Alternate headline: “This is why we’re screwed.” The Obama administration and Senate Democrats have proposed $60.4 billion in spending, some of which may not have anything to do with helping people recover from the superstorm that hit the Northeast this fall. But the entire lot is being rushed through as part of the “emergency” spending package that has to be passed RIGHT NOW according to Democrats — even though, according to the Congressional Budget Office, only about one-third of the money will be spent in the next 21 months.
What else is the dough going for, if not for immediate relief? Jamie Dupree has the full list of items on his AJC.com blog. ABC News reports that millions of dollars are for federal agency spending that is unrelated, or only tangentially related, to Hurricane Sandy. Another $13 billion of it is tabbed to help mitigate future disasters. Those particular mitigation measures may or may not make sense, and it’s hard to know which are worthwhile and which aren’t when Congress is being asked to allocate the money in such a rushed fashion. For the non-immediate needs, it would be very helpful for Congress to have more time to study them before spending almost three times as much as President Obama’s cherished “Buffett Rule” would generate in new revenue.
And that’s the proper way to look at the bulk of this spending. As ABC News notes, that $60 billion represents almost all the new revenue the federal government would take in next year if Congress also were to pass Obama’s “deficit reduction” bill. We are perhaps days away from going over the so-called fiscal cliff because Obama and congressional Republicans can’t agree about cutting existing spending. So it seems absolutely crazy to rush through a new appropriations bill in the name of “emergency” disaster relief when two-thirds of the money — as much as the annual amount of spending Obama is talking about possibly, maybe, potentially, perhaps being willing to cut in negotiations that just might take place next year if the GOP gives him everything he wants on taxes now — is not going to be spent until sometime in 2014 or after.
Yes, folks, this kind of attitude is exactly why our fiscal condition is so dire. The GOP should insist on funding only what is absolutely necessary now, and discuss the rest next year when said discussion can be more rational.
– By Kyle Wingfield