Katrina Cleanup: Who's Gonna Pay for It?
It used to be that Republicans were always the ones wondering how some great idea would be paid for. They weren't interested in just doling out money, but they wanted to spend money wisely.
As I said, it used to be that way, but not anymore. While the President should be commended for putting some ideas on the table on how to best help the Gulf Coast recover, he gets jeers for not being specific on how to pay for this $200 billion plan. We do know he won't raise taxes for it, and I'm pretty sure that he will again borrow heavily to do this.
How to pay for the the recovery is becoming an issue among Republicans. Senate Republicans are dismayed at the White House for not giving specifics on how to pay this bill. As the Washington Post notes:
Congressional Republicans are not arguing with Bush's pledge that the federal government will lead the Louisiana and Mississippi recovery. But they are insisting that the massive cost -- as much as $200 billion -- be paid for. Conservatives are calling for spending cuts to existing programs, a few GOP moderates are entertaining the possibility of a tax increase, and many in the middle want to freeze Bush tax cuts that have yet to take effect.
The article goes on to say that the White House is trying to pacify congressional Republicans by saying that they will put off for now such ideas as repealing the estate tax (called the "death tax" by conservatives) and making the tax cuts passed in the president's first term permanent. That doesn't please House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas who thinks that it's wrong to wait on such issues.
I agree with my fellow blogger, Jeremy at Charging RINO who thinks it's high time to be having a debate on fiscal policy within the party. I'm also glad that there are some leaders who are considering raising tax or at least feezing tax cuts. We need to hear more talk from our leaders about shared sacrifice, something that is missing in all the rhetoric from the White House.
It's sad that the President and Congress can fly back to Washington to try to save the life of a brain-dead woman, but can't get upset about our fiscal situation. it's a shame that Tom Delay, who also got his panties in a bunch over said woman, seems more concerned about low taxes right now than about how to rebuild a large American city that has been effectively shut down.
Republicans used to be about prudence in financial matters. They were fiscal conservatives. But these days, what's important is fighting against those evil homosexuals and not about balancing the national checkbook.
I hope that this debate can bring the GOP back to being a party of fiscal conservatism again. It's about damn time.
By the way, Slate has a good piece on the state of fiscal conservatives. It's worth a read.