sadly putting these numbers into the game will not magically have the exact correct effects (no economic model would be that perfect )
Pretty scary just how much the US spends on it’s military.
YOU think it’s scary? I live here.
The ironic thing of course is that the neo-cons who first surfaced under Reagan swore they wanted smaller government. In fact, government size and spending has gone up drastically under Reagan, and far more so under Bush. The latter in particular put it into surveillance and defense, but also into “budget-invisible” subsidies for petroleum industries, mercenary armies, etc.
The US could probably spend about half of what it currently does if it stopped spending so much oversees, however a lot of the money is used for defending our allies, who actually need it. The US doesn’t need military bases and embassies larger then capitals in every country, I completely agree. However, a lot of people say, “If we didn’t spend so much here, we could spend more here.” Bad idea, the more the US spends on non-military programs that don’t need it, the more socialist the US will come. The reason why the US is such a rich country is because of our free market system. If anything we should stop spending so much on military, foreign policy, we should stop trying to be allies with everyone, remain a neutral nation. Ally with none(or few), Trade with all. The US has extremely high taxes for a free market economy, and if taxes don’t go down, the US will enter a long hard depression that we will never recover from. Socialism reduces productivity, and encourages poverty. The government should provide for the people, because when the government starts providing for the people, the people become Dependant on the government, and when the government knows it’s people need it, it can manipulate them in any way. Private welfare is better then public welfare, don’t take from me because theres a homeless person under a bridge, ask, or guilt people if you have to into donating to the poor in the US.
And believe it or not, this message will not come with a vote for Ron Paul message. Even though im going too.
That’s a ton of money spent on military and elderly services, no wonder there’s A a huge national debt, and B people scared social security will go under.
We had a good surplus before Bush came into office, despite Social Security. (I liked to joke that Clinton was the best Republican president we had in the 20th century. I really didn’t like him, but he did succeed in balancing the budget which was heavily in arears.) We have the worst national debt now that we’ve ever possessed. Social security is paying for itself, and has for some time. I know there was a brief attempt by Bush to make believe it hasn’t, but even he abandoned that. I don’t know of any other elderly services that are available. And the national debt has been due solely to “defense” expenditures on the War–not that the tax giveaways to the top 1% of USians that Bush and his friends engineered haven’t helped that along.
Not true, the Iraq war is not included into the US budget, it’s considered an emergency item. It contributes to the US debt, but not to the official deficit. What contributes to the deficit is the massive bureaucracy known as the department of homeland security, that other bureaucracy that we like to call the department of education, and that other bureaucracy known as Medicare and Medicaid.
Also, Clinton balanced the budget by cutting defense spending, which is a bad thing. He cut our military units, instead of cutting foreign aid, and our overseas deployments. I believe I read somewhere that spending reduces the most with a republican congress and a democrat president, unfortunately with a democrat congress and a democrat president, welfare is likely to explode. The US has a around a 200 billion dollar deficit right now, not including the iraq war. If we reduce spending by 35%, spending is at year 2000 levels. If we reduce spending, and lower taxes to have a 5-10% surplus, we could pay the debt off in no time with less spending and higher economic growth.
The mtbhub diagram was pretty detailed, but hard to read. Its also President Bush’s proposed budget for 2008, not the actual budget. Below are the actual spending figure for programs over 100B USD for 2006:
050 National defense: 617,155
650 Social security: 552,225
570 Medicare: 365,371
600 Income security: 351,094
550 Health: 295,206
900 Net interest: 226,603
500 Education, training, employment, and social services: 125,880
You can see the whole report at: gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy08/sheets/25_13.xls
617B USD for national defence, and 1,690B USD on social programs. I don’t think military spending is the United States primary problem. 227B USD in debt interest doesn’t help any either.
Try looking at the United States for military spending vs GDP. You find they are #28. Big GDP allows for a big military.
I have found it SO difficult to get undisputed figures on the USA military budget vs social security. It seems everywhere you look the figures are calculated differently
When I went to school, that was called “Creative Accounting.” Come on, guy: you’re smarter than that. You know that the this figure ($699 billion in FY 2007, according to the President’s Office of Management and Budget) really bloats the US federal budget and acts in various ways as an increasingly leaden drag on the economy.
Because having a larger military than the rest of the world combined is great? I would suggest we don’t need to be the policeman of the world. That’s good conservative budgeting, by the way.
