Hurricane Katrina Spending: What Would Reagan Say?
With Hurricane Katrina reconstruction costs estimated at upwards of $200 billion, some House Republicans are launching "Operation Offset", a proposal to cut $500 billion in other government spending to pay for the Hurricane Katrina efforts.
While some have mocked such efforts as "moronic", I think it's exactly what we should be thinking about doing. Instead of using Hurricane Katrina as an excuse to expand government (and therefore, government spending) we should use it as an excuse to cut pork. To save something for a rainy day, pardon the pun.
My friend Ed asked me what I thought Ronald Reagan would say about Operation Offset. I came up with a couple of appropriate quotes, but Ed had his own idea of the Gipper's take on the whole situation and how he'd explain it to the American people:
Reagan always put things in simple terms that every family could understand. He'd say something like "When your family has an unexpected expense, like when Johnny decides he wants to go to college, or when Suzy needs surgery, you dont run up your credit card debt - that will get you into more trouble in the long run. What you do is, is you cut back. You scrimp, and you save. You dont take that trip to Disney, not that year. That's what we have to do now -- we have to make cuts. Our politicians want to fix this, but they also want to take that trip to Disneyland. They cant have it both ways..."
I think that's perfect. There's a reason Reagan was the Great Communicator. The brilliance of Reagan, and of Ed's take on Reagan, (and this is something the Dems don't get) is not in his style, but in the substance of what he says. Reagan made government accountable to a standard of simple common sense. Unfortunately, that's still a most revolutionary idea.
Posted by at September 22, 2005 10:24 PM
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|# September 22nd, 2005 10:32 PM james|
|this "ed" fellow sounds very smart. |
|# September 22nd, 2005 10:35 PM kris|
|oh, he is. he's no Gary Hogeboom, but he's really smart. you'd like him. |
|# September 22nd, 2005 10:41 PM james|
|i dont like anyone |
|# September 22nd, 2005 10:43 PM kris|
|true, but he's worth making an exception for. |
|# September 22nd, 2005 11:05 PM PopCulture|
|"... I went to Florida a few days after President Bush did to observe the damage from Hurricane Andrew. I had dealt with a lot of natural disasters as governor, including floods, droughts, and tornadoes, but I had never seen anything like this. I was surprised to hear complaints from both local officials and residents about how the Federal Emergency Management Agency was handling the aftermath of the hurricane. Traditionally, the job of FEMA director was given to a political supporter of the President who wanted some plum position but who had no experience with emergencies. I made a mental note to avoid that mistake if I won. Voters don't chose a President based on how he'll handle disasters, but if they're faced with one themselves, it quickly becomes the most important issue in their lives."
Bill Clinton, My Life (p. 428)
|# September 23rd, 2005 8:42 AM BrianH|
|I like your friend Ed. He seems very wise.
|# September 23rd, 2005 9:21 AM kris|
|he has his moments ;-) |
|# September 23rd, 2005 1:28 PM MotorCityMan|
How hard would it be to simply "task" EVERY line item in the budget by the percentage amount required to fund the Katrina recovery actions. Let's say the amount is estimated to be the $200 billion figure we've all seen thrown about. Congress could simply choose to reduce spending proportionately in EVERY spending category to generate the necessary funds. It would then be up to the administrators/implementors of those programs and initiatives to find ways to do things more efficiently and less costly. No programs would have to be eliminated and no one could say their favorite spending priority was unfairly penalized. Somehow I think we could "find" $200 billion or so in a $2.5 TRILLION budget in this way if we really tried! This would be a very "Reaganesque" approach, I think -- simple, straightforward, fair. Let's just get on with it!
|# September 23rd, 2005 1:55 PM BrianH|
|The problem with that approach is it doesn't fix the real problem. Our government is spending money on programs that have no business being funded by the Federal Government. Cutting everything equally only postpones the spending. It doesn't eliminate it.
The other problem with that approach is there are programs that ARE our Federal government's responsibility, such as our common defense. Cutting defense spending in the same proportion as a bridge in Alaska is going to get someone in our army killed and will get us a substandard bridge. We're better off cutting the bridge completely.
|# September 27th, 2005 5:30 PM mbrlr|
|Isn't using the disaster for ideological purposes something conservatives are offended that the left is doing (from the perspective of the conservatives, at least)? Using this to find programs we can slice money from while yet continuing to pad the pockets of the rich...ah, right-wing logic. |