Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lectured on Fiscal Prudence By Those Who Spent It All

Spending is an important issue. It's a serious issue, and one that needs addressing.

Government spending, and overspending, is an important issue as well.

Which is why it's not funny, more sad and infuriating when you read about people like Gretchen Hamel, a former Bush admiinstration official, are the ones doing the lecturing.

Let's seriously think about this for a moment. Let's pretend we have a business - call it Big Bubba's Shipping. Larry gets appointed to the head of the company, and he proceeds to spend every penny in the savings accounts on the greatest security system ever, on hiring a whole new group of employees, and then racks up tons of debt for the company in the process. He cuts prices on shipping charges with the theory of "it'll bring in a ton of new customers" - which reduces revenue just as the company should be paying the bills.

In the meantime, he ignores that the shipping trucks are breaking down to pieces and the accounting department is racked with fraud.

So when the new head the company comes into office, they say "Look, we need to buy some new trucks and fix up what we've got, or else we won't have any business. So we need to extend our line of credit, fix up the fleet, get back in business, and then we'll be able to repay our bills."

At which point Larry starts to complain "We can't do that - we'll go further into debt! Debt is bad!" All the while ignoring the fact that it's Larry's fault *we're in so much debt right now*.

So let's review the Bush administration, who:

  • Started out with a surplus in the yearly budget.
  • Expanded government to create a whole new department called Homeland Security - without cutting expenses to pay for it or raising taxes.
  • Offered a huge tax cut without cutting any spending to pay for it.
  • Expanded Medicare without any tax increases to pay for it.
  • Started two wars without cutting spending or increasing taxes to pay for it.
  • Let the Pay-Go rules lapse (these were the rules in place during the Clinton administration, that said that any new spending by the government had to be paid for either by a tax increase or a budget cut elsewhere)

And then - these are the people who want to come out and start lecturing about "fiscal responsibility." When we're trying to bring down costs in health care (which has the potential to bankrupt the government), or when we pass Pay-Go under the Obama administration over *every Republican in the Senate who voted against it*.

It's like being lectured on diet and exercise by the obese guy stuffing Twinkies into his mouth. It's like being told to be morally chaste by a pimp.

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