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Opening Arguments

It's alive

So, President Bush has revealed his $2.9 trillion budget, and it focuses heavily on defense and security, and upset Democrats will do their own version putting in their domestic-spening priorities, and even some Republicans are upset and blah, blah, blah:

The president's plan would permanently extend tax reductions that now are set to expire in 2010, a change that would reduce anticipated tax revenues by $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Democrats oppose him on that, too.

Even with the lost tax revenue, the president said his spending blueprint would lead to a balanced federal budget in 2012. He projected a $239 billion deficit at the end of fiscal 2008, down from a projected $244 billion for this year.

Even some leading Republicans were skeptical.

''Quite honestly, Humpty Dumpty could reach balance in the next five years'' using the assumptions that Bush made, said Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee.

I don't know how anybody can make any rational arguments one way or the other about the federal budget. It's become so big and complicated that no one can comprehend it, so we're left to just poke holes based on our own politics. But the budget is a Frankenstein's monster; it has been given the spark of life and will go on with its self-sustaining appetites, no matter what arguments are made.

If you still believe in the Constitution, at least Bush's priorities are right. The federal government has a defined and specific national defense role, and most of the things it dabbles in domestically are not authorized. But there are many things in security and foreign-policy spending that have little or nothing to do with defense. And the last time I looked, Republicans weren't too fussy about the constitutionality of domestic spending.


Tue, 02/06/2007 - 8:57am

Well, if you want to get all strict on the Constitution, we'd need a Congressionally declared war on Iraq before we'd be good spending a ton of our money there. (Or, really, our children's money, since we're borrowing most of it.)