The only time we’ve had a Democratic president and a Republican Congress in the 20th century was during Clinton’s administration. Which pretty much puts paid to that quote of yours. As for the “welfare is likely to explode,” that’s about as likely to happen as if Ron Paul were elected instead of McCain, the Iraqi War would continue. People are individuals, not party clones. And the record of Clinton on budgetary matters was exemplary, despite severe cuts across the fiscal board to turn the worst US deficit in history–until then–into a surplus. On the other hand, the last three Republican presidents were all about spend and spend into enormous deficits. There was only one Democratic president in the latter part of the 20th century who spent heavily–LBJ’s administration–and it didn’t begin to approach the deficits of the Republicans I’ve mentioned.
Again, you’re leaving out the Iraqi War, which you just can’t do. The war has already cost in excess of $2 trillion dollars, and could probably be called Bin Ladan’s Favorite Event for all it has given him and cursed us. For the rest: I couldn’t agree more. Cut military spending, withdraw deployments, cut spending on the mercenary units, remove fossil fuel and farm subsidies. Close down the Department of Patriotically Bugging and Opening Your Mail, while restoring the government departments to full funding whose cuts have endangered the citizenry. In short, allow government to manage itself, instead of the rest of us.
It is creative accounting but he is correct. The Iraq Conflict is funded through “supplemental appropriations,” and are not asked for through the normal budget process. The military budget which you are speaking about is totally different from the Iraq budget. You may remember every now and then Speaker Pelosi and several House / Senate Democrats get into rhetorical wars about “funding the war.” If they wanted to end it, they could vote against these supplemental appropriations and general defense spending would not be impacted.
I agree. The only people who speak of Clinton’s military cuts as poor planning are revisionist Republicans. In the 1990s, the Soviet Union had just fallen and there was no need for a large standing army any longer. I still don’t believe there is. Rumsfeldisation would work if people at the Pentagon became more progressive in their thinking and less idealogical in their mentality.
Again, you are exactly right. In the second half of the 20th century, the Congress was almost totally Democratic controlled (and according to Mayhew, Sinclair, and Thorson, divided government has little effect on Presidential legislation passed) and most of the work in the later half of the 20th century was driven by very liberal legislatures. Even Reagan was unable to cut a lot of the meat from Speaker O’Neil’s welfare programs. Nixon was totally ran over by the 1968 class of Democrats and in 1974, the Congress got even more liberal.
Furthermore, Bill Clinton cut welfare in his first term. But as an opinion, I think the guy you are arguing with is foolish for believing we should cut foreign aid programs. The more foreign aid we give out the less we need to spend on defense. If we give poor countires money for education, then they will be able to go to better schools and avoid the cycle of extremism that is bred in the religious schools. In addition, if we able to lift people out of poverty, we are reclaiming America’s moral high ground in the world and quite frankly, it is our duty to do so.
Sorry if I seemed to ramble. The guy you were arguing with is just so wrong, though.
They can’t end it, but remember, that’s because they don’t have a functioning majority in the Senate. (And because, in my opinion, they’ve developed a defeatist mentality.) My point before was just that however glibly one phrases it, the war is a tremendous drag on the economy, an enormous boost to deficits, and a way for a elitist administration to falsely justify the removal of funds from government agencies that are really resource-strapped.
Don’t forget that as the Republicans came to ascendency in Congress during the late 1970s and the 1980s, huge entitlement programs continued to be pushed through on massive budget bills–only from them, instead of the Democrats. Recently, Bush criticized the Democrats for having so much pork in one of the big budget bills, blithely forgetting to mention that 1) more than half the pork was from Republican legislators, and 2) the Democrats had actually managed to cut the amount of pork down by 20% from the last such budget, passed when the Republicans still had control.
Absolute agreement. The moral sinkhole of this administration with its “extraordinary renditions,” waterboarding-is-not-torture, loose cannon mercenary armies, and Abu Ghraibs! We have a long way to go before we can repair the damage done, and one of the best ways of achieving this would be a clean sweep of the administration of foreign aid programs, along with a rethinking of priorities. I don’t believe requiring African children to learn the joys of sexual abstinence should really be required to hand out school aid, do you?
The Democrats held the majority in the US Senate between 1954-1994, 2001, and since 2006. What’s this ascendancy the Republicans had in the 70s and 80s?
