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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » DeLay - Nothing Left to Cut in Fed. Budget

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Author Topic: DeLay - Nothing Left to Cut in Fed. Budget
javelin
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quote:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.
Source

So, we have our House Majority leader, a so-called conservative Republican, saying that there isn't anything left to cut from the federal budget. I can't even really respond to that - I'm just too incredulous. So, I've posted this here, and I'm posting a response from another group:

quote:
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) today declared “victory" in the battle to eliminate wasteful federal spending. There is simply no fat left to cut from the federal budget, he said.

This comes as quite a surprise to most Americans. With federal spending now topping $22,000 per household, polls indicate that 71 percent of Americans are more bothered by how their taxes are spent than by the amount of taxes they pay. The average American believes that about half of his or her tax dollars are wasted.

The American people have a point. There is so much fat in government spending—from $300 million bridges to islands with 50 residents in Alaska to billions of dollars in overpayments by federal departments—that it is hard to know where to begin. Declarations of victory are, to say the least, rather premature.

The Majority Leader has issued a pledge, however, to those concerned about the emergency spending that Congress is now appropriating: "My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it.” In response to that good-faith commitment, this paper lists a few easy places to start cutting, although they are just the tip of the waste iceberg.

Please, read the article. It's interesting, no matter where you lie on the fiscal axis.

[ September 15, 2005, 11:09 AM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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Adam Masterman
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Didn't David Ricardo start a thread on this already?

Adam

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Dagonee
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It's stupid enough to deserve two threads.
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javelin
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Sorry, must have somehow missed it. I'll give you three guesses as to why. Anyway, sorry for doubling up.
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LoverOfJoy
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I've never particularly liked Delay and agree that what he said was pretty stupid.

I must say, though, that I'm suspicious of some of what was quoted. The devil is in the details and these kinds of quotes always seem to leave out details.

quote:
There is so much fat in government spending—from $300 million bridges to islands with 50 residents in Alaska
I'm suspicious about the 50 resident detail. I'm pretty sure the $300 million isn't just for those 50 residents. If you were a congressman with $300 million to push for...wouldn't you push for it to help more of your constituents than just 50? Alaska is a resource-rich state and my guess is that someone thought these bridges would save hundreds of millions if not billions in helping to transport those resources to the rest of us...and it has nothing to do with the 50 workers that live there.

quote:
With federal spending now topping $22,000 per household, polls indicate that 71 percent of Americans are more bothered by how their taxes are spent than by the amount of taxes they pay. The average American believes that about half of his or her tax dollars are wasted.
How was this poll worded? While it may be true if asked explicitly I doubt the "average" American thinks about how much tax dollars are wasted much less has a particular proportion in mind. More likely, when asked how much tax dollars are wasted, the average person answering the phone survey took a wild guess and when those wild guesses were averaged it came out to about half. There were likely a lot of people saying 100% and bunch saying something low like 5-10%

quote:
The American people have a point.
More likely, the pollster had a point. The greater concern over how tax dollars are spent compared to how much tax dollars are taken was probably question brought up by the pollsters and not something the "American people" brought up of their own accord. At best, they might agree with the pollster's point.
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javelin
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Well, that's an interesting deconstruction of the quoted material - did you look at the rest of the article?
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javelin
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quote:
I'm suspicious about the 50 resident detail. I'm pretty sure the $300 million isn't just for those 50 residents. If you were a congressman with $300 million to push for...wouldn't you push for it to help more of your constituents than just 50? Alaska is a resource-rich state and my guess is that someone thought these bridges would save hundreds of millions if not billions in helping to transport those resources to the rest of us...and it has nothing to do with the 50 workers that live there.
More information on the bridge:

quote:
Alaska's Gravina Island is home to 50 people and more than 350 Sitka black-tailed deer. Under the U.S. highway bill passed last month, this group will get a $223 million bridge taller than the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
Source

