Deroy Murdock @ NRO:
‘We don’t have a spending problem.”
Those soothing words are apparently none other than Barack Obama’s. As the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore reported, House Speaker John Boehner says Obama insisted to him that America has a problem with health care, not federal expenditures.
Maybe the spendaholic-in-chief is missing something. America is being tortured by a free-spending federal government that acts irresponsibly on good days and illegally on bad ones.
In just the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, Washington dug Americans $293 billion deeper down the hole, the Congressional Budget Office announcedJanuary 8. That pace likely will make this the fifth consecutive year with a federal deficit exceeding $1 trillion. This was obscene enough when George W. Bush botched the 2008 financial meltdown. Since then, Obama gleefully has frolicked in red ink.
Also, federal welfare spending is set to increase 80 percent between now and fiscal year 2022 and total $11 trillion. What fuels this explosion in the dole? According to a January 15 analysis by Senate Budget Committee Republicans, bureaucrats use “aggressive outreach to those who say they do not need financial assistance.” Also, “recruitment workers are even instructed on how to ‘overcome the word “no”’ when individuals resist enrollment.”
This week, the Republican-led House approved $33 billion in Hurricane Sandy assistance. This sum, atop another $17 billion, includes such non-sequiturs as $10 million for FBI paychecks, $50 million to plant trees around America, $150 million for fisheries, and $2 billion for interstate highways.
Enough wobbly Republicans joined spend-happy Democrats to save these and other slabs of pork.
The boarded-up storefronts, gutted walls, and missing floors of numerous establishments in Lower Manhattan hint at the far graver pain that Sandy’s victims still endure in demolished parts of the Northeast. Republicans should have used this legislation as a tutorial on limiting disaster relief to relieving disaster, not opening the vault to those with the stickiest fingers.
Meanwhile, Washington’s record-shattering profligacy may be less frightening than its burgeoning lawlessness. Legal, schmeagle. Washington does whatever it wants.
• Senate Budget Committee Republicans report that the Agriculture and Homeland Security departments “have promotions to increase the number of immigrants on welfare despite legal prohibitions on welfare use among those seeking admittance into the United States.”
• Congressman Tom McClintock (R., Calif.) complains that Congress routinely spends tax dollars on programs whose legal authorization has expired. This is like using a company credit card years after you were fired.