One problem the Americans have with their political system is their two parties. Trying to lump everyone into one of two parties leaves a lot of ambiguity between the two. They have conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, making the party titles meaningless on fiscal issues. The test for party membership seems to revolve around one’s position on abortion, gay marriage, gun control, and immigration.
Along with the Republicans taking the House of Representatives in 1996, you mean, and holding a majority until 2006? As I remarked above, the Democrats cannot command an active majority in either house of the legislative branch of the federal government. While the Republicans have moved further to the more conservative wing of their party, ejecting or forcing out moderates, the Democratic party remains divided among progressives, moderates, and conservatives. The result is an extremely shaky Democratic coalition that has barely held together on quite a few issues. The development of a defeatist mentality over the last couple of decades hasn’t helped matters, either.
It started during Reagan’s terms. Hopefully, you remember that Reagan got nearly everything he asked for from Congress in an extremely iconoclastic administration, and that was a great deal, despite having a supposed Democratic majority to work against in both his terms. The ascendency, then, began with Reagan. It grew in the 1990s when a small group of Republican Congressional ideologues, led by Newt Gingrich, decided upon a strategy that they’ve used ever since against the Democrats: attack, attack, and then attack.
Not quite. As I mentioned above, there isn’t a liberal Republican left in Congress, and most of the moderates have been driven out of the party: an easily verifiable fact. What’s more, the few moderates that are left, in order to get the patronage they need at home, have been required to vote a hardline by a very tough and unfriendly executive administration that sees the other branches of government as adversaries to be humbled or ignored. This, too, is easily verifiable.
The last liberal Republican Senator was Jim Jeffords, a former Vermont senator (retired in 2007, following his wife’s development of cancer). He was a lifelong Republican with considerable House and later Senate seniority–the ranking Republican member of the House Education and Labor Committee, for instance. But in 2001 he left the Republican party and became an Independent, because he stated he was being harassed by the new White House residents who threatened to use their pull against his budget requests–something unheard of before, when Republicans of all kinds stuck together. If the Republicans since have been able to push an elaborate agenda, it has been because of making a once ideologically heterodox party into one for the orthodox, only. They have a single-minded focus entirely at odds with their numbers in the House of Representatives, and their minority status in Congress. This lets them hang together, while the Democrats split into coalitions based upon a number of competing factors, and hang apart.
The Democrats gained control of congress when Jim Jeffords became an independent in 2001. The Republicans regained control in 2002. Not a liberal Republican left in congress? May I ask how you define a liberal? I understand we had a slightly different definition of liberal on this side of the pond then the states. I’ll substitute socialist for liberal. American Democrats hate being called socialists…
The US budget for 2000 submitted by Clinton was $1,789 billion USD. The US budget for 2006 submitted by Bush was $2,841 billion. If the budget were to only keep up with inflation, Bush’s budget should have been around $2,022-2,094 billion. Inflation for that time period varies from 13.04% to 14.58% depending on your source. Below are the actual outlays for 2000 and 2006 in millions of dollars:
Increase…2000*…2006**…Function and Program
413.04%…10,629…54,531…450 Community and regional development
100.27%…59,201…118,560…500 Education, training, employment, and social services
92.71%…3,211…6,188…370 Commerce and housing credit
77.20%…294,494…521,840…050 National defense
71.64%…17,216…29,549…150 International affairs
60.28%…-42,581…-68,250…950 Undistributed offsetting receipts
48.34%…47,083…69,842…700 Veterans benefits and services
47.43%…27,820…41,016…750 Administration of justice
42.19%…247,895…352,477…600 Income security
35.39%…13,454…18,215…800 General government
33.98%…409,436…548,549…650 Social security
32.06%…25,031…33,055…300 Natural resources and environment
26.72%…18,637…23,616…250 General science, space, and technology
1.52%…223,218…226,603…900 Net interest
The Republicans weren’t spending like conservatives; they were spending like drunken socialists. Major expansion of Education, Health, and Medicare isn’t what I would expect out of a conservative Republican President and Congress. On the fiscal side, I’d say there isn’t a conservative Republican left in congress.
Orthodox ideology? The following Republican senators break ranks on the listed policies:
McCain - immigration, gun control, and taxes.
