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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fight the Omnibus

Mitch McConnell has come up with a great way to highlight the differences between the parties. While Harry Reid attempts to rush through his mega-omnibus bill, McConnell has proposed a one-page continuing resolution to keep the government funded at current levels.

The WSJ explains
why this omnibus is such an abomination.
Defenders argue that the bill is restrained because it freezes overall spending for federal agencies at 2010 levels. But 2010 was an inflated budget with a $1.3 trillion deficit. Paul Ryan, soon to be House Budget Chairman, notes that nondefense discretionary spending rose 24% over those two years. Add stimulus funding and federal agency spending soared to $796 billion in 2010 from $434 billion, an 84% spending increase. (See nearby table.) Republicans have promised to return to 2008 spending levels, and the omnibus will make that much harder.

Then there are the pork and policy riders, such as a food safety bill with new authority for the Food and Drug Administration. The bill's 6,630 earmarks will cost more than $8.1 billion, according to Citizens Against Government Waste. While that's fewer than in 2009, what happened to the earmark ban promised by Republicans and supported by President Obama?

The late John Murtha of Pennsylvania is so powerful he's still getting pork from his grave: $10 million for the John Murtha Foundation. Ted Kennedy also scored a legacy earmark. The omnibus includes $8 million for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute secured by Congressman Ed Markey (D., Mass.). Thad Cochran of Mississippi, one of the GOP Senators who may vote for the bill, secured $6 million for the Mississippi Polymer Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi.
And here is the explanation of why the Democrats are pushing for this.
The bill makes a special effort to pad spending for programs likely to be targeted by Republicans next year, so any future cuts will occur off a larger baseline. That includes $36 million more for public broadcasting, $1.5 billion for high-speed rail projects that many states say they can't afford, and $3 billion for green energy pork.

Republicans should be especially upset with the $1.1 billion to implement phase one of ObamaCare. This gives the Administration's bureaucracy a running start and means that Republicans will have to pass new legislation to rescind the funding—which Mr. Obama will veto. Why would Republicans vote for a bill that makes it harder for them to achieve one of their main political goals?
As Guy Benson reminds us, President Obama has spoken out against earmarking and expressed his regrets for having had to sign previous bills larded with earmarks. But that isn't stopping him, as Jake Tapper reports, from throwing his support behind a bill that violates the principles he supposedly believes in. He's hiding behind security concerns.
The Obama administration today told Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill containing $8 billion in earmark projects, even though just a few days ago the president said one of the lessons he learned from the 2010 midterm elections was to take more seriously the public’s disapproval of – and his pledge to oppose -- earmarks.

“We wish there were no earmarks and are troubled with their presence” in the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, an administration source told ABC News. “But Secretary Gates has told the President that the alternative bill” – a continuing resolution that for one year funds the government, which is due to run out of cash at the end of the week – “doesn't have the funding critical for several national security priorities.”
So in order to get the security spending he says we need, he's willing to sign on to billions in other spending. He didn't seem too concerned about that security spending while the Democrats were postponing funding next year's budget throughout the entire year and stalling things until after the election.

Meanwhile, some Republican old bulls who haven't learned the lesson of the past year have padded the omnibus with their own earmarks and are said to be supporting the bill. We'll see if the Democrats up for election in 2012 are willing to pal up with these guys and Daniel Inouye and Harry Reid to support the omnibus. It's discouraging that these Republicans would throw their support behind this mammoth bill instead of standing against it.

UPDATE: Ah, sweet victory. Reuters is reporting that Harry Reid is dropping his insidious omnibus bill and will pass a continuing resolution to keep funding the government at the current levels. I guess he realized that he didn't have hte votes and his members were probably begging him not to make them vote for this stinker.


