GOP going wobbly on spending?
It's hard to kick a habit.
congress">Congress has been spending our money like there is no tomorrow -- and when that ran out, it spent even more on the national credit card. Congress has tried to kick this habit in the last couple of years, though it's been doing so by accident. The budget sequester that has been making automatic reductions in the rate of increase in both defense and domestic spending has slowed the congressional spending party. Not ended it, just slowed it down. But even this is proving too much for some on Capitol Hill to endure:
"We're living with just really low numbers without any wiggle room, any flexibility," Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, told The Hill. "It's really difficult."
democrats">Democrats can always be counted on to complain about strict spending limits, and President Obama pressured Congress to lift the caps and end the sequester almost as soon as he agreed to them.
But it's distressing to hear such complaints come out of the mouths of GOP lawmakers, just weeks after they approved a budget plan that promised to tighten spending even further.
Traditionally, Congressmen preach fiscal responsibility on the campaign trail, but once safely re-elected, go back to spending freely when they think no one is paying attention. That trick doesn't work any more. People are paying attention...not just to the spending, but the waste:
A new Government Accountability Office report found that officials can't account for the $1.2 billion spent each year on mobile phones for government workers. That's billion with a "b."
Other GAO reports turned up almost $6 billion in fraudulent refund checks the IRS sends out annually, $60 billion that medicare">Medicare wastes on improper payments to doctors and hospitals, plus $18 billion in Medicaid waste.
Over the years, the GAO has found 440 duplicative, ineffective and bloated programs that could be cut back or eliminated to save $125 billion.Citizens Against Government Waste has gone much further, putting together a list of easily eliminated programs that would save $648 billion next year alone.
That's real money. Consider that in Ronald Reagan's first year as president (1981), the federal government spent $678 billion. On everything. Today, we could cut that much from the federal budget and not really miss it.
Congress has plenty of our money to spend. It just doesn't spend a lot of it very well.