quote:
Rising 200 feet above water, almost twice as high as the 119-foot-high Brooklyn Bridge, the Gravina Island bridge will span 6,300 feet in two sections, crossing the Tongass Narrows to Ketchikan, a popular stop for cruise ships. It replaces a ferry that local residents and tourists now use to reach the airport on Gravina Island, which had also been home to a pulp mill that closed in 1997.
quote:
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington, D.C.-based group that tracks government spending, called the Gravina project ``the Bridge to Nowhere'' in a report on its Web site. It estimates the bridge will attract 1,000 vehicles a day, at an average cost of $43 per trip. That compares with 500,000 vehicles a day, at a cost of $4 each trip, that use Boston's $14.6 billion Big Dig underground highway system.


[ September 15, 2005, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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javelin
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quote:
How was this poll worded? While it may be true if asked explicitly I doubt the "average" American thinks about how much tax dollars are wasted much less has a particular proportion in mind. More likely, when asked how much tax dollars are wasted, the average person answering the phone survey took a wild guess and when those wild guesses were averaged it came out to about half. There were likely a lot of people saying 100% and bunch saying something low like 5-10%

quote: The American people have a point.

More likely, the pollster had a point. The greater concern over how tax dollars are spent compared to how much tax dollars are taken was probably question brought up by the pollsters and not something the "American people" brought up of their own accord. At best, they might agree with the pollster's point.

Oh, and the poll information is sourced.

Here's the source:
Public Opinion on Taxes By Karlyn H. Bowman

Feel free to read through the PDF to see if any of your conjecture is justified.

[ September 15, 2005, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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David Ricardo
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I will post the link to my original topic on this, so that I won't have to retype it again:

http://www.ornery.org/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=007245

[ September 15, 2005, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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LoverOfJoy
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My apologies, I should have read more. I'll check it out in greater detail tonight, hopefully. I guess it was just knee-jerk reaction to bad reporting I've seen in the past.
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javelin
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Believe me, I understand - that's why I went through and found out more about the questions and concerns you had/have!
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javelin
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More from the article :

quote:

Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

In the twenty years since the Grace Commission first shined a spotlight on waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government, the problem has continued to build. For many lawmakers, executive oversight has taken a backseat to the higher priority of securing pork projects. Here are several current examples of federal waste that should be extremely uncontroversial to rein in:

* The federal government made $20 billion in overpayments in 2001;

* The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets from 1997 to 2003 and never bothered to collect refunds, even though the tickets were reimbursable;

* Massive farm subsidies go to several members of Congress and celebrity “hobby farmers” such as David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Scottie Pippen, and former Enron CEO Ken Lay; and

* Numerous government programs are wastefully duplicative, such as the 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 federal programs dedicated to assuring safe water.

This page lists 25 more particularly egregious examples of waste, fraud, and abuse.

In addition, the federal government cannot account for $24.5 billion that it spent in 2003. More attentive congressional oversight could uncover where this money went and whether some or all of it could be saved and put to better use.


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Lewkowski
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What the hell is he thinking? Geez the endowment to the arts is still in the federal budget. Of course there is more waste to cut.
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Wayward Son
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Actually, I think he was thinking that there are no more Democratic items left to cut. [Smile]
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
Actually, I think he was thinking that there are no more Democratic items left to cut. [Smile]

Arg. That'd be even worse [Mad]
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Kent
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After forty years and trillions of dollars, we need to pull out of the war on poverty; we just don't have an exit strategy. The same % of people are poor today as forty years ago.

[ September 15, 2005, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: Kent ]

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javelin
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It's a QUAGMIRE, that's diverting funds & troops, 'causing disasters like NO...

[ September 15, 2005, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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WarrsawPact
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Wow. This could get ugly.

Give me some time alone with the federal budget and a backpack full of red pens, and I'll send a proof-read version to Mr. DeLay.

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javelin
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Here ya go, WP:

Federal Budget

Send me an address to send the pens too, and how many, and let me know when you are done.

[ September 15, 2005, 03:06 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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Everard
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Delay is more of an idiot then I thought.

