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Hey big spenders: The highways bill shows Republicans addicted to spending
Financial Times ^ | 8/10/05

Posted on 08/10/2005 12:37:37 PM PDT by Crackingham

There was a time when Republicans raged against wasteful federal spending and fought tenaciously to cut the size of government. Not any longer. The $286.5bn (£160bn) highways bill President George W. Bush will sign into law today epitomises the transformation of the party in Washington from an anti-government "insurgency" into a ruling majority unable to kick its addiction to spending.

To give Mr Bush his credit, he fought a rearguard action against his spendthrift allies in Congress, with some effect. But he did not follow through his threat to veto any bill that breached a $283.9bn spending limit. This was itself a big increase on the spending limit of $256bn he put forward a year earlier. Budget analysts estimate the true cost of the new law, which conceals some likely spending, may be as much as $11bn over the relaxed spending limit.

The quality of spending is also poor. The highways bill contains more pork than the state of Iowa. Members of Congress have earmarked money for almost 6,500 local projects, costing $24bn. These include such gems as $220m for a bridge to connect an island with a population of 50 people to the Alaskan mainland, $8.5m for seven local transport museums and $4m for a parking facility in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Mr Bush's failure to stand by his veto threat is partly explained by his need to win support for the crunch vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement. But it is of a piece with his own poor record on spending. After spending during his first term at a rate second only to Lyndon Johnson, Mr Bush promised to be much tougher in the second. But he has still not vetoed a single spending bill.

The highways bill is not the only fiscally irresponsible measure to win the president's approval in recent days. The energy bill, signed into law on Monday, contained lavish tax breaks for an oil industry which, with crude at a record price of more than $64 a barrel, is hardly short of funds or incentives to invest. Taken together, the highways bill, energy bill and other measures signed into law this year will add nearly $33bn to the deficit - 10 per cent of the expected deficit for the current fiscal year.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 109th; federalspending; gop; highwaybill

1 posted on 08/10/2005 12:37:38 PM PDT by Crackingham
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To: Crackingham
Majority parties always spend too much, minority parties always make hay about "wasteful government spending". Republicans had 40 years to rage about wasteful spending, but now that they're the majority they're finding that all of that pork is too tempting to leave alone.

Disappointing, but not suprising.

2 posted on 08/10/2005 12:40:07 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Zeroisanumber

I'd prefer that road spending were entirely left to the states. There would be better decisions as funds were allocated based on popular need, and not pork.

Even so, as a small government type, I think roads are one of the few items I have little complaint about government spending.


3 posted on 08/10/2005 12:41:59 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Crackingham
Building brdiges and highways is NOT a waste of taxpayer money.

Pork barrel projects attached to highway bills ARE a waste of taxpayer money.

Darn but we need a Federal line item veto.
4 posted on 08/10/2005 12:42:19 PM PDT by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: BenLurkin
Darn but we need a Federal line item veto.

Didn't like it when Clinton had that, wouldn't like if Clinton II did.

5 posted on 08/10/2005 12:43:50 PM PDT by Zeroisanumber
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To: Zeroisanumber

Bush's budget was lean this year.

Bush had 14 billion in cuts to medicare dems blocked it.

Bush is cutting bases to cut spending.

Bush reduced the highway bill by over 88 billion from where the dems wanted it.

There is no line item veto power to give the president a lot of power over spending.

If it wasn't for the dems you would have had massive cuts in social services spending this year but they blocked the cuts.

Bush has a tight budget, is cutting bases to cut spending and still gets blamed.


Republicans aren't the majority party they don't have 60 seats in the senate and can't do anything. And there are at least 8 major rino's in the republican party that always vote with dems on cutting social services.


6 posted on 08/10/2005 12:45:35 PM PDT by johnmecainrino
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To: Zeroisanumber
Exactly. After years of hearing about "oh if we (Republicans) get control of the Presidency & Congress, we'd be able to push through our agenda!"

Now that they have suceeded, they break almost every promise. But...oh...let's root for Jeb, he'll be different.

7 posted on 08/10/2005 12:46:12 PM PDT by Barney Gumble (Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.)
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To: Crackingham

W is not now nor has he ever been a fiscal conservative


8 posted on 08/10/2005 12:51:55 PM PDT by Ignatius J Reilly
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To: BenLurkin
Darn but we need a Federal line item veto.

It would have cobwebs on it during the Bush presidency.

The guy loves to spend my money.

9 posted on 08/10/2005 12:53:43 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Barney Gumble

Republicans are committed to cutting spending.

Gop has no control over the senate.

Bush cut the highway bill 88 billion from where the dems wanted it.

48 republicans wanted cuts in medicare spending but were defeated by the dems and a handful of rino's.

The blame belongs with the rino's and the dems.

