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Congress Wastes Away America’s Money

It is never enough for politicians in Washington

If money grows on trees as politicians inside the Beltway seem to believe, President Bush should’ve planted a forest on the south lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Earth Day. On the other hand, the trees wouldn’t be perennial; new species would have to be planted each year, as Democrats and Republicans don’t seem to understand that you can only milk a cow so often (and only so much.)

If fiscal liberals think America’s farmers are stupid Christian Republicans, I’d rather have the rednecks from fly-over country (that large mass between midtown Manhattan and San Francisco) balancing the federal checkbook. Simpletons they may be, but at least they know how to add and subtract. As for fiscal liberals, NCLB doesn’t seem to be narrowing the achievement gap in mathematics.

A short time ago, President Bush asked Congress to pass a $92.2 billion emergency appropriations bill to fund our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as to help rebuild Katrina-devastated New Orleans. Of course, he should have known that getting an appropriations bill through Congress without adding pork is like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube. As of now, the cost of the emergency spending bill stands at $109 billion, $16.8 billion more than President Bush had requested. Not only is the Congress over budget, but somehow the Rhode Island School of Design is getting emergency Katrina funds. Sounds like Congress needs to go back to school for remedial geography. At the request of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, President Bush has issued a veto threat, which liberals are decrying as shafting our men and women in uniform. Quick, somebody take a picture of Democrats supporting the military!

As taxpayers, Americans are becoming increasingly annoyed with reports of record deficits despite increases in tax revenue. The New York Times, in an article whose length did not exceed five sentences buried in the back of the paper that the Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury reported a 14.6% increase ($274 billion) in federal revenue in 2005, causing them to reduce the deficit forecast some $50 billion. As icing on top of the cake, the Treasury’s monthly report for May showed that total tax receipts for the first seven months of FY 2006 are up 11.2%, with a $56 billion increase in individual tax receipts, and a $40 billion increase in corporate receipts, according to the Wall Street Journal in an editorial. And yet liberals and some Republicans are still pleading poverty.

In light of the gloom and doom economic picture painted by the liberal press, unemployment is down to 4.7%, with 5.2 million jobs having been created since 2003. Yet, Nancy Pelosi managed to send me a letter for campaign money (don’t ask; I’m wondering the same thing), in which she described us as being faced with one of the worst economies in history. The fact that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are employed somehow doesn’t sit right with Pelosi’s lie. I guess the party is so desperate she’s asking Republicans for money.

The liberal press, despite the good economic news, had a field day with the recently passed $70 billion extension of the 15% capital gains tax rate and the shielding of middle income earners from the AMT through a one year extension of the $62,550 exemption. While in reality the bill was aimed at the middle class, as they are hit by both taxes as a result of liberals’ refusal to repeal them altogether, the New York Times announced Friday that the bill was another giveaway to the rich. However, at the beginning of the week, the Times seemed to support the bill, as it helped the middle class. Their editorial viewpoints, disguised as front-page news, morphed throughout the week, with the changes looking similar to this:

  • Monday: "tax cut extension will benefit middle class"
  • Tuesday: "AMT wrongfully affects middle class"
  • Wednesday: "tax cut extension will benefit upper-middle income families"
  • Thursday: "tax cut extension will benefit a few wealthy families"
  • Thursday’s actual editorial: "The Republican Agenda for 2006: Tax Cuts for a Favored Few"

In their May 11 (Thursday) editorial, the Times claimed that if it wasn’t for the 2003 tax cuts to the middle class, such as the $1,000 child tax credit, which allow them to significantly reduce their tax bill, we wouldn’t have to shield them from the AMT. In sum, we wouldn’t need to give middle-class tax cuts if we didn’t give middle-class tax cuts. While the Times becomes deeply concerned anytime a middle-class family’s tax bill is low relative to income, that’s how tax bills should be. Never mind the fact that because of the tax cuts, revenue is up, investment is up 9.2%, and 70% of Americans are homeowners as a result. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got their spin.

It is no surprise that the New York Times completely misses the boat on the tax issue. In order to satisfy their need to hate George W. Bush, they leave out the part about the 28% AMT never being indexed to inflation after its creation in 1969 to prevent millionaires from deducting their way out of paying taxes. But more likely, the Times believe that the middle-class, S.U.V.-driving families of America should be shafted on April 15, if for no other reason than to punish them for leaving the Democratic Party. These middle-class tax cuts, according to the Times, are responsible for our record deficit.

What you never hear coming from the Times is the egregious pork spending mentioned as a cause for our deficit. The watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste reported that the government spent a record $29 billion on pork this year and over $200 billion since 1991, including:

  • $232 million for a "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska
  • $50 million for an indoor rain forest in Iowa
  • $728,000 for Vidalia onion research
  • $797,00 for an outhouse in Pennsylvania
  • $436 for hammers (a piece)

Middle-class tax cuts are wrong, but there is nothing wrong with Congress’ oldest mantra, "No money? Charge it to China!" If it is considered ill-advised to give credit cards to kids, why in hell would we give one to Congress?

Unfortunately, tax cuts, which give money back to those who earned it, are factored in as part of our deficit. The raiding of the Social Security trust fund for unnecessary pet projects is counted as part of the deficit. Next, the money which goes in our pocket will be part of the deficit. It is never enough for the politicians. Instead of figuring out how they can get more money through taxes, they should stop wasting our money.

Written By

Mr. Lewis is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

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