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Republican Study Committee Budget: Contract With America, Pt 2
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bumped to the top because this is important.

Matt Yglesias argues that the line item veto is a "sign of the intellectual and political bankruptcy of contemporary conservatism" because Pork is not "a major component of federal spending" and cutting it would not "render GOP tax policies viable". First, it's worth noting that he's absolutely correct about the compositional value of Pork in the federal budget, and that cutting it dramatically — even eliminating it altogether — would not substantively reduce the size of government to the point where Republican tax level preferences would be sustainable.

The fact that gaining some measure of control over Pork spending — as some Republicans are currently proposing — does not alone make a responsible federal budget does not mean that doing so is a sign of "political bankruptcy". Cutting a few million off of executive salaries wouldn't've saved Enron, either, but it might have been a good idea, nonetheless. But substituing pork control — even control over discretionary spending in general — for serious reductions in government spending is a sign of a Republican majority without any serious ideas for governance.

With that in mind, let's note a strong entry in the "serious proposals for fiscally responsible governance" category by the Republican Study Committee...
With Congress heading into a politically perilous budget season, influential House conservatives plan this week to propose an austere alternative spending plan that would pare more than $650 billion over five years, balance the budget and drastically shrink three cabinet agencies.
Senior aides say the conservatives' plan would wring about $350 billion from Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs and save $300 billion partly through a major reorganization of the Education, Commerce and Energy Departments.
This will be an important bill for new House Majority Leader John Boehner. He was elected on the twin-themes that the GOP needed to get away from corruption and back to limited government. If he can deliver, it will be an important achievement and a good marker about the future of the Republican Majority.

If he cannot, that will tell us something, too. Unfortunately, so far, he "would not endorse the proposal".

Amy Ridenour has more details on the now-released report, as well as links. More information also at the Republican Study Committee home page. If you want to see the actual proposal, here's a PDF link. Tim Chapman at Townhall's Capitol Report gives an overview, excerpted below...


Republicans can either maintain their majority with bread and circuses for a little bit longer before they (inevitably) hand over the bloated beast to Democrats, or they can prove that they have a serious, sustainable and responsible agenda for governance. What they cannot do is go on indefinitely with the "compassionate conservatism" of these past 5 years. If they continue that, Democrats like Yglesias will correctly point out that fiddling with Pork doesn't solve our looming problems. If they do something about our looming problems, Democrats will inevitably cry about that, too.

Only one of those paths, however, is fiscally sustainable. On that note, here's Quote Of the Day material...
"The Democratic Party can never be an adult party; they buy votes to get elected and it's the only way they get elected. If Republicans won't be an adult party, America won't have one."Rep. Tom Feeney [R-FL]
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Give me a break Yglesias. Would Matt likewise brush off a co-worker who only steals a percent or two from his wallet everyday? To be concerned about it, after all, would simply show the bankruptcy of Matt’s personal philosophy about the unwanted (I’ll assume) use of his money.

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"wouldn’t’ve"? Would not have isn’t that hard to type out. :)
Written By: Jojo
"The Democratic Party can never be an adult party; they buy votes to get elected and it’s the only way they get elected. If Republicans won’t be an adult party, America won’t have one." — Rep. Tom Feeney [D-FL]

Feeney is a Repub- You know a Democrat would never actually admit the truth like that! :o)
Written By: fletch
URL: http://
Oops. Thanks, Fletch. I’ve fixed it.
Written By: Jon Henke
The revised budget certainly will rock a few boats.

But it will also serve as notice of who is serious about a balanced budget that defends America and reduces the deficit, and who is not.
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
It seems to me that the entire idea behind congressional Republicans support for the Presidential line-item veto is recognition of the fact that they can’t be trusted to not actually send the President the pork to begin with. Seems to me that congress should work on the process by which so much pork gets earmarked to begin with, not abdicating their responsibility to the President to exercise fiscal restraint on their behalf.
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
Pork. If you limit it to a couple road projects it is pretty small, but if you follow Rep. Feeny and include things like Medicare Part D and the Dep’t of Education,it gets real big real fast.

Pork is more than the other white meat.
Written By: Terry J
URL: http://

The closing quote here, coupled with John Shadegg’s remark in the previous post adds up to a very depressing mixture. Basically, the chances of either big party doing the right thing on spending is pretty low.

Is the only prospect of change through popular revolt!? I shudder to think.
Written By: D
URL: http://
Just for the record they are working on changing the process, so the pork is harder to get into the budget...

Change the process...
Give the President line-item veto...
Give the President a budget that reduces the size of government...

There’s not going to be one "silver bullet." There will be many peices that will fit together to make our nation strong, secure, prosperous and free.

A journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step...
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Oh, and just like the tide, the actual progress will move back and forth, so that it may seem it is "two steps forward, one step back."
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://

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