An interesting story has come across the Associated Press wire—one that should give every taxpayer in America pause.
President George W. Bush noted that the $22 billion difference between the spending proposed by the White House and by Congressional Democrats is not, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi maintains, a "very small difference."
The President issued a line which should be tattooed on the foreheads of voters heading into next year's all-important elections: "Only in Washington can $22 billion be called 'a very small difference.'" President Bush then rightly stated, "That's a lot of money—even for career politicians in Washington."
The President is embroiled in a heated debate with Democratic Congressional leaders over federal funding bills that would go into effect after the fiscal year ends in September. Under the Democrats' current plan, Congress will be sent on a summer hiatus before any of the bills are passed. Once again, government will be held hostage by spendaholics in D.C.
Unfortunately, there's no 12-step recovery program for the big spenders on Capitol Hill, although their spending pattern could definitely be labeled "problem spending." When Congress goes on a financial bender in Washington, it is the ordinary taxpayers—the ones who can barely afford to keep up their monthly mortgage payments—who will suffer.
President Bush further noted, "If Congress doesn't pass the spending bills by the end of the fiscal year, Cabinet secretaries report that their departments may be unable to move forward with urgent priorities for our country. This doesn't have to be this way."
Democrats can hardly blame the White House for deficit spending, when they themselves are trying to add five percent to the President's proposed spending on government programs.
That $22 billion difference between the President's figures and Pelosi's isn't exactly chump change. It would figure out to $205 billion over five years. That means $1,300 additional spending per second. For a typical taxpayer, that's like throwing away a mortgage payment every second or two.
According to http://www.federalbudget.com/ , the national debt is now a staggering $8.9 trillion. In fiscal year 2006, the federal government spent a whopping $406 billion of taxpayer dollars on interest payments to the holders of the national debt. The National Taxpayers Union reports that, although the number of spending reduction plans introduced in the U.S. House and Senate increased 15 percent in 2005 and 2006, spending increases continued to outpace spending cuts by a ratio of 20 to 1.
It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that Congress' spending proposals simply don't add up. Far too many taxpayer dollars are spent on programs that yield far too little in the way of results. However, unless ordinary taxpayers are willing to make an issue of out-of-control spending, pork barrel politicos will continue to run up the federal tab at taxpayer expense.
One can only hope that the 2008 election will serve as a referendum on spending on Capitol Hill. For, if the spendaholics have their way, it will be our children and our children's children who will ultimately end up holding the bill.