The very same thing that the Republicans did with Clinton.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 20, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #212880

Ron,

Blowjob vs. War, torture, abuse of executive power, spying on Americans, data mining, outing CIA agent, Halliburton, Katrina etc, Walter Reed etc.

You get the point.
If the Democrats have to pay with pork to get us out of Iraq,it sucks, but I’m all for greasing whatever palms we need to to get our soldiers outa there.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at March 20, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #212894
You get the point.

Actually, I don’t.

I get that you don’t care about deficit spending and bribing politicians with other people’s money in order to get your agenda through, but it seems to me that if it is bad for one party to do it should be bad for anyone to do.

The republicans used the opportunity they had in power the past few years to spend… well, like democrats. Now the democrats run on fiscal responsibility and ‘Pay-Go’ and get into office to completely let those who supported them in fixing the ship down.

I have seen nothing from this congress but political games as usual and no thought of principled stands. If they REALLY wanted the war to end and the soldiers home now, they would cut funding NOW. But they aren’t, they’re trying to find a way to do it while continuing to keep the issue at the forefront until the next election cycle in order to get a democrat elected president. That’s playing politics with soldier’s lives.

If they REALLY wanted to fix the deficit problem they inherited, they’d fix it by cutting spending. But they aren’t, because they want to grease as many palms with other people’s money as much as they can in order to gain and keep power.

The last 3 congresses, and to be honest a bunch before them, have been out for themselves, overspending and playing the political game. Unfortunately, I must say, this one appears to be doing More of the Same.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 20, 2007 4:27 PM
Comment #212903

Rhinehold,

As per usual you don’t see the forest through the trees. This is not business as usual, because the sums are nowhere near what Bush has spent. 25$ million for spinach growers? Bush is spending trillions of dollars on the war, and more than a billion for this small troop surge alone.

Some of the other additions to the bill are President Bush’s $93.4 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $900 million for troops suffering from brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. An additional $2.5 billion would go to strengthen training and readiness for forces not deployed in war zones, and $1.4 billion would go to address housing allowance shortfalls.

At the same time, the Pentagon said Tuesday it needs about $1 billion more to support Bush’s decision to send 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq. It also said it has decided against using the pending supplemental bill to procure combat and cargo aircraft, few if any of which could have been built in time to affect the war.

The $1 billion would support at least 4,000 additional support troops, Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England told the House Budget Committee. Up to a total of 7,000 support troops might needed, England said.

Really? And you’re bitching about the money being given to Katrina victims and American farmers and small business that were gutted and destroyed through no fault through disasters? The combined sum of all that money is less than anything Bush is funding by far.

It’s like a Republican lit up a cigar with a flaming hundred thousand dollar bill and you say - wow that’s bad. Then a Democrat gives a dollar to homeless guy and you’re ranting and raving about how it’s the same thing. Money to Katrina victims? Money to prevent future forest fire disasters? Yeah, they need it, and if it’s not attached to this bill it’s not going to happen. This money is a drop in the bucket compared to the vast resources Bush has squandered.

And, I agree with you. I don’t think we can afford to spend on anything until we pay down our debt.

But have you no sense of proportion? Have you no perspecive? Having read your posts I would say no.

Posted by: Max at March 20, 2007 5:06 PM
Comment #212904

I’m sorry, Max, but I think 21 billion dollars is a big deal. I’m not sure how it is ‘out of proportion’… Are you saying that we should allow this type of bribery to go on as long it isn’t too much?

This isn’t the budget. This is a war funding bill. If you want to fund these things that have nothing at all to do with the war, put it in other bills or the budget where it belongs so it can be voted on or against on their merits, not as a kickback to congressmen in order to get their votes.

This isn’t about proportion or perspective, it’s about principles. And I won’t be crass to suggest anything about you personally…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 20, 2007 5:15 PM
Comment #212908

Max

Dems will spend more than Republicans because they are hungier. It is going to get worse.

Re spending - some spending by government is caused by earlier government.

Forests are a good example. Properly thinned forests do not burn disasterously. Many people would pay to thin the forests. Government regulations prevent that. Forests burn and/or are eaten by beetles. We call it a natural disaster. It is not.

Similar with hurricanes. Government building projects create below sea level cities. Government subsidized insurance encourages growth in flood prone areas. Winds blow; water rises. We call it a natural disaster. It is not.

In these cases if the government does NOTHING we are better off. The best result is for government to facilitate letting the people take care of themselves.

Also if we just do not increase spending, the debt will decline. Revenues are at an all time high this year and they have reached the long term average of 18.5% of GDP.

The first principle is to do no harm.

Posted by: Jack at March 20, 2007 5:35 PM
Comment #212912

Heck, I can go into Washington and get everything I wanted if I had a blank check and lots of taxpayer money that hasn’t been collected yet to spend and I don’t think anyone would confuse me with a good representative…

Sounds good. You running? I bet it’s not quite that easy.

Posted by: gergle at March 20, 2007 5:53 PM
Comment #212914

Rhinehold,

My apologies, I didn’t mean to disparage you personally.

