Thursday, September 22, 2005

GOP House Leader Says There's No Room to Cut Federal Budget

This came in my recent Liberator Online newsletter from the Advocates for Self-Government. If you haven't been there, go already - they're one of the best libertarian grass-roots organizations out there.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) wins, hands-down, the award for the single most mind-bogglingly absurd political comment of recent weeks (if not years).

Fiscal conservatives have expressed alarm over the Bush administration's proposal to spend
anywhere from $60 billion to $200 billion or more in New Orleans disaster relief. Many argue that this money should at least be raised by cutting unnecessary federal spending, rather than by still more deficit spending.

But that's just not possible, countered Rep. DeLay in a press conference after the president's proposal. Get this: DeLay said that Republicans have done such a stellar job of slashing federal spending during the past decade that there simply is no place left in the federal budget where further cuts are possible. (No, he wasn't joking.) According to DeLay, the GOP has won an "ongoing victory" against wasteful federal spending.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters. "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared [the federal budget] down pretty good."
The GOP House Leader's comments stunned and outraged fiscal conservatives and libertarians, who have watched President Bush and the GOP Congress lead one of the biggest social spending sprees of all time.

The arch-conservative New Hampshire Union-Leader newspaper responded bluntly: "That has to be the lie of the year. The only thing Congressional Republicans have pared down is the party's reputation." DeLay, the paper charged, is guilty of "lying to the American people about how their government is being run."

The San Diego Union-Leader similarly noted:
"Since the GOP took over Congress in 1994, the supposed party of small government has presided over the largest expansion of federal spending since the New Deal -- and, no, that doesn't count the post-9/11 spikes in military and homeland security spending. This binge has only accelerated with a Republican president. No wonder the president blithely touts a $100 billion-plus rebuilding of New Orleans without outlining how to pay for it; his indifference to running up $1 trillion in total debt since 2001 shows it might as well be Monopoly money to him."

"If Mr. DeLay actually believes what he said then he has clearly lost touch with reality wrote John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, in the Wall Street Journal.
"After all, total federal spending, aside from interest, has increased 79 percent since 1995 -- much greater than the inflationary increase in prices of 28 percent. Republicans have dramatically increased the size of government to an extent not seen since Richard Nixon was in the White House."

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) -- a nonpartisan organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government -- was quick to respond with a long list of specific proposals for cutting.

CAGW released "Prime Cuts 2005," which catalogues 600 recommendations throughout the government that could save taxpayers $232 billion in fiscal year 2006 and $2 trillion over the next five years.

Just a few examples from "Prime Cuts" of programs that could be abolished: Community Development Block Grants (saving $24.7 billion over five years); the White House's National Youth Anti-drug Media Campaign (saving $1 billion over five years); the Advanced Technology Program (saving $750 million over five years) and on and on it goes, page after page of waste, duplication, and federal destructiveness.

Our own suggestion is that Rep. DeLay spend some time talking with his fellow Texas Republican House colleague, libertarian Congressman Ron Paul. We have no doubt at all that Congressman Paul could come up with a few suggestions for trimming the budget.
In fact, Congressman Paul has proposed a bill, The Liberty Amendment, to restrict the federal government to performing only those functions permitted it under the Constitution. (Talk about a radical proposal!) Doing so would cut the federal government so dramatically that the entire federal income tax could easily be abolished.

Unfortunately, only two GOP Congressmen have thus far signed on to support it. Perhaps Congressman Paul could persuade DeLay to be the third?

I didn't put add any links to the story, but did correct some formatting - this is as it appears. Check the sources yourself, and for the love of all that is free, if you live in DeLay's district, vote him out ASAP.

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