Richard Shelby – gun control
Ted Stevens – environment and embryonic stem cell research
Lisa Murkowsk – abortion
Larry Craig – immigration
Mike Crapo – environment
Chuck Grassley – taxes
Sam Brownback – immigration
Olympia Snowe – trade, taxes, abortion, gay rights, and environment
Susan Collins – trade, taxes, abortion, and environment
Chuck Hagel – immigration and war in Iraq
Judd Gregg – immigration, embryonic stem cell research, and mix on environment
George Voinovich – taxes and gun control
Gordon Smith – embryonic stem cell research, war in Iraq, and mixed on abortion and gay rights,
Arlen Specter – abortion, gay rights, immigration, taxes, and trade
Lindsey_Graham - immigration
Orrin Hatch - embryonic stem cell research
John Warner – gun control, abortion, and embryonic stem cell research
John Barrasso - abortion
There are several organized rifts in the Republican party that I’m aware of: Republicans for Environmental Protection, Republican Main Street Partnership, Republicans For Choice, and the Wish List. An unorganized movement, the Evangelical Left, are Republicans only because they are anti-abortion. They, claim we have a biblical duty to protect the environment, and claim we are ‘our brother’s keeper’ as a mandate for income distribution. Arkansas Governor Hucklebee falls within this Evangelical Left for his view on the environment and heath care.
Some of the most socialist Republicans, such as Lincoln Chafee, who voted like a Democrat, lost re-election to a Democrat. Socialist Republic own constituents, not some vast right wing senatorial conspiracy, have driven the most socialst Republicans out of the party.
Reagan got much of what he wanted, but he often had to cut deals with the Democrats. In order to seal the Mexican boarder, he made a deal with the Democrats to also grant amnesty for the illegal immigrants already within the country. The Democrats got amnesty and the boarder remains open. Also, Reagan was unable to hold the line on spending, or abolish the Department of Education. Much of Reagan’s ability to get what he want was due to his overwhelming election victories (489 to 49 in 1980, and 525 to 13 in 1984) and at times his high popularity (reach over 70% after the assassination attempt in 1981 and Libya bombing in 1986).
Since you made the observation that there are Republican liberals in the Senate, would you please provide examples? I think we can work from there, analyzing their careers on the basis of their votes. And no, European socialism isn’t the same as USian liberalism. That liberals over here are politcally much closer to moderates over in Europe is a curious fact, and most liberals here are to the “right” of the Labor Party, which I understand is to the right of the Socialists. (We do have a Socialist Party, with a Socialist agenda. It never wins even 1% of state or federal elections.) If the German social safety net was introduced on the floor of our Congress, it would be laughed out of both chambers, by liberals, moderates and conservatives, alike. Just compare the social benefits that the German, French, Dutch, and US federal governments provide, and I’m sure you’ll agree.
“Only rich and safe government can afford to be a democracy.”
Leaving aside the fact that this is grammatically incorrect, the penny should drop on the “rich and safe” part. It’s a fake government site, trying to slip one over on the unwary. Try the Congressional Budget Office, instead. Many actual numbers after inflation for federal departments such as Education have seen a post-inflationary drop since 2000. -As an afterthought, consider how line items define a budget, too. For instance, the present US Department of Education has a fairly large amount of money set aside for “abstinence-only” programs, that wasn’t there before Bush took office. I’m suggesting here that it isn’t simply how much is allotted to a given department, but where it is required to be spent.
Not so. Your list refers in many cases simply to the odd comment or single vote in a career of votes that support the administration. For example, the most maverick person you list, John McCain, is shown as “breaking rank” due to taxes. In fact, he voted frequently with the administration on the matter of taxes. Let’s take a look at his actual record:
Voted against Bush tax cuts for not reining in spending. (May 2007)
Voted YES on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Mar 2007) *
Voted YES on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million. (Mar 2007) *
Voted YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts. (Aug 2006) *
Voted YES on permanently repealing the
death tax. (Jun 2006) *
Voted NO on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut. (Feb 2006) *
Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends. (Feb 2006) *
Voted YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. (Nov 2005) *
Voted NO on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years. (May 2003)
In that list of tax votes over a period of 5 years, McCain voted with the administration 7 times, and against it twice. In other words, McCain strongly supported the administration on its tax requests. As much can be said about most of the senators and issues upon which they supposedly differed from the Bush administration.
