CONSERVATIVES GONE MAD (OR LIBERAL). What has happened to our supposedly conservative congress? They approved nearly $300 billion in new spending and tax breaks, then left town for a recess. This extravaganza includes money for graffiti eradication in the Bronx (doesn’t that violate some kind of historic preservation thing?), $277 million for Illinois road projects (this, coincidentally is the home state of Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert), and $200,000 for deer-avoidance in New York. How does the state that elects one of the president's biggest critics get so much pork? Expect a big defense spending bill in the fall, when recess is over.
Word has it that the same congressmen will vote for more tax cuts in the fall. This is not the way you do it at home, is it? Do you cut your income and increase your spending when you want to get ahead? Mr. Rogers says "can you spell deficit?"
A small number of congressmen realize this, and realize also that this is not the conservative way. Jeff Flake is a Republican representative from Arizona. He said "If you look at fiscal conservatism these days, it's in a sorry state." Flake voted against the $286.5 billion transportation bill, but only 7 other representatives did.
Congress exceeded its budget assumptions four times this year already, and they are not done yet. It has increased spending (through 2010) by roughly $2.2 billion above Congress's limits. It has added $115 billion to the budget deficit through the end of decade. It added $33 billion to the deficit just for 2006 alone. The projected deficit for this fiscal year is now $333 billion. That is $33,000,000,000.00. These are Republicans?
The highway bill is the most expensive public works legislation in U.S. history. It is 1,752 pages long. That is longer than a James Michener novel. It is also more expensive. It has 6,376 projects. This includes a $120 million bridge, again in Illinois. If you do not live in Illinois, you might think, why should I have to pay for their bridge? The answer is, the Speaker of the House is delivering it for his home state. Oink, Dennis, Oink.
All may not be well on the horizon for Republicans. If they think they are buying votes or favor in a big way, they may want to think again. Newt Gingrich warns Republicans the party's narrow victory in Tuesday's special election in Ohio shows that people are not happy with Republicans for several reasons. He says it should be a wake up call. Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, admitted the outcome was not what they wanted or expected.
How can the next Republican candidate campaign on Republican principles? The Congress is proving that the only difference in the parties is who gets the pork. Either way, the public should squeal like the stuck pig it is.