I think there is a difference between 21 billion and a 100 billion. Also, I think there is a difference between spending the money on Katrina victim’s, hungry children, etc. than burning it in this war. However, you are right, this is dirty politics and I don’t like it. There is a part of me though that thinks its about time the Democrats grew some balls and do whatever it takes to stop this senseless war. The Republicans did not shy away from dirtball tactics to get us into it.

Jack,

The Democrats could never spend what Bush has already spent, and there’s simply no money left. America will be tightening its belt for years to come. Democrats have been more fiscally responsible and created more wealth historically. If you had voted for Gore, you would have his lockbox and would have saved social security.

Posted by: Max at March 20, 2007 6:22 PM
Comment #212930

Andre
No I don’t get the point. Unless it’s your now defending the very same things you were condemning last year.
What it make it OK for the Democrats to spend like there’s no tomorrow if it wasn’t for the Republicans too. Is it because their Democrats and you are too? Or do you actually think that all the pork they’re putting in this bill really gonna get us out of Iraq?
There is NO REASON for pork for whatever excuse ya want to put with it. If the states want all the crap that’s in the pork laden bills let them pay for it themselves.
Be consistent, if your gonna condemn the Republicans for excessive spending. Blame the Democrats when they’re doing it too.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 20, 2007 8:35 PM
Comment #212938

Max

You cannot really believe that. There is no such thing as a lockbox. It is not possible, even in theory, for the USG to save money in this way. It can only lend and borrow money from itself. It is like you using money and leaving yourself an IOU. Al Gore was lying about this lockbox. He was counting on the weak minded credulity of many of his followers.

Tell me. How do you think this lock box thing would work? Where would the money go? Would the government just put it in the bank? Since the government issues the money, what does it mean if it puts some of that money in the bank?

Posted by: Jack at March 20, 2007 9:38 PM
Comment #212941

Jack, you are factually wrong. The Democrats budget is less than Bush’s. Not sure how long Democrats will hold to a decline in budget numbers, but, there’s is about .4 trillion less than Bush’s.

But, they could be doing far better than this. But, then, the same could be said of Republicans past fiscal performance. I never thought I would see the day, but, we appear to be poised for a Democratic President running on, and sticking to, fiscal conservative policy more faithfully than the GOP’s Presidential choice of 2000 and 2004.

Not that the difference will be spectacular. But, very likely significant.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2007 10:17 PM
Comment #212951

Jack,

Do you believe the bank keeps your money in it’s vault?

Posted by: gergle at March 21, 2007 1:16 AM
Comment #213218

Yes, Congress should do better.
Is the fact the the Repubs were so fiscally irresponsible an excuse to be almost (but not quite) as irresponsible?

The bad part is the Dems can still do very badly, but not quite as bad as the Repubs, and then say “we Dems didn’t spend and waste as much as the Repubs”.

And too many voters buy it.
So nothing really changes much.
It won’t be too long before all stops are gone and most in Congress are voting on massive pork-barrel, waste, graft and running up massive debt in no time at all.

And why not since it’s still the:

  • same teams

  • a few new players (90% of previous incumbents are still there)

  • same old game

  • each team simply taking turns being the IN-Party/OUT-Party while pressing problems grow in number and severity

Posted by: d.a.n at March 22, 2007 1:47 PM
Comment #213368

SIMPLE SOLUTION AGAIN: Make the citizens of the states making up the higher state spending pay more in federal taxes annually as it is their states in this feeding frenzy—ta-da!!! The senators and reps would be replaced instantly—done! Finis!

The problem is that we, as a nation, have to pay down this pork spending, why not the states who recieve it? Defecits will digress over time.

Posted by: Gleep at March 23, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #213393

How? Make Congress do anything?
Not likely until voters are more responsible too.

That won’t happen until the voters start feeling the inevitable pain of their own laziness and irresponsibility, and rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeatedly re-electing (i.e. 90% re-election rate).

That pain is already here for some (i.e. our military) and victims of severe government negligence.
However, consider the differences in compensation between victims of the 11-SEP-2001 and our troops dying and being maimed in Iraq.

Surviving family members of a lost family member 11-Sep-2001 get an average of $1,185,000 per person (ranging from a minimum of $250,000, up to $4.7 million).

However, if you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit (half of which is taxable) and $1,750 for burial costs, $833 a month (unless you re-marry), and $211 per month for each child under 18.

Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive little or nothing of a raise.

And Congress has voted themselves a raise 9 times between 1997 and 2007.
Congress persons only have to serve one term to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month (a hell of a lot more than those retiring from the military after decades of service).

Yet, for some reason, too many voters keep rewarding irresponsible incumbent politicians by repeated re-electing them.
Too many voters prefer to wallow in the partisan warfare, rather than admit THEIR own politicians of THEIR own party are irresponsible too. What does it matter who is more irresponsible when BOTH are truly pathetic?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 23, 2007 5:53 PM
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