You will note, too, that if a single Republican senator votes against the Iraqi War, that does not constitute a rift on the issue among Republican senators. I think we can both agree that to have a rift, you need a significant number of people to revolt in a party on a specific issue. One senator doing so is just a dignified disagreement. Especially when its Chuck Hagel, who has been a steady supporter of the adminstration on just about everything else.
On the other hand, you’ll find here in the States that there is both endless amazement and disgust how the Democratic control of the Senate and House hasn’t succeeded in producing unity within party ranks to pass key legislation on lobbyist reforms, Iraq withdrawals, tax reforms, an end to giveaways to the wealthiest 1% of Americans, or even actions upon snubbed subpoenas submitted to the Federal branch of government. When these issues arise, the Democrats frequently split. The Republicans hang tough. It’s in the record, and is a cause for great concern.
You apparently missed what I wrote. I never stated that ordinary citizens who were registered as Republicans didn’t have a variety of opinions. I wrote that in Congress, there are no rifts among Republicans in voting. The groups you mention have little to no organized support in Congress, and if you check voting records there, you will find (for example) that Republicans have voted lockstep in favor of “pro-life” issues. Republicans for Choice? The group was actually formed to work against the prominent and uniform slide of the Republican Party to the so-called right on this issue. It has had no support in Congress, and the other organizations you mention are in the same situation.
I’m afraid the argument, “Because of 1 instance, therefore hundreds like it” doesn’t hold water. (Nor was he a socialist, but see above.) Can you point to a currently sitting US federal senator of the Republican party who has a liberal voting record we can examine in detail? If so, please do. We can go over that record online, and compare notes.
Please consider the way the US federal government operates–painful as that is to both of us. A sitting president makes literally thousands of federal appointments, many of them judicial, in a two-term, eight year period, starts up hundreds of policy initiatives, and through party leaders in Congress, offers up hundreds of pieces of legislation. Providing two examples where he failed to get Congressional Democrats to do his bidding is no more proof of Reagan’s having to compromise than it would be proof that he failed in his enormous rampup to armaments expenditures, his tax cuts to the wealthy, or his extreme politicization of the Department of the Interior and the US Environmental Protection Agency. What Reagan asked for, he almost always got as stated. And his popularity is precisely what started congressional Democrats on their “we’ve lost before we try” mentality that still controls their actions, which was my point.
I didn’t intend to claim American liberals are the equivalent to European socialists, merely to make sure we weren’t confusing American liberals and European liberals; there is a huge difference between them. Fiscally, European liberals are probably closer to American conservatives then American liberal. You had stated that “isn’t a liberal Republican left in Congress”. Based on the Republicans spending while in control of the presidency and both houses of congress, this could be true under the European liberal view.
Oddly enough, they do link to the gpoaccess.gov site, not to gpoaccess.com. If gpoaccess.gov isn’t trustworthy, please post the figures from a source you trust. There was a bad copy & paste on the first link. It should be:
McCain may be called a maverick, but it’s not because of his fiscal policies, although he did vote against 29% of the tax cuts (my bad for not going through the actual record, I haven’t found a good source to obtain such information without picking through lots of unrelated records. Could you give me the source for those votes?), but because he frequently authors or co-authors legislation with Democrats: McCain–Feingold Campaign Finance Reform, Kennedy-McCain Comprehensive Immigration Reform and I believe there was a third infamous one for education. There was also his outspokenness against Rumsfeld and detained terrorist treatment. He may be the most maverick, but he’s not the most liberal.
Abortion votes since 2000, and Republican voting against the party
10/18/2007 Prohibiting Funds for Groups that Perform Abortions - Lisa Murkowski, Ted Stevens, Richard Lugar, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Christopher Bond, Arlen Specter
09/06/2007 Prohibiting U.S. Assistance for Groups that Support Coercive Abortion - Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter
10/21/2003 Prohibit Partial-Birth Abortion bill - Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins
10/21/2003 Prohibit Partial-Birth Abortion bill - Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins
06/21/2002 Military Abortion Amendment - Ted Stevens, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter
06/20/2000 Military Abortions Amendment - Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Arlen Specter
Oddly enough, 4 of those are members of “Republicans for Choice”. Granted, on a couple of those, only 2 broke ranks, however, 7 broke ranks on the latest bill. Significant? It is when you can’t find 2-7 pro life Democrats to replace them. Lockstep? Probably not.
