Don’t Delay — declare victory and keep spending

The good news, according the majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, is that victory has been achieved. Federal spending is under control. The bad news for the nation’s taxpayers is that this “victory” is ongoing. Yes, with Congress and the president poised to add at least $200 billion in disaster relief to a pre-Katrina deficit of $332 billion, St. George and the boys have but begun to slay the deficit dragon.

Is the glass half-empty or is Tom Delay half-crazy? This is positive thinking on steroids: think and grow solvent. Say you’re at halftime and your team is in a 40-point deficit. What do you do? Well, I guess if you’re Tom Delay, you break out the champagne and start the celebration. Make that the ongoing celebration. Another game next week. Order more champagne!

Hey, don’t get me wrong. Tom Delay is all for frugality. I mean, he hasn’t been standing there with his finger in the dike (and his hand in the appropriations till) all these years for nothing. Now it may be true, as some of those right-wing bean-counters say, that government spending, excluding military and homeland security, has been increasing faster than at any time since the Great Depression. But that’s precisely why the good, sensible people of this heaven-blessed land have been sending God-fearing Republicans to Congress since ’94.

And if you think Republicans haven’t been making headway in 11 years, well, then, you just haven’t been listening to Delay’s speeches or reading Newt Gingrich’s books. To paraphrase Groucho: Who are you going to believe, us or those lying balance sheets?

Now Citizens Against Government Waste plans to come forward with budget-cutting suggestions they say will save $2 trillion over the next five years. They also want to rescind more than 6,000 earmarked projects from the recently passed highway bill.

But those are important infrastructure improvements, and if you start cutting things like that, you’re going to cost old Tom and his boys a lot of friends – and a lot of votes too. Not to mention campaign contributions.

Yes sir, you’ve got to be real careful when you start cutting budgets.

Jack Kenny is a freelance writer who lives in Manchester.

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