My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Is This Really A Loss?

The MSM made much ado about this:

Senate Rejects GOP Budget Cuts
House Deficit-Reduction Moves Thwarted

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 18, 2005; Page A04

The Senate last night dealt a slap to President Bush and the Republican leadership, approving a 2006 budget that would gut much of the GOP's deficit-reduction efforts by restoring requested cuts to Medicaid, education, community development and other programs.

But what you--or, at least, I--heard almost nothing about, is this:

Senate Republicans also nearly doubled the budget plan's tax cuts to $134 billion over five years

Now, it seems this can be read one of two ways. First, that the GOP decided it didn't have the stomach for the spending cuts, but knew it needed to give something to its base, so it went for a tax cut. Or, second, that the GOP decided it couldn't get the spending cuts, so it sure as hell had to get something, so it went for the tax cut. Either way, it seems to me like a perfectly normal bit of Potomac two-step.

On the other hand, from the fiscally conservative standpoint, we've managed to reduce direct inputs (taxes) while failing to reduce outlays (spending), all of which leaves the bottom line in a little bit uglier place than it was before. Let's just hope the growth spurred by the cuts offsets the spending.

And let's also remember that it has to be reconciled to the House version, which will probably leave it looking pretty different.

By the bye, here are the GOP Senators who voted against the spending cuts: Smith (Ore), Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.), Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (Maine), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Mike DeWine (Ohio), and Arlen Specter (Pa.). Didn't you just have to know that Specter's name would show up on this list?

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