Bush's budget this year was lean. His tax cuts are working. The budget defecit is going to be over 100 billion less than last year.

Bush is cutting bases to cut spending and is taking a lot of heat for that.

Bush is going after nevada for not putting in money to the treasury from their land sales.


You would think in a year where bush submitted a tight budget which included major cuts in social service programs and is cutting excess military bases to cut spending and his tax cuts are cutting the defecit he would take credit for it. He has no line item veto power.

People that blame bush who had in his budget major cuts for social services that were blocked by the dems and rino's are putting their blame in the wrong direction. Do you think a dem president would have proposed 14 billion cuts in medicare this year.


10 posted on 08/10/2005 12:54:10 PM PDT by johnmecainrino
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To: Ignatius J Reilly

His budget this year was fiscally conservative. He is cutting excess milatary bases that is fiscally conservative. He is going after Nevada for them to pay a portion of their land sales into the treasury.

Bush has no line item veto power. When the dems block spending cuts with the rino's he has no power. If the budget doesn't pass he can't sign it.

The defecit is shrinking quickly down a 100 billion from last year.

Bush is a fiscal conservative just look at his budget he gets blamed because the dems and rino's block his spending cuts.


Look at the budget the house passed this year compared to the senate. The house passed a lean budget. The dems and rino's in the senate block good work.

If you don't have 60 seats in the senate you might as well be the party in the minority because the dems and a handful of rino's block spending cuts and make the majority of republicans look bad when they are trying to cut spending and the dems and rino's are blocking them.

Bring on Nancy Pelosi that is the answer.

A clinton/pelosi govt of huge buerocracy national healthcare and more spending for social services is the answer.


11 posted on 08/10/2005 12:59:32 PM PDT by johnmecainrino
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To: Allosaurs_r_us; Abram; AlexandriaDuke; Annie03; Baby Bear; bassmaner; Bernard; BJClinton; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here
12 posted on 08/10/2005 12:59:45 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (Deep within every dilemma is a solution that involves explosives)
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To: Crackingham

It's ridiculous that President Bush had to bribe a bunch of Republicans to vote for CAFTA. It is also distressing that by doing so, President Bush has effectively admitted that CAFTA is going to eliminate jobs, to be replaced by those created through pork-barrel goverment-funded projects. I'm not sure that is a good trade. Free trade should sink or swim on its own merits.


13 posted on 08/10/2005 1:01:30 PM PDT by Dems_R_Losers (Where is Chris Lehane??)
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To: johnmecainrino

I'm sorry, but Bush is just not the poster boy for reduced government spending.


14 posted on 08/10/2005 1:01:30 PM PDT by RoyalsFan (Freepmail me if you want on my Kansas City Royals ping list)
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To: BenLurkin

Bush couldn't veto this, he promised this pork so he could get the votes for CAFTA, which he couldn't pass on merit.


15 posted on 08/10/2005 1:02:43 PM PDT by RoyalsFan (Freepmail me if you want on my Kansas City Royals ping list)
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To: Crackingham
As long as they fix the roads I don't care how much it costs right now. One more pothole, just one more and I'm gonna drop a golden brick.
16 posted on 08/10/2005 1:05:00 PM PDT by glaseatr (God Bless, My Nephew, SGT Adam Estep 2nd Bat, 5th Cav reg died Thursday April 29, 2004 Baghdad Iraq)
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To: Beelzebubba
Even so, as a small government type, I think roads are one of the few items I have little complaint about government spending.

I second that remark.

17 posted on 08/10/2005 1:07:11 PM PDT by BureaucratusMaximus (The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.)
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To: RoyalsFan

What would you like Bush to do not sign a bill to improve our roads. He cut 88 billion from the bill from where the dems wanted it. Bush has no line item veto power to use as leverage.

Bush's budget was first rate this year in fiscal conservatism. Bush is taking major heat for cutting the bases to cut spending.

The budget defecit this year is down over 100 billion from last year because of the tax cuts and spending cuts in the budget.

Bush is against a national health care plan that would be big spending and bush took a lot of heat for that in the campaign.

Bush has pushed through tax cuts, submits a tight budget with cuts in social services. Cuts military bases to save 50 billion in spending. The spending is so overrated the defecit has do with the economy. As the economy grows stronger defecit will go down quickly.

Defecit will go down as the economy improves.


18 posted on 08/10/2005 1:09:36 PM PDT by johnmecainrino
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To: RoyalsFan

The pork for cafta was a media myth.

The bill price was settled long before the cafta vote.


19 posted on 08/10/2005 1:10:41 PM PDT by johnmecainrino
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To: glaseatr

Our roads and bridges need fixed bad out here in Middle America. For years the east coast has gotten a lot more return on their federal gas tax, then those of us in states like Oklahoma. This time Oklahomans are getting their fair share and more to make up for all the years we helped fund road repairs in the NE.

