Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Conservative Crackup Continues.

John Tierney's Sunday op-ed trying to make an analogy between the highway trust fund and the Social Security trust fund was so bad I haven't even bothered to follow up on it.

Today's WSJ editorial is more interesting, though. It's one of those rare instances when the WSJ editors throw up their hands in exasperation and complain that the GOP congress can't control spending and won't bring in enough revenue to cover their spending.

A couple quotes from WSJ:

What's meaningful about the bill the Senate passed yesterday, however, is just how quickly and utterly some Republicans have abandoned all spending principle.


The highway trust fund, supported by federal gas taxes, is the main source of money for highway projects. To claim deficit "neutrality," the Senate bill mainly diverts general revenue funds into the highway trust, or shifts highway trust fund liabilities into some other fund. But either way, it constitutes deficit spending. The only proper way to "offset" something is to cut expenditures or increase revenues, and this bill by and large does neither. Moving gas guzzler tax proceeds from the general fund to the highway trust is gimmickry, plain and simple. It may bolster the highway trust, but it's a drag on the general Treasury, which by the way isn't exactly in the black right now.

The WSJ doesn't even bother to try to follow up on Tierney's "the Highway Trust Fund has been Raided, just like the Social Security Trust Fund". I sense Social Security fatigue among conservatives. The approach of summer might give them an excuse to try to let the issue fade away. What will progressives do if conservatives simply stop talking about phