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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 09-19-05, 08:04 AM   #1
grundle
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Bush's proposed spending on Katrina amounts to $400,000 per family.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editor...l?id=110007278

The GOP's New New Deal

The bill for Katrina may fall due next November.

BY STEPHEN MOORE

Monday, September 19, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

There's an old adage that no one in Washington can tell the difference between $1 million and $1 billion. Seldom has that Beltway learning disability been more vividly demonstrated than in the weeks since Katrina.

When President Bush announced last Thursday that the feds would take a lead role in the reconstruction of New Orleans, he in effect established a new $200 billion federal line of credit. To put that $200 billion in perspective, we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America.

This flood of money comes on the heels of a massive domestic spending build-up in progress well before Katrina traveled its ruinous path. Federal spending, not counting the war in Iraq, was growing by 7% this year, which came atop the 30% hike over Mr. Bush's first term. Republicans were already being ridiculed as the Grand Old Spending Party by taxpayer groups. Their check-writing binge in response to the hurricane only confirmed, as conservative leader Paul Weyrich put it, that "the GOP, once the party of small government, has lost its bearings and the Republican establishment doesn't seem to get the message that the grass roots of the party is enraged."

Congressman Todd Aiken of Missouri complains that Congress was forced to vote on the $62 billion first installment of funds "even though we knew a lot of the money may go to waste." Mr. Aiken and several dozen other House conservatives proposed an amendment to the $62 billion hurricane relief bill that would offset at least some of the emergency spending by cutting other government programs a meager 2.5 cents out of every dollar that federal agencies spend.

Was the amendment defeated? No. The Republican leadership would not even allow it to come to a vote, on the grounds that there was no waste which could be easily identified and cut.

Dozens of other reasonable proposals to offset Katrina's tidal wave of deficit spending have been similarly repelled. Mike Pence of Indiana suggested a one-year delay on the multitrillion dollar new prescription drug benefit for senior citizens. For 220 years, seniors have managed without this give-away; one more year of waiting would hardly be an act of cruelty. It would save $40 billion, but there were no takers. Then there was the well-publicized idea by Republicans and several Democrats in Congress to cut $25 billion for bike paths, train-station renovations, nature trails, parking garages, auto museums and 6,000 other such pork projects in the just-enacted highway law. It was torpedoed by the powerful committee chairmen who patched this abominable bill together in the first place.

It's only been 10 days since reconstruction funds were voted out of Congress, but there are already stories of misspending. For example, the Louis Vuitton store reported selling two monographed luxury handbags for $800 each, both paid for by women with FEMA's $2,000 emergency disaster relief debit cards.

Rapacious trial lawyers are already on the hunt rounding up Katrina's victims to unleash a barrage of multimillion dollar lawsuits. Now they have been empowered by Congress to finance these lawsuits against taxpayers . . . with taxpayer dollars.

The government has just allocated $250 million for "counseling and legal services." After 9/11, the federal government authorized tens of millions of dollars for "counseling" to traumatized families of the victims. A Republican Study Committee audit discovered that millions went for "peace" and "diversity" workshops, a "yearlong celebration of trees, gardens and other healing places," theater workshops, anger-management classes and multiculturalism programs to discuss "who we are and why we are here." (Isn't that what churches are for?)

Politicians from seemingly every congressional district appear to be elbowing their way to the orgy table for a slice of this $200-billion pie. At last count, 12 governors declared their states emergency disaster areas, and thus eligible for federal aid. Iowa, Michigan and Utah, for example, states nowhere near the Hurricane, are lining up for disaster relief funds.

Conspicuously missing from the post-Katrina spending debate is a question for some brave soul in Congress to ask, What is the appropriate and constitutional role here for the federal government? Before the New Deal taught us that the federal government is the solution to every malady, most congresses and presidents would have concluded that the federal government's role was minimal. One of our greatest presidents, Democrat Grover Cleveland, vetoed an appropriation for drought victims because there was no constitutional authority to spend for such purposes. Today he would be ridiculed by Ted Kennedy as "incompassionate."

We all want to see New Orleans rebuilt, but it does not follow that this requires more than $100 billion in federal aid. Chicago was burned to the ground in 1871; San Francisco was leveled by an earthquake in 1906; and in 1900 Galveston, Texas, was razed by a hurricane even more ferocious than Katrina. In each instance, these proud cities were rebuilt rapidly and to even greater glory--with hardly any federal money.

