Watching the Fat-Fight
While I worry about the ultimate result of the intra-party sparring now occurring within the GOP over how to pay the Katrina bills (because I'm afraid they'll push for some silly nonsense plan that cuts valuable social programs while still pushing up the deficit with more tax cuts), I think it's well past time that the party actually engaged in this debate.
As the Post and Times both report this morning, Republicans in Congress have begun, for really the first time, to question the White House on fiscal issues (and vice versa). There are those who want to use the Gulf Coast reconstruction as a shield to make sharp cuts in domestic programs across the board. There are a few suggesting that it may be time to consider raising taxes. And as the Post notes, "many in the middle want to freeze Bush tax cuts that have yet to take effect" as well as fish out any spending cuts that can be made without cutting vital services and important programs.
I welcome this debate. I think it's healthy for the party to have, and I'm glad that legislators might actually start looking at the numbers and realizing that the current trend (spend but don't tax) is unhealthy for the long-term fiscal stability of the country. Congress should consider all the proposals being offered with due seriousness, including (even particularly including) those which call for halting the implementation of further tax cuts (no that is not raising taxes) and excising the pork from the existing budget.
Those who want to examine the budgetary impact of the Katrina costs, though, remain a small fraction of the Senate and House GOP caucuses, as Senator Judd Gregg told the Times. There are plenty, apparently including the leadership of both houses, who are content to just push ahead with more spending, more tax cuts, and more deficit growth as far as the eye can see. These Happy Mariners don't mind watching the ship of state sail off into the sunset of Fiscal Oblivion, but for those us of out here who do have concerns reaching past the end of our noses (or November 2006, as the case may be), that's no longer an option.
Let's have the debate. Let's ask the questions, and let's demand the answers. It's not too mush to ask for.