Encouraging Signs On Government Spending

I have been heartened by a few recent news stories on government spending. 

Rasmussen Reports found that “Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters say the president’s proposed budget cuts too little. A plurality (49%) of Democrats says the planned cuts are about right.”  It is actually an amazing indictment of the news media that anyone thinks Obama’s budget cuts federal spending at all, since it would instead increase it immediately. 

Florida Governor Rick Scott says “no thanks” to a high speed rail boondoggle partially funded by the feds.  As the man says, ridership never meets projections, massive permanent subsidies are required to keep the systems afloat, and the money could be better spent elsewhere.  Nicely done, sir.

Other than blind partisans such as the NYT, the review of Obama’s proposed budget remain highly critical. 

The Pittsburgh Tribune: “President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2012 budget is not serious. If it were, it wouldn’t incorporate so many bad jokes.”

The Denver Post is a bit more measured: “We are disappointed the Obama administration has decided to double down on the status quo by submitting a 2012 budget plan of $3.73 trillion in spending, or 25 percent of gross domestic product — the highest level since World War II. The budget would add $8.7 trillion of new spending — and $7.2 trillion to the federal debt — over the next 10 years.”

Overall, the clear consensus is that Obama remains decidedly unserious about cost-cutting.  Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, continue to set new records in unseriousness:

House Democrats made their case for continuing taxpayer funding of public media outlets like NPR and PBS with a little help from Arthur the PBS cartoon character, who visited the capitol Wednesday morning.

The friendly but silent aardvark joined Democratic Reps. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and others to hit back against Republicans who have pledged to cut the funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in the next budget.

“We need your help today,” Markey said as a person dressed as the character walked toward the capitol building. “We can’t leave Arthur and all of his pals in the lurch.”

The members stood behind dolls of Sesame Street’s Big Bird, Grover and Elmo. Behind them, House aides held up signs showing Bert and Ernie being handed a letter that reads, “GOPink Slip: You are fired,” and another that showed cartoon characters being tossed away from a scale weighed down by “Big Oil.”

Yeah, “Big Oil” is the problem.  I especially like this part: “The members warned that ending government funding to public broadcasting would eliminate the programs, and that the market could not be trusted to provide quality broadcasting for children or news content for adults.” 

Somehow, I have a feeling that Sesame Street would do just fine on The Learning Channel, or some other network that does not rely on government funding, just like This Old House would find a home on HGTV or DIY.  Have these guys turned on a TV lately other than to watch themselves pontificating on the Sunday news shows?  The market is providing a fair amount of “quality broadcasting for children [and] news content for adults” on quite a few of the hundreds of cable and satellite channels.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans are doing a Christie on public employee unions by trying to end collective bargaining for all state, county and local workers except police, firefighters and the state patrol.  Local teachers are responding by showing their dedication to kids — “school officials in Madison cancelled classes for the day because 40 percent of the 2,600 members in the teacher bargaining unit had called in sick.”

All in all, it appears that the tea partiers have successfully shifted the debate.  It remains to be seen whether Republicans nationwide will share their resolve or fail us once again.

Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 10:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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