Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hyman Doesn't Give G.O.P Credit It Deserves

In his comments about Congress’s penchant for pork barrel spending, Mark Hyman says “we’ve come to learn that Republicans in Congress are no better than Democrats when it comes to mismanaging the nation’s finances.”

Hyman’s not being fair to the G.O.P. In fact, Congressional
Republicans are far better at mismanaging the nation’s finances. Since Republicans assumed control of Congress in 1994, pork barrel projects funded by Congress has multiplied nearly ten fold.

Add to this the fact that Republicans, along with the president, have championed slashing taxes on the super rich (including a cynical ploy to tie a cut in the inheritance tax to a raise in the minimum wage), and you can see why we’ve gone from a record surplus to record deficits in five short years.

Chalking up this fiscal nightmare to pork barrel spending, however, is naïve. The
regressive, anti-middle class tax cuts have done far more harm, as has the mismanagement of big ticket budget outlays, such as defense spending.

And beyond that, there’s the Bush administration’s choice to invade Iraq, which is costing us lives of our soldiers, our respect around the world, and around $300 billion so far.

Hyman’s right that pork barrel spending has gotten ridiculous (
and in many cases, illegal), but to put things in perspective, all of the money Hyman labels as pork barrel spending is less than one-tenth of the money we’ve already spent on Iraq alone, and only equals 6% of the total tax cuts Bush has given the top 1% of income earners in America.

Republicans have charted new waters when it comes to profligate, self-interested spending on pet projects. But were that their only fault, it wouldn’t even register on the nation’s fiscal radar screen.

The underlying fiscal problems we face are based in three much more fundamental and deep rooted character traits of the Republicans in power: warmongering, giveaways to the super rich, and corruption.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.05


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