We all, here, disagree on usage of funds over things like the war in iraq or medicaid. But I don't think there's any one of us who would say that the federal budget couldn't be trimmed up, even in areas on which we'd all agree spending is wasteful.

And the spending items that only go to one state? Still not sure how those are justified...

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Give me some time alone with the federal budget and a backpack full of red pens, and I'll send a proof-read version to Mr. DeLay.
Don't bother, WP. Nancy Pelosi already sent him one, and he completely ignored it. [Wink]

[ September 15, 2005, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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WarrsawPact
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Everard - I smell a Concord Party issue. [Smile]

javelin - Actually, I can probably afford the pens myself, and I wouldn't want you to spend money on a backpack when I already have one. I'll start right away.

Wayward Son - I wouldn't trust Nancy Pelosi with a pair of scissors, let alone a free hand with the budget.

[ September 15, 2005, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: WarrsawPact ]

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javelin
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"trust" and "Nancy Pelosi" don't belong in the same sentence. Same as "trust" and "Karl Rove" in the same sentence means you have committed the classic blunder of some sort of run-on sentence.
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Adjudicator
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This discussion reminds me of the movie "Dave" where the main character's accountant buddy helps him trim millions of dollars with a couple of simple, common sense startegies.
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LinuxFreakus
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There was a petition to members of congress to sign a pledge to leave pork out of any Katrina relief package, but only 6 people signed it.

Unfortunately, a tight rein on spending never has been high on Dubya's list. He should have vetoed the pork-fest farm bill in his first term. But by failing to set the right tone, he enabled Capitol Hill to overspend. We'll be paying for it for decades.

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WarrsawPact
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Well... you can trust Karl Rove to be Karl Rove. You can't trust Pelosi to be the same Pelosi on any given day. She keeps you on your toes trying to figure out what kind of crazy nonsense she'll spout on any given day.
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Daruma28
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FDR > LBJ > GWB

Prediction: Tonight's speech will be Bush's New New New Deal and the Great Society all rolled into one.


The era of small government is not just dead...but obliterated.

The Reagan Revolution is relegated to the ash heap of history. [Frown]

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kenmeer livermaile
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I expect you're right, daruma. (I couldn't watch the speech. Was busy nursing wife in hospital after surgery similar to OM's.)

As for the Reagan Revolution as a means of diminishing big government: THAT was DOA along with the other Big Deal of the time: balancing the federal budget.

I go google now to see what Bush actually SAID...

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kenmeer livermaile
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"After forty years and trillions of dollars, we need to pull out of the war on poverty; we just don't have an exit strategy. The same % of people are poor today as forty years ago."

THAT'S funny.

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RickyB
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The Reagan revolution.... HUGE LOL.

Reagan requested bigger budgets than the ones Congress sent him to sign.

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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
The Reagan revolution.... HUGE LOL.

Reagan requested bigger budgets than the ones Congress sent him to sign.

The Reagan Revolution was not about the size of budgets...but the size and scope of Government involvement in commerce, economy and daily life.

C'mon Ricky. We all know the budgets were massive because he could not pass his military build-up to fight the Cold War without compromising with the Democrat controlled congress' pork barrell spending.

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TCB
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I can actually see Delay's point, in a way. People complain about the $300 million bridge to nowhere, but try comparing it to the cost of rebuilding after Katrina (~$200 billion). That's what, 0.15%? We'd need to trim 667 similarly big projects just to pay for Katrina. And then we're still stuck with our "normal" spending deficit, and huge public debt.

I'd be very surprised if it's possible to cut enough pork from the budget to get government revenues to non-negative numbers. If we're serious about eliminating the deficit, I think we're going to have to look at restoring taxes to Clintonian levels while holding (or reducing) current spending levels.

Yes, economic growth would probably take a hit. But a huge deficit is economically unhealthy, too. I often heard during GWB's first election campaign that his tax cuts wouldn't impact government revenues because they would "make the pie bigger." We can't afford to continue this unsuccessful experiment for much longer.

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