Alas, in the world of compassionate conservatism, the quaint notion of limited federal power has fallen to the wayside in favor of an ethic that has Uncle Sam as first, second and third responder to crisis. FEMA, despite its woeful performance, will grow in size and stature. So will the welfare state. Welcome to the new New Dealism of the GOP.

Both political parties are now willing and eager to spend tax dollars as if they were passing out goody-bags to grabby four-year-olds at a birthday party. The Democrats are already forging their 2006 and 2008 message: We will spend just as many trillions of dollars as Republicans, but we will spend them better than they do. After witnessing the first few Republican misappropriations for Hurricane Katrina, the Democrats may very well be right.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal and a member of its editorial board.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:13 AM   #2
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Both political parties are now willing and eager to spend tax dollars as if they were passing out goody-bags to grabby four-year-olds at a birthday party.
AMEN!
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Old 09-19-05, 08:20 AM   #3
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Reasonable proposal - I don't see any in the WSJ piece.

Reasonable proposals: revenue: raise the income tax rate for the wealthy in this country; spending: cut defense spending

The above 2 are reasonable proposals that will bring in a bunch of money.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquitobite
Both political parties are now willing and eager to spend tax dollars as if they were passing out goody-bags to grabby four-year-olds at a birthday party.
AMEN!
The Democratic Party is not in control of the appropriations process. The Repubs are in total control of that process. Let's not try and shift the blame (if there is blame) to the Democrats on this.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Alas, in the world of compassionate conservatism, the quaint notion of limited federal power has fallen to the wayside in favor of an ethic that has Uncle Sam as first, second and third responder to crisis. FEMA, despite its woeful performance, will grow in size and stature. So will the welfare state. Welcome to the new New Dealism of the GOP.
That's what I'm afraid of... we need to get real Republicans back into office to try and straighten this mess out.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:25 AM   #6
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'Real' Republicans got us into this mess in the first place.

You need to return the other party to power. Then you'll see some changes.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman2
The Democratic Party is not in control of the appropriations process. The Repubs are in total control of that process. Let's not try and shift the blame (if there is blame) to the Democrats on this.
democrats in the senate are free to filibuster the budget until there is no fat in there
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Old 09-19-05, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman2
The Democratic Party is not in control of the appropriations process. The Repubs are in total control of that process. Let's not try and shift the blame (if there is blame) to the Democrats on this.
The Reps are responsible, I just personally don't think the Dems would be doing a better job at this point, esp on the spending side.

If I were one to believe in grand conspiracies you might almost think the Reps are doing this on purpose. They know they can't stay in power forever and if the budget was still on track and the Dems got in power the prevailing feeling is they will expand Gov't [spending]. If however they get back into power w/ the budget in a mess all their effort will have to go into that and once it gets back on track the Reps would be in a position to get back into power and the whole thing starts all over again...
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Last edited by nemein; 09-19-05 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman2
'Real' Republicans got us into this mess in the first place.
Weren't you the one the other day who was saying Bush is more like a Dem, just like Clinton was more like a Rep, maybe it was someone else though?


Quote:
You need to return the other party to power. Then you'll see some changes.
It's the thought of those changes that keep me voting for Reps/Libertarians
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Last edited by nemein; 09-19-05 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:42 AM   #10
mosquitobite
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman2
'Real' Republicans got us into this mess in the first place.

You need to return the other party to power. Then you'll see some changes.


Just because they want to enact "pay go" doesn't mean they'll slow down the spending!

It really must suck to have such horrible contempt for people who make more money than oneself. To think that they OWE you and I for their fortunes.

Optimism vs pessimism

THAT is the only difference between the 2 parties now.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemein
we need to get real Republicans back into office to try and straighten this mess out.

They are extinct.
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Old 09-19-05, 09:41 AM   #12
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Not extinct, but frustrated.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:14 AM   #13
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$400,000 could build a beach front home "virtually anywhere in America"? Uh, I seriously doubt that.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uberjoe
$400,000 could build a beach front home "virtually anywhere in America"? Uh, I seriously doubt that.
True... not anywhere... only where there's a coastline or beach.

