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Has Our President Gone Mad?

Perhaps I need to get my vision checked, but President Bush certainly bore a close resemblance to LBJ tonight. This is not good, and conservatives won’t stand for his appetite for Great Society programs and big-government Republicanism.

Here’s how Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.) reacted to Bush’s speech:

"With a disaster this size, no program is sacrosanct, no cost-cutting is off the table. What Americans know is that we in Congress-like them-need to balance our budget. We need to take a long look at reducing farm subsidies, at hacking pork barrel projects, even at across-the-board cuts."

"I am sorry that I cannot agree with my colleague Leader Delay who said we’re running a lean government. Republicans weren’t put in office to be satisfied with the size of our government. If there’s any of our ’94 fervor left, we’ll do better." "A few proposals that we should consider are:

  • Require the Interior Department to sell 10% of all federal land
  • Require the Interior Department to sell 10% of all federal landEliminate the billions of dollars of corporate farm subsidies
  • Postpone rolling out the Medicare prescription drug plan
  • Means-test Social Security and Medicare prescription drug benefits

"$200 billion is half of all discretionary, non-defense spending. Conservatives have to come up with creative cuts in government, or liberals will raise our taxes or indebt our great grandkids with their massive spending."

"This has been a horrific natural disaster that has torn apart a large portion of our country and took many lives. But in this disaster, we have a God-given opportunity to finally, permanently reduce the size of government."

And Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.), who’s the author of a Katrina oversight bill:

“I’m disappointed, however, that the President has not done more to demand that Congress and other federal agencies make the same sacrifices millions of Americans are already making.  There is no charity without sacrifice.  My neighbors who are caring for these victims are giving up something.  A family who gives $100 dollars to a displaced family is deciding to not spend that $100 on dinners out, new clothes or other needs and desires.  Congress and the federal government, however, is refusing to make this choice.  All of the funds being spent on this relief effort are being put on a credit card that will be paid for by future generations.”

“President Bush’s Office of Management and Budget has identified $15.3 billion that could be cut from wasteful or inefficient government programs.  The President needs to lead and demand that Congress reduce this wasteful Washington spending to help finance this relief effort.  It is inexcusable for the White House and Congress to not even make the effort to find at least some offsets to this new spending.  No one in America believes the federal government is operating at peak efficiency and can’t tighten its belt.  Other sources of savings could include the nearly 15,000 lower-priority pork-barrel projects Congress funded this year to the tune of $27 billion.”

“President Bush should also accept the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid who support a bill I authored with Senator Barack Obama that would create a Hurricane Katrina Chief Financial Officer.  A team of inspector generals is a poor substitute for one chief financial officer who will carefully watch dollars as they go out the door.  A clear lesson in this tragedy is that one point person tends to be more effective than many point persons.  We need to conduct oversight before the fact, not after the fact when it is too late to undo mistakes.”

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Written By

Mr. Bluey, a contributing editor to Human Events, is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation. He maintains a blog at RobertBluey.com.

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