I love this Transportation bill by Senator Inhofe who is no tax and spend person but our infrastructure for roads and bridges in Middle America on interstate highways is horrible and now we have to catch up for all those years that Clinton was in office that money we paid in went to the NE. At times Oklahomans got back less $.50 on the dollar we paid in federal gas tax while some NE states received well over a $1.00 back.

Certain items we need money and when you have neglected bridges and highways as long as this Country, then it is going to cost bigtime to catch up. The whiners obviously have not been driving roads out here with potholes fixed so many times that they become potholes again on the first rain.


20 posted on 08/10/2005 1:10:49 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- J.C. for OK Governor in '06; Allen/Watts in 2008)
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To: Crackingham
"These include such gems as $220m for a bridge to connect an island with a population of 50 people to the Alaskan mainland,....."

This project is called Gravina Access and is actually TWO bridges: from Revillla Island, to Pennock Island, to Gravina Island. Less than 14,000 people live in Ketchikan on Revilla Island. The population of Gravina is less than 50 and there are virtually no roads. There is an airport there that is served by a few-minute ferry ride.

The official "engineer's estimate" is actually $315 Million.

The population of the declining for several years.

21 posted on 08/10/2005 1:14:09 PM PDT by skeptoid (EDST)
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To: Crackingham
"....include such gems as $220m for a bridge to connect an island with a population of 50 people to the Alaskan mainland...."

Not quite. The project is called Gravina Access and is actually TWO BRIDGES from island to island to island. And the recently announced official estimated cost is $315 million having virtually doubled in a couple of years.

The entire area population is less than 14,000 and declining and in fact, the population of Gravia Island is less than 50. The local airport is on Gravina (not enough flat land on the Ketchikan side) but it has been served by a 5-minute ferry ride since it opened 30 years ago.

Did I mention the delining population?

22 posted on 08/10/2005 1:26:21 PM PDT by skeptoid (EDST)
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To: skeptoid

oops


23 posted on 08/10/2005 1:27:28 PM PDT by skeptoid (EDST)
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To: BenLurkin
Building brdiges and highways is NOT a waste of taxpayer money.

How about $223 million for a bridge linking Gravina Island to the town of Ketchikan, Alaska. Ketchikan has 8,000 residents and wants to avoid the current 7-minute ferry ride to the airport on the island.

24 posted on 08/10/2005 1:34:12 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: BenLurkin

"Darn but we need a Federal line item veto."

I'd be all for it, regardless of which party had the W.H. So few bills seek to lessen the size of government that it would be unlikely that a reduce-the-size-of-government bill would be vetoed. Almost every law passed by either party these days promotes bigger government. In the event we have a conservative president in the future, I'd sure like to see him have a chance to pick off some of the pork.

Just as important would be for Bill Frist and Denny Hastert to clean up their own houses by changing the rules to forbid omnibus bills. If they no longer were to lard up popular bills that legislators are reluctant to vote against by adding on big spending amendments (regularly unrelated to the original bill) and instead required an up or down vote on each piece of pork, this type of screw the taxpayer legislation would be drastically reduced.

Don't look for either reform. Both big parties like big spending.


25 posted on 08/10/2005 1:35:49 PM PDT by reelfoot
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To: Crackingham

Here's an idea: cut the federal gas tax, let states do their own, and fund their own highways. That way we avoid the feds trading our money around, in many cases giving most of it to other states.


26 posted on 08/10/2005 1:36:23 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: ValenB4; billbears; The_Eaglet

When was that?

Hundreds of billions of dollars for a transportation bill? Doesn't our president know that there's a "war" on?


27 posted on 08/10/2005 1:38:40 PM PDT by sheltonmac (QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES)
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To: johnmecainrino
Nonsense.

Bush signed a major increase to the Education budget and to the National Endowment for the Arts (at his wife's prompting). He also signed the massive farm bill widely believed to be the biggest pork barrel bill of all time.

Bush is a big spender. Period.

Clinton did not increase non-defense federal spending nearly as much as has Bush. It's pretty bad to long for the smaller federal budgets of Clinton.

I'm still waiting for a spending bill veto...and waiting...and waiting..

28 posted on 08/10/2005 1:50:15 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: BenLurkin
Darn but we need a Federal line item veto.

Why? You don't honestly think this 'conservative' President would ever use it do you? Bush has no idea what conservative fiscal policy looks like, much less agree with it.