Yes, $400,000 COULD build a beach-front home anywhere in America...given the property. $400,000 could buy the land and build a house virtually anywhere in America.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy
democrats in the senate are free to filibuster the budget until there is no fat in there

So now it's the Democrat's fault because they failed to obstruct the Republicans?

They all are the same way.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:52 AM   #16
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Both parties are going to spend every penny they can get their hands on. It's just a matter of what they spend it on.

Democrats have a record of the results of 40 years of their spending. Republicans don't have much of a record to judge their results yet but I doubt this spending on New Orleans will end up as something they'll want to point out as an accomplishment in the future.
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Old 09-19-05, 03:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy
democrats in the senate are free to filibuster the budget until there is no fat in there
You'd better read the senate rules again. Budget resolutions can't be filibustered.
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Old 09-19-05, 03:30 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by grundle
We all want to see New Orleans rebuilt, but it does not follow that this requires more than $100 billion in federal aid. Chicago was burned to the ground in 1871; San Francisco was leveled by an earthquake in 1906; and in 1900 Galveston, Texas, was razed by a hurricane even more ferocious than Katrina. In each instance, these proud cities were rebuilt rapidly and to even greater glory--with hardly any federal money.


This isn't 1871, 1900 or 1906, it's the year 2005. Quit trying to compare this to a disaster from over one hundred years ago. Happen to have any details about federal money used during the recontruction after the civil war?
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Old 09-19-05, 04:10 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by classicman2
'Real' Republicans got us into this mess in the first place.

You need to return the other party to power. Then you'll see some changes.
The DNC doesn't have a better track record. Until this administration, I think they had a worse track record.

I don't know what to do about this any more. I think it's the same as with global warming: political infighting will ensure that the system remains deadlocked until the situation becomes truly unsustainable. That will be a hard time for America, and also a very interesting time.

- David Stein
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Old 09-19-05, 04:12 PM   #20
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So true. Stein and I will run together on the reform ticket. Once in office, we will become evil (I will become evil, Stein will become eviler ) and we will also suck.



Wish it could end.
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Old 09-19-05, 05:22 PM   #21
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$400,000 to every family? This is getting F'ing ridiculous.
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Old 09-19-05, 05:54 PM   #22
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$400,000 wouldn't go to every family... come on people. We are talking about rebuilding much of the infrastructure of an entire city. How much will knocking down and rebuilding the Superdome alone cost? How much does it cost to decontaminate an entire city that's been sitting in waste for weeks? How do we restore living conditions, transportation, sewer, wildlife, rebuild all of the federal facilities (post office, libraries, police force), hospitals... oh, and I haven't even gotten to the levies or coastal restoration yet (this project alone will cost many billions). That's all without giving a penny to a resident.

The above things are a given... things we MUST do, unless people would honestly consider abondoning the area to remain as a toxic wasteland nevr to be inhabited again.

Now, I'm not saying the estimate cost is correct, too much, or too little... but comparing it to giving cash to private residents simply makes no sense.
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Old 09-19-05, 05:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfsdfd
The DNC doesn't have a better track record. Until this administration, I think they had a worse track record.

I don't know what to do about this any more. I think it's the same as with global warming: political infighting will ensure that the system remains deadlocked until the situation becomes truly unsustainable. That will be a hard time for America, and also a very interesting time.

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Old 09-19-05, 06:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
$400,000 wouldn't go to every family... come on people. We are talking about rebuilding much of the infrastructure of an entire city.
Agreed. But that is also above and beyond insurance that most people had on the homes, cities, etc., isn't it?
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Old 09-19-05, 06:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by uberjoe
$400,000 could build a beach front home "virtually anywhere in America"? Uh, I seriously doubt that.
I seriously doubt any family would ever see anything close to $400,000. The government might promise that to the victims, but I think in reality, the victims probably will get a small loan despite how expensive the relief bills are.

This is likely to end up like the spending in Iraq. Billions are given to corporations, but the people on the ground will see very little of it; ex: "where's our bulletproof vests and armored jeeps?"

The best idea I've heard is getting rid of the highway bill and using the money towards relief efforts. I guess that private college in Tennessee will just have to wait for that parking garage.

One thing is certain, more Americans are regretting the costs of the recent wars. Like the current attitude must be, "Goddammit, why the fuck did we spend so much money and resources on these countries? We would have been better off spending it on ourselves." At least that is my attitude now.
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