It seems the war between sensible moderate Republicans and their rightwing party leaders insures that government spending will not be reduced. Arlen Specter wanted to slash pork barrel spending, which alas angered the conservatives who only pretend to be fiscally responsible:
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), has angered colleagues facing reelection in 2006 by cutting $1 billion in pet projects from his subcommittee’s spending bill to pay for programs popular with Democrats and centrist Republicans. Historically, the labor, health and human services, and education bill is one of the most project-loaded of the annual spending bills, say congressional observers who track what they denounce as pork-barrel spending.
OK, Robert Byrd is also unhappy about proposed reductions in pork. I guess there is some bipartisan support for loading our kids with deferred tax liabilities. Thinkprogress notes that the rightwingers wanted the cuts in support for education and assistance to the poor so they could join Senator Byrd in their pork fest. Pork over assistance to the poor does seem to be the “priorities” of this Administration even as they continue to add nearly $600 billion a year to the Federal debt.
Update: Lawrence Kudlow in What I Learned This Week predicted:
GOP Congress will pass a sizable tax- and budget-cutting fiscal plan
More bad timing on Larry’s part. But what did he learn?
The boat-building business is booming, with big backlogs for boats in the $80,000 to $300,000 price range. Why is this important? Prosperity. People buy luxury items when they’ve got the money to do so. This is a very positive economic-growth indicator … Ben Bernanke is a real smart guy with a good idea for a numerical inflation target. But investors were turned off when he testified before the Senate this week in his bid to replace Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve.
It seems – according to Larry – that Bernanke will follow Greenspan’s lead on making sure inflation does not accelerate. But wasn’t it Larry’s NRO colleagues that were concerned Bernanke would not be tough on inflation? I wish the folks at NRO would make up their minds on such matters.
Update II: CNN captures some of the various reactions to the no vote including this one:
Republicans said they may have lost votes because this year’s bill, down $1.5 billion from last year, included no special projects or earmarks for lawmakers. “You take those out and you lose the incentive,” said Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, who voted for the bill.
Is Congressman Davis saying the only incentive for him to support education and aid to the poor is for Congress to also include pork barrel spending for his fat cat contributors? Maybe this attitude is what is wrong with our GOP leaders – and their inability to manage our taxpayer money responsibly.