Here are the groups with their membership. These groups appear to have some support in congress, however, we’ll have to review their voting record to determine if the members vote with the group or the party. In the case of Republicans for Choice, its members tend to break from the party.
Republicans for Environmental Protection - Susan Collins, John McCain, Olympia Snowe
Republican Main Street Partnership - Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, John McCain, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter
Republicans For Choice - Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, Lisa Murkowski
The Wish List - Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Lisa Murkowski,Kay Bailey Hutchison
Despite the Bush tax cuts, the party managed to increase spending at a rate faster that any other administration since the Nixon/Ford years (48.5% growth unadjusted, 30% inflation adjusted). So, any Republican who voted for the various spending increases that resulted in the 30% increase. Picking through the records for votes on spending increases may prove to be tedious. For an individual, I haven’t had the time to really dig into their records (budget/spending bills are ridiculous), but I’ll throw Snowe and Collins out there.
This is probably none of my business, but 1, this is only discretionary spending. 2, What is the purpose of federal government other than defence anyway?
But with respect, writing “I understand we had a slightly different definition of liberal on this side of the pond then the states. I’ll substitute socialist for liberal. American Democrats hate being called socialists…” doesn’t clear up matters. We have an American Socialist party. It’s views are very different from those of liberals/progressives/whatever in the Democratic party. Though I would agree with you that European Liberals are very different from American liberals. Confusing at times, isn’t it?
Much better–thank you for correcting that. But the figures still don’t tell the story, as I mentioned above: “…consider how line items define a budget, too. For instance, the present US Department of Education has a fairly large amount of money set aside for “abstinence-only” programs, that wasn’t there before Bush took office. I’m suggesting here that it isn’t simply how much is allotted to a given department, but where it is required to be spent.” Another example? The 2007 figures submitted by the President for his budget to Congress actually allocated less for the Department of Education than the 2006 figure, and even less if we consider that his funding for faith-based initiatives and private schools was considerably up.
Again, the devil is in the details. Well, when he isn’t in the Oval Office, at least.
The source for the McCain material was the Washington Post, which keeps a vote database for the federal legislature.
But I’m afraid I must disagree with you. There’s a longstanding tradition in the US Congress of deliberately seeking a fellow senator or congressperson on the “other side of the aisle” (from the other party) to co-sponsor legislation. It is done this way to appear bipartisan, even when it isn’t bipartisan, because both parties to the legislation believe they will reap political rewards from the effort. This has made some very strange bedfellows over the years, none more so than the Kennedy-McCain CIR you mentioned, above. But this is no sign of being a maverick, because everybody does it, and they do a great deal.
Definitely lockstep. Let me point to significant Senate votes on the most controversial issues over the last several years:
To support the new Bush-supported FISA law:
GOP - 48-0
Dems - 12-36
To compel redeployment of troops from Iraq:
GOP - 0-49
Dems - 24-21
To confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General:
GOP - 46-0
Dems - 7-40
To confirm Leslie Southwick as Circuit Court Judge:
GOP - 49-0
Dems - 8-38
Kyl-Lieberman Resolution on Iran:
GOP - 46-2
Dems - 30-20
To condemn MoveOn.org:
GOP - 49-0
Dems - 23-25
The Protect America Act:
GOP - 44-0
Dems - 20-28
Declaring English to be the Government’s official language:
GOP - 48-1
Dems - 16-33
The Military Commissions Act:
GOP - 53-0
Dems - 12-34
To renew the Patriot Act:
GOP - 54-0
Dems - 34-10
Cloture Vote on Sam Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court:
GOP - 54-0
Dems - 18-25
Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq:
GOP - 48-1
Dems - 29-22
What does each of these show? That the Senate Republicans hang together on the important votes, and the Democrats split. They are, indeed, in lockstep with the neo-con presidency, while the Democratic party in the Senate and House remains–as always–split in many factions across the political spectrum: liberals, moderates, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, populists, etc.
This includes the almost trillion US dollars spent on the Iraqi War, I assume? Because that accounts for quite an increase, I agree. Bush and his neo-cons are actually radicals: they have basically ballooned government into a giant spying-cum-military agency that even hires mercenaries to do its bidding, and at exorbitant rates. The less of that, the better.
