Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Pork Barrel Politics & "The Point"

Mark Hyman bemoans the spendthrift ways of Congress as it fails to individually pass 13 appropriations bills, paving the way for the usual remedy for budget impasses: an omnibus spending bill that’s vulnerable to pork barrel additions.

Hyman goes to great pains to suggest this is a bipartisan problem. At first blush, this sounds like a rare moment of principle, but we know better than to get our hopes up. The fact is that pork barrel spending of the sort Hyman decries has increased under Republican control of Congress. While they campaigned for fiscal responsibility in the mid 1990s, Republicans have blazed new trails in lining their own pockets have blazed new trails in lining their own pockets and those of their constituents as a means of holding on to power.

Even conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation have criticized this lack of discipline. With a Republican controlled Senate and House, along with a Republican administration, spending has gone through the roof. George W. Bush could use the threat of veto to keep things in line, but he’s been very much part of the problem. He, like his Republican colleagues, has learned that votes can be bought, and has given up any semblance of true “conservatism” for the sake of gaining popularity, winning votes, and maintaining power.

Hyman uses the issue to flame anti-Washington sentiment, but the problem isn’t the federal government itself. It’s who’s running it.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


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