But the blame can't be laid at the feet of Bush alone. I would like to thank each and every person that helped 'win back the Senate' by voting for these Republican 'spendthrifts'

29 posted on 08/10/2005 2:25:05 PM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: johnmecainrino
And I suppose the billions for AIDS in Africa is really a budget cut that I just can't see. Don't forget the pill bill. Passed under the promise it would be less than half a trillion dollars over the next ten years(that's half a trillion) only to find out within weeks it would be at least 50% more. Increased domestic spending on the order of LBJ. But he's really cutting spending. Sure.

This party loves to spend my money more than I do.

30 posted on 08/10/2005 2:31:19 PM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: johnmecainrino
Bush has a tight budget, is cutting bases to cut spending and still gets blamed.

Well, yeah. When he signs porkbarrel bills like this transportation bill and the energy bills, when he signs bills like the Medicare Prescription Drug bill, when he signs off on over a hundred billion dollars in off budget spending for Iraq, then he damned sure deserves blame. Last time I read the Constitution the President had this power called a veto. President Bush obviously skimmed right over that part.

31 posted on 08/10/2005 2:36:30 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: skeptoid
The population of the declining for several years.

On the other hand the bridge will make it easier for the rest to leave.

32 posted on 08/10/2005 2:38:53 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Crackingham

Good infrastructure and a strong defense: a couple things taxes are meant for. Hard to think of many others, if any.


33 posted on 08/10/2005 2:40:19 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew
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To: Crackingham
There was a time when Republicans raged against wasteful federal spending and fought tenaciously to cut the size of government.

Republicans sure aren't what they used to be. But then, they never were.

34 posted on 08/10/2005 2:40:30 PM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and open the Land Office)
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To: Crackingham

I truly believe that the only reason why all those southern Democrats switched parties and became Republicans was that the found out that they could do so and still keep their big spending, big intrusive government ways. Unfortunately all too many of them wound up in positions of party leadership.


35 posted on 08/10/2005 2:40:32 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Beelzebubba
I'm switching the order of your statements for a specific reason.

As a rule I agree with this statement.

Even so, as a small government type, I think roads are one of the few items I have little complaint about government spending.

This is why I say as a rule I agree with your first statement........but there are always exceptions to the rule...and in Delaware there are more than one.

I'd prefer that road spending were entirely left to the states. There would be better decisions as funds were allocated based on popular need, and not pork.

In Delaware I know of one $12mil project that is far more than just pork - it's the whole danged pig population. The citizens of Dover have repeatedly said no to tax dollars being used for these particular road/park/open space projects.......the Delaware DOT (and the rest of the DE gov)is so corrupt that $200mil is missing from the DOT alone, and no one is questioning it.

Yet the wife-beating junior Sinator of Delaware, with the assistance of the plagiarizing senior Sinator and the young-boy-liking lone Congresscritter are helping cover it up by stealing money from everyone in the country, to pay for something the people who live there DO NOT WANT by using YOUR money.

I no longer live in Delaware, but because of my husband's job, we still pay a heck of a lot of taxes to that godforsaken state.

36 posted on 08/10/2005 3:00:03 PM PDT by Gabz (Smoking ban supporters are in favor of the Kelo ruling.)
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To: Crackingham

Watching the GOP groupies on this thread try to rationalize away the bad behavior of their party would be entertaining if it wasn't so depressing.

Bush claims that the bill is fiscally responsible because it doesn't raise the federal gas tax. The boy just doesn't get it.


37 posted on 08/10/2005 3:52:09 PM PDT by NCSteve
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To: Crackingham
To give Mr Bush his credit, he fought a rearguard action against his spendthrift allies in Congress, with some effect.

It's kind of like a pusher telling his best customers to cut back on their heroin. Just a little.

Before 2001, the GOP Congress under Gingrich and Hastert had done pretty well at limiting government, reducing debt and spending.
38 posted on 08/11/2005 5:26:54 AM PDT by George W. Bush
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To: sheltonmac
when was that?

It was in 1993 and 1994 when the Republicans used government waste as a campaign tool to counter Clinton's liberalism.

Now that the Republicans control Congress and the White House, they are outdoing Clinton's liberal spending.

39 posted on 08/11/2005 9:24:51 AM PDT by The_Eaglet
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To: Crackingham; Mister Baredog

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. US Constitution 10th Amendment X

...ooops....I don't know why I posted this. Nothing to see here, move along.


40 posted on 08/11/2005 9:34:02 AM PDT by Kokojmudd (Outsource Federal Judiciary and US Senate to India, NOW!)
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To: Kokojmudd
I don't know why I posted this

It bears repeating. Too many elected officials ignore there oath of office to uphold these reserved powers.

41 posted on 08/11/2005 10:38:20 AM PDT by The_Eaglet
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To: Kokojmudd
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. US Constitution 10th Amendment X

How quaint, sadly.

42 posted on 08/11/2005 11:36:11 AM PDT by Mister Baredog ((Minuteman at heart, couch potato in reality))
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