But as for Snowe and Collins, they have gone to the line for the Republican administration on the important votes, as noted above. Both voted to support the Bush-sponsored FISA bill, that would give telecoms retroactive immunity so that Bush couldn’t be prosecuted for breaking the law on wiretapping. They also voted against compelling safe redeployment of troops from Iraq, supported the Patriot Act’s renewal, etc. They even voted for a neo-con bill that would have given Senate approval to a proposed constitutional amendment, authorizing Congress to ban ‘desecration of the American flag.’ Liberals? Not a chance. Moderates, as we use the term in the US, certainly. On what we might agree to call “the small stuff,” each is willing to peel away from the Republicans and support private causes. But as the votes show, they stand and move in line on the big issues, the ones that count.
Here are a few bills that I recall seeing in the news. I can’t really say what’s important to my friends across the pond. I got lazy and didn’t check how the Democrats voted, but it does show the Republicans aren’t lockstep on every significant issue.
Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell research
Iraq Troop Redeployment (HR 2956)
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Overhaul (HR 3356)
Fiscal 2008 Intelligence Authorization
Energy Policy Dingell
According to the CBO, only 604 billion has been spent through Oct 2007.
Function and Program 2000 2007 %increase
450 Community and regional development: 10,629__29,567__178.17%
950 Undistributed offsetting receipts: -42,581__-82,238__93.13%
570 Medicare: 197,113__375,407__90.45%
050 National defense: 294,494__552,568__87.63%
550 Health: 154,534__266,432__72.41%
150 International affairs: 17,216__28,510__65.60%
400 Transportation: 46,854__72,905__55.60%
500 Education, training, employment: 59,201__91,676__54.86%
700 Veterans benefits and services: 47,083__72,847__54.72%
750 Administration of justice: 27,820__41,244__48.25%
600 Income security: 247,895__365,975__47.63%
650 Social security: 409,436__586,153__43.16%
250 General science, space, technology: 18,637__25,566__37.18%
800 General government: 13,454__17,457__29.75%
300 Natural resources and environment: 25,031__31,772__26.93%
900 Net interest: 223,218__237,109__6.22%
270 Energy: -1,060__-860__-18.87%
350 Agriculture: 36,641__17,663__-51.79%
370 Commerce and housing credit: 3,211__488__-84.80%
If a 87.63% growth in the military transformed the government into a giant spying-cum-military agency, what does a 178.17% growth in Community and regional development make it? Or a 90.45% increase in Medicare? Did Bush also transform the government into a Cradle-to-the-Grave Communist-Style-Housing Socialist Utopia as well? National Defense is only the 3th fastest growing function (4th if you count the increasing Undistributed offsetting receipts).
Figure 20-23% inflation, the only programs that was reduced was Commerce and housing credit, Agriculture, Energy, and Net interest. Regardless how the money was spent, fiscally, there was nothing conservative about this spending. I’m not sure how increase spending in Medicare, Income Security, Social Security, or General government can be conservative. I don’t know how much of the Education budget is now abstinence only or faith based school subsidies make up the education budget, but education grew 54.86% between 2000 and 2007, despite the cuts in the 2007 budget. Odds are, not the entire increase were for those programs.
I can, and will be happy to do so for you, as you well know that some bills are extremely minor, while others are top-of-the-agenda. But as I’ve provided my sources for you to check, I would appreciate it if you would offer links for these figures, too. Some of them make no sense at all, and bear no resemblance to reality. For example:
FIrst off, you’re referring to the House Bill, numbered 3356. We’re discussing the Senate, remember? Where I’ve stated a simple fact: that the Republicans walk in lockstep whenever the president demands it, on very important bills, while the Democrats split because they’re a very uneasy coalition of interests across the political spectrum. The Senate equivalent of this particular bill was S. 1927. It was a procedural bill to suspend rules in August of 2007 with no relevance to the central FISA debate that has made this a huge issue in the United States. It waas not the FISA amendment bill vote of February 12/13, 2008, the big one (the so-called Dodd Amendment) that came up in the Senate to strip immunity from a revamped FISA for telecoms that provided access to all their phonecall database informatoin to Homeland Security for analysis, which Bush desperately wants included. (Since he has been illegally gathering all phonecall data from telecoms since 2002 for review by the government, and no doubt reasonably fears a criminal suit for going against the law once he ceases to have the protection of his handpicked Attorney General after leaving office.)
