Monday, October 3
Whose Fault Is Pork?
Editorial, Washington Post, October 2, 2005
THE HUGE EXPANSION of government overseen by the supposed party of small government has provoked a conservative backlash.
The Heritage Foundation, which is usually respectful of Republican Party officeholders, recently noted that the party's ascendancy has coincided with an extraordinarily expensive Medicare prescription drug bill, the most costly farm bill in modern history, a 51 percent increase in spending on veterans and an increase in the annual number of pork projects from 6,000 in 2001 to 14,000 this year.
Rank-and-file Republican House members are fed up with this unconservative record; on Wednesday they rebelled against Majority Leader Tom DeLay's scheme to have a big-spending ally keep his throne warm while he fights a criminal indictment.
But the conservative revolt should logically be taken a step further. It should target President Bush. [...more]
Who should be held responsible for runaway government spending?
Mr. DeLay is certainly a good place to start. His governing principle was not to stand on principle but rather to rain taxpayers' money on every lobby that could return the favor with campaign contributions. But the biggest responsibility lies not with any member of the legislature but with Mr. Bush.
Unlike senators and House members, the president represents the whole nation; he is supposed to defend the general interest against particularist claims. Moreover, he has the power to do so. If Congress serves up wasteful bills, the president can veto them.
Mr. Bush has been too cowardly to do that. He is the first president since John Quincy Adams to have served a full term without once exercising his veto, and his second term has so far been no different. [...more]
Doesn't his administration pride itself on defending the power and prerogatives of the presidency? Mr. Bush's father had the courage to veto 44 bills in four years, and President Ronald Reagan once vetoed a transportation bill because it contained about 150 pork projects. But the bill that Mr. Bush just signed contained at least 6,000 pork projects.