Wednesday, September 21, 2005

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.


At 11:54 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

Both pieces are spot on.

Let's start with the obvious: Iraq. How much more can we realistically sink into this quagmire without any viable exit strategy? Do we rebuild New Orleans or Baghdad? I don't think we can do both, and the critical difference is that the folks in New Orleans WANT their city to be rebuilt.

Personally, I would love to see taxes hold the line (who wouldn't?) but that may be a toughie.

Here's another one for the good of the order: Billions and billions(think of the late Dr. Carl Sagan's voice for effect) are out in government contracts already, and billions and billions more to come.

Halliburton stock has risen five percent between September 6 and the market close on September 20 (2 weeks) while the overall market has been relatively flat. (Ticker Symbol: HAL) Ya think Cheney is a happy person? That's just one example.

The late Sen. William Proxmire (D-WI, creator of the "Golden Fleece" Awards) would be having a field day with this. How many billions will be skimmed before it reaches the people who need it?

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Brian said...

I'm not sure the GOP was ever about prudence in fiscal matters. In rhetoric, perhaps. In practice, it was uneven at best. Some Repubilcan politicians truly were, most weren't.

At 6:14 AM, Blogger halfback jack said...

I think the term "prudence" for many GOP lawmakers is defined as protecting your own pork at the expense of the other person's pork. Especially if they are a democrat.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Brad said...

This is a viewpoint that many on the far right seem to be spouting, but very few are actually analyzing it and realizing how non-fiscally-conservative many of our conservative leaders are. Bravo!


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At 9:17 PM, Blogger Kirkrrt said...

Here is one plan from the left that I am hoping some politicians listen to.

Don't make tax cuts permanent.
Don't repeal the estate tax on estates over $10 million.
Raise taxes on the top 2% of incomes.

This plan should provide close to the $200 billion that may be needed to rebuild NOLA and not hurt 98% of Americans.


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