Two interesting tidbits from this story about proposed spending
cuts increases cuts before Congress. First, Sen. Arlen Specter impersonating Rep. Tom Delay:
“We’re beyond cutting the fat and beyond the bone. We’re down to the marrow,” said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who plans to introduce an amendment today to raise spending on health care, education and worker safety by billions of dollars above the president’s request for next year.
I suppose a cheesy smile for the mug shot camera is next up on Sen. Specter’s busy agenda? Here’s a hint: check the Constitution and you’ll find the general guidelines for where Congress should be spending federal dollars. There may be a few unwritten implications since the founders couldn’t possibly have foreseen how significantly the world would change in the first few centuries of the Republic. However, I’m fairly certain they knew about areas such as education. Somehow that oversight probably wasn’t implied. Resume cost-cutting there.
Next, this engaging theory:
Reps. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Calif.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.) plan to unveil legislation today that would raise spending on port security by $801 million a year. That bill nearly equals a bipartisan Senate legislation that would raise annual port security spending by $835 million. Both bills are scheduled for quick action in the House and Senate homeland security committees in the coming weeks.
Proponents of the measures say the government has avoided such spending for too long under the guise of fiscal restraint. Three times since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the House has voted against Democratic efforts to raise spending on port security. But in the wake of a Dubai company’s effort to take over management responsibilities at six major U.S. ports, such opposition appears to be collapsing.
“There simply is no cheap way to be better prepared,” Lieberman said yesterday.
There isn’t a direct connection between port security and spending reductions, but I’m sure a reasonable person could indirectly link over-spending on non-federal issues (and pork barrel madness) with a reduced availability to fund legitimate federal needs like national security. Granted, I don’t have the wisdom of a congressman, so it’s just a thought. I’m just saying that “no cheap way” doesn’t mean we should just throw money around because it makes us feel better. For instance, on health care and education. Maybe if we spent only on legitimate funding needs, we’d stop worrying about cheap and stop focusing on effective.