The most important document you’ll never read

Would you get in the car and drive down the street blindfolded? Would you ski down a hill with your eyes closed? Would you set off on a journey without knowing where your destination was located? Would you begin building a house without estimating the cost? Would you send your son or daughter off to the mall with a blank check?

That would be crazy.

This week, the president gave us his budget for the nation and few Americans plan to read it.

This is equally crazy.

When Mr. Bush delivered the State of the Union message, he promised to cut the deficit in half by the year 2009. When most people heard that, they assumed that he plans to put a stop to our overspending and get us back on the road to fiscal responsibility.

Wrong!

Cutting the deficit is not the same as cutting the national debt.  We would be lucky if we could do the latter in half a century much less half a decade.

The deficit in Washington-ease is the amount of our overspending EACH YEAR! What the president actually promised is that he will to go right on overspending as long as he is in office. Worse, his plan for cutting the amount of our overspending in half by 2009 doesn’t include the cost of the war, making his tax cuts permanent or restructuring the oppressive Alternative Minimum Tax.  That is what he is calling fiscal restraint!

Worse still, the Democrats – who have never seen a ballooning federal program they didn’t like – are calling it draconian. Even though the president has proposed cutting out some wasteful or duplicate programs and reforming or trimming the rate of growth of others, the Dems are moaning and groaning about hurting the poor and slashing education. That’s their mantra and that’s hogwash!

Bush is doing what a responsible captain of a sinking ship should do – bail. He’s just not using a big enough bucket.

Don’t be fooled. When Democrats wail about the ballooning national debt, they are talking about increasing the tax burden. In their economy the tax burden won’t be large enough until every last citizen is under the thumb of the “Big Brother” federal government.

The important thing you should know is that members of Bush’s own party who control Congress plan to ignore this budget!

If Bush were a Democrat they would publicly declare it “dead on arrival.” (When Democrats controlled Congress they did the same thing to the budgets of Republican presidents). The current leaders of Congress are much too polite to do that to one of their own. Instead, they give it lip service. That’s about all.

Why will they ignore the Bush budget? Because they can! When it comes to the budget process, Mr. Bush is a wimp. Bush can’t spend a dime or cut a dime without Congress’s approval. Congress writes the checks and the president has the privilege of co-signing those checks before they can be cashed. Bush could, in effect, refuse to sign those checks by vetoing a spending bill but, in his five years in office – five years of getting rolled on the budget – he hasn’t vetoed a single bill. No not one!

Is it any wonder that, by the end of this fiscal year, federal spending under President Bush will have grown by a whopping 49 percent?

In July of 2002, the director of the Office of Management and Budget announced the development of a tool for formally evaluating the effectiveness of federal programs called the Program Assessment Rating Tool. This is invaluable to the budget process. If a program is ineffective, it should be eliminated!

The president has proposed cutting or eliminating 102 items that received low ratings under PART. This should be a no brainer! However, each one of these programs is some bureaucrat’s little kingdom and Congress doesn’t have the stomach for it. Fifty-four of these same programs were targeted in last year’s budget and they are still around!

You don’t need to read all four volumes of the bloated federal budget to make a difference. Just let the House and Senate leaders know that you want them to cut out earmarks and you don’t want them to spend one penny more than what has been requested by the White House. They can move things around if they like, but not one penny more! Also, put your own congressman and senators on notice: Urge them to go even further than the president and act on all 302 of the proposed PART adjustments.

It would amount to only $47.5 billion but that’s not chump change!

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