Monday, March 01, 2010

Jim Bunning: the man who brought the entire federal government to a screeching halt. Good for him.

The collection of drunken sailors known as the Democratic-controlled U. S. Congress was threatened with sobriety late last week when Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky demanded that a bill providing an extension in unemployment benefits (brace yourself for this outlandish concept) actually be paid for.

"Whut?" they hiccupped. "Who izz thisss man?" they slurred, as they stumbled to their feet, wakened from their prodigality-induced stupor and stumbling to their microphones to condemn the insensitive action that threatened to spoil their deficit spending party.

Instead of hailing Bunning's defense of fiscal responsibility, the politicians now grown fat and torpid from feeding at the public trough unmolested got up and--after stabilizing themselves by firmly grasping their podiums--portrayed themselves as heroes and claimed that Jim Bunning was bringing on financial Armageddon.

Only, I am afraid, in our dreams.

Here is the U. S. Department of Transportation's press release claiming that Jim Bunning has done everything, if you listen to Jake, except bring the entire federal government to a screeching halt:
That legislation covered tax credits for COBRA health coverage, unemployment insurance for 400,000 people, as well as the short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund. The Fund supports all surface transportation programs for the nation – highways, bridges, transit and safety inspections, as well as efforts to encourage seat belt use and to fight distracted and impaired driving.
The DOT claims it is putting 2,000 workers on furlough, "temporarily shutting down highway reimbursements to states worth hundreds of millions of dollars, national anti-drunk driving efforts, and multi-million dollar construction projects across the country."

Yeah. Right.

Of course none of this will ever happen. And if it did, it would be because the Congress didn't take the simple expedient of paying for what it proposes.

16 comments:

オテモヤン said...
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Lee said...

A friend of mine, a retired Navy chief, bristles at the accusation that Congress spends money like a drunken sailor. "I was a drunken sailor," Dave tells me, "and I never spent money I didn't have."

Thomas said...

Funny that Bunning didn't do this with our much more expensive excursion into Iraq, or for our huge aid to Israel. He has consistently opposed the bailouts though, which makes him more consistent than most Republicans not named Ron Paul.

Lee said...

Can we assume Bunning thinks the Iraq war and the aid to Israel is necessary?

The position that there is wasteful spending going on does not imply that all spending is wasteful.

This may not be an issue with consistency as much as it is with priorities.

Thomas said...

It absolutely has to do with priorities: the massive neoconservative project of building a democratic Middle East in the American image takes precedence over caring for the needy at home. It happened when the National Guard's resources that should have been available to protect citizens during Hurricane Katrina were tied up in a Utopian project, and it's happening now.

Lee said...

Well, at least we've derailed the notion that Bunning was necessarily being inconsistent.

Art said...

Lee, you are aware that Bunning never argued about the need for the extension. Thomas is spot-on, Bunning was and is quite inconsistent.

And the typical political coward. A courageous leader would have said something to the effect of "Here, in the forms of this $10 billion of earmarks, are items that my own party controls and can use to fund this needed expense. These are things that we don't have to get from the opposition, nor do we need their approval. These are what I have convinced my colleagues to put on the table, the opposition be darned."

But the words "courageous" and "leader" are rarely, if ever, associated with Bunning.

Lee said...

> you are aware that Bunning never argued about the need for the extension. Thomas is spot-on, Bunning was and is quite inconsistent.

Neither of you have explained how.

> "These are what I have convinced my colleagues to put on the table, the opposition be darned."

Once Bunning backed down, the vote went 78-19. That would indicate Bunning didn't convinced his colleagues of anything. Does that still make him inconsistent?

Would you rather have consistent profligacy than inconsistent thriftiness?

Art said...

Once Bunning backed down, the vote went 78-19. That would indicate Bunning didn't convinced his colleagues of anything. Does that still make him inconsistent?

Yes.

And it reveals his stunt for what it was - an act of grandstanding, devoid of any sort of leadership or courage.

(Well, maybe Bunning was just being a spiteful juvenile, trying to toss a wrench into his own party's election season upcoming. He may well have done that, with his temper tantrum.)

Lee said...

You still haven't shown how, Art. I suppose if you repeat something over and over, it's proof by iteration.

I'm disappointed you didn't answer my last question.

Art said...

Would you rather have consistent profligacy than inconsistent thriftiness?

Why not consistent thriftiness?

Lee said...

You're pretty evasive when you want to be, Art.

So if you prefer consistent thriftiness, you would vote for Ron Paul in a race against, well, any Democrat.

Is that correct?

In fact, why don't you name a Democrat who you know to be consistently more thrifty than the sometimes-thrifty Sen. Bunning?

I don't know any, myself. Certainly, anyone who voted for the so-called "stimulus" doesn't qualify. Nor anyone who supports the Obaminable health-care legislation.

Maybe you do.

Or maybe you'd vote for a Democrat, no matter how profligate, against any Republican, no matter how thrifty. Don't know that you would, but I'm still trying to establish whether you prefer inconsistent thrift to consistent profligacy.

Thomas said...

If you look at some markers, such as executive spending or the deficit, Republicans actually spend more than Democrats do. Fiscally conservative Republicans are in practice few and far between, though there are some (remember, Reagan was the one who really drove up the deficit, and supply siders argued at the time that it didn't matter). Something big has to change within the Republican party's leadership before it can be called fiscally conservative, and one of those things is retaining the skepticism towards the military industrial complex that conservatives used to possess. Going after social welfare or employment benefits is more a distraction than it is a commitment to fiscal conservatism. It focuses on a part to the exclusion of the whole (and it seems to always focus on the part that most hurts the poor, for some reason).

Lee said...

> If you look at some markers, such as executive spending or the deficit, Republicans actually spend more than Democrats do.

You might have been able to claim that before the Obama administration. You can't claim it any longer. Obama's deficit in the first year of his presidency is bigger than all of GWB's deficits combined. In his first year as president. And it keeps getting worse.

Clinton had help from a Republican Congress. One thing that does seem to help is having a President and a Congress from different parties. I've always rather liked "gridlock".

I don't know where you got the idea that Reagan "drove up" the deficits, as if his Democratic Congresses consisted of a bunch of tch-tching misers. He did spend more on defense, but you know, we actually got something to show for that, didn't we? No more "Evil Empire."

Thomas said...

"I don't know where you got the idea that Reagan "drove up' the deficits."

http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

Lee said...

The graph does not say Reagan had no help from Congress.

I happen to remember those days. Every time Reagan tried to cut a program, any program, that was not military spending, the media was all over him. Everything from school lunches to help for the homeless to the National Endowment of the Arts. There is only so much one president can do.

And you did not deny that the Obama deficit ruins any characterization of Democratic thrifty.

http://zdavatz.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/bush_deficit_vs_obama_deficit_in_pictures_2.jpeg