Tacitus Voltaire said...

o.t., a little update for pat patterson on his assertion, which he refused to provide documentation for:

most of Mercedes, VW and BMW profits stay in the US so that plants can be maintained

this would be difficult to prove re VW, since

Volkswagen is opening a plant in Chattanooga Tennessee in early 2011. This will be VW’s first vehicle production unit in the US

as for mercedes, only a couple of SUVs and one minivan are produced here:

as for pat's overall unsubstantiated assertion that profits from german cars sold in the united states don't go back to germany, this is difficult to square with our $15.6 billion dollar automotive trade deficit with germany in 2008

and keep in mind that our automotive trade deficit is only profits that german auto manufacturers make selling in the united states minus the american profits selling in germany. the total amount of profit that the german companies make would of course be much larger

please, pat, don't expect me to believe assertions that you pull out of thin air

now, my original point was that the extension of the bush era tax cuts for people making over $250k/yr will, in part, go back to places like germany and france as profits from luxury items like expensive cars, wine, and perfume, and help finance their socialist retirement and health insurance arrangements. and ordinary taxpayers like you will help pay for them

LarryD said...

The appeal to envy leaves me cold.

The important thing about the tax rates for $250k and up, is that a lot of small businesses (70% of what manufacturing remains in the US, for instance) are reported on their owners personal income tax forms. Subchapter S corporations and the like. Hitting them with a tax increase will, at best, discourage job growth. At worst it will lead to job destruction. Not a good idea, give the still high unemployment and anemic recovery.

mark said...

There is no shortage of "abominations" by both parties. Obama and dems are caving to the immoral tax cuts for the rich (while repubs continue to exaggerate and lie about the benefits to the economy. Extending unemployment will, according to the CBO, be more stimulative to the economy). Repubs are caving to another stimulus plan just to get the tax cuts. A month ago, the self-proclaimed americanpatriot vowed here that tea*aggers would not allow the out of control spending. Not even close. I knew repubs were lying about restoring fiscal responsibility, but I did think the charade would last a bit longer.

Tacitus Voltaire said...


the statistics i saw indicated that only 2% of small business owners make over $250k/yr, and the democratic position generally has been to not get rid of the bush tax cut for people making under that. now, the definition of small business is pretty vague, and i don't have a link for that figure to hand. the increases on income over $250k/yr, if the cuts had been repealed, would be on the marginal income over that amount, which only adds up to a few hundred bucks for the first 50 grand in income over 250k. if it's true that only 2% of small businesses maks enough to be hit at all, the impact of this on hiring - admittedly not good - would be considerably less than the amount estimated to be added to the deficit that is estimated for the two year extension, about 150 billion. my point about that is not an "appeal to envy" - what would the point be, anyway? - but merely to point out that it is likely that a considerable amount of the continued break for the top 6% of american earners would be spent on foreign manufactured luxury goods and leave the country, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab

conversely, people in the bottom 90% of earners who are out of a job and collecting unemployment are considerably less likely to buy german luxury autos or french perfume, so the money spent on unemployment extension - which of course also adds to the deficit - is much more likely to stay in the united states as purchases of food and as rent and mortgage payments

Skay said...

Great update news Betsy!!!!!!

equitus said...

The desperation is palpable in this thread. The supporters of statist economics here have been beat down pretty bad lately and are obsessing on arcane and irrelevant details to support their faith. The gracious thing would be to let them continue living in their alternative universe just a bit longer.

Tacitus Voltaire said...

Meanwhile, some Republican old bulls who haven't learned the lesson of the past year

it's very touching to hear you all grandiously pronounce on the "old bulls" who you imagine you have power over. the republican party is not a branch of the federal government subject to public oversight and control, and the "old bulls" will soon show you that they are the ones that own it. they know very well they way around constutuents without large bags of cash such as yourselves who come around to their offices and meetings making demands and threats. you'll have better luck forming your own party and getting into office on your own terms than attempting to bend the rich, powerful, and very crafty republican party organization to your ends

and let me give you a warning - them fellers don't play nice

Tacitus Voltaire said...

p.s. - i stated that i don't have a source for the assertion that only 2% of small businesses, for our purposes businesses where the income of the business is taxed as personal income (as in a one person LLC), have incomes over $250k - i merely heard it asserted on tv

i invite somebody to help out and come up with a solid source for the percentage so we can know what it really is