That amendment just failed, 68-29. The tally:
Republicans: 0-46 (1 abstention)
Democrats: 20-29 (2 abstentions)
…And once again, the Republicans were united, while the Democrats were split. Which is my point. When the big bills that really, truly matter to the Bush administration appear, the Republicans join hands and link up. The Democrats, as ever, are too divided into conservative/moderate/liberal/populist/pluralist/ethnic splits that prevent a unified opposition. I’ve proven this time and again, and really, it isn’t even a matter of much debate on this side of the Atlantic. Conservatives, moderates, DC pundits, everybody pretty much agrees.
I can and will do this analysis on each of the other bills whose links you will provide. As well as explaining their individual relevance to the US public, judging from both polls and media hoopla. I hope you’re realizing that indeed, it’s the Senate Republicans who will hop if Bush says to hop, and have hopped like mad over the last 7 years, while the Senate Democrats are so disunited that there are an almost endless supply of jokes over here about them one day growing a spine.
Do you really need an explanation for this? I’ve heard this discussed a great deal on the BBC World News, and I imagine your national papers have covered it. The enormous military expenditures and the bloat of Homeland Security, as well as the providing of all phonecall and email information by dozens of major communications providers across the US over the last 6 years (the story finally broken when a whistleblower working for one of the companies came forward with hard evidence), makes a case so compellling that even many conservative and religious commentators have launched vicious attacks against it. I think Christopher Buckley, the even-more-conservative (and quite brilliant) son of William F Buckley put it best when he wrote recently in the Washington Monthly, “Who knew, in 2000, that compassionate conservatism meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief?”
There is no “only” about 604 billion dollars, correct? Secondly, your figure is “only” through October. Perhaps you should wait until the end of the year figures come out, and find your sources from something other than just the one department most eager to put a good face on matters by moving money around when making its budget reports.
Inaccurate. I’ve already asked you to please, breakdown the numbers within each department by their specific use, pointing out a specific instance where this kind of generalized number posting was deceptive. I’ve also pointed out here that comparing 2000 to 2007 numbers to note increases without mentioning annual figures is not good statistical analysis. Since you keep doing it, I have to question whether you have an agenda, here, and are trying to twist matters to look other than they really are. I’m sure others have similar concerns.
For example, let’s take a look at that very first pair of figures, for Community and Regional Development:
10,629 This is the figure, not in 2006, but in 2000.
29,567 This is the 2007 budgetary number.
Suddenly, we have a 178.17% increase! But if we’re accurate, then:
54,531 This is the actual figure for 2006.
29.567 This is the 2007 budgetary number.
For a decrease of 54% from 2006, not an increase of 178%. Your other figures are similarly marred. If you want to read a factual comparative (not an analysis) of the 2007 budget to its predecessors, I suggest you try here.
For those who’d rather not follow links, a few lines:
"President Bush plans to propose a $2.7 trillion budget tomorrow that would shrink most parts of the government unrelated to the nation’s security while slowing spending on Medicare by $36 billion during the next five years, according to White House documents. The spending plan Bush is to recommend to Congress will call for the elimination or reduction of 141 programs – for a savings of $14.5 billion – across a broad swath of federal agencies, according to administration and congressional officials who have had access to budget documents in advance. Wide-ranging as they are, those cuts pale in comparison with the White House’s attempt to carve money from Medicare – the first tangible result from a vow the president made in his State of the Union address last week to constrain the massive entitlement programs for the elderly and the poor.
“Overall, the budget for the 2007 fiscal year would further reshape the government in the way the administration has been striving to during the past half-decade: building up military capacity and defenses against terrorist threats on U.S. soil, while restraining expenditures on many domestic areas, from education programs to train service.”
Note again that this is not interpretation. It’s a simple statement based on the numbers, and announcements made by the White House. (To the extent that it includes that White House material, it actually includes Bush propaganda, in fact. That “building up military capacity and defenses against terrorist threats on US soil” is a White House talking point, about which there is much debate. But at least this can’t be claimed as content intended against Bush!) In light of your tongue-in-cheek satire on arch-arch-arch-conservative posturing,
…I have to commend you for a good joke. Unless, of course, your indignation is real, and you’re more consevative than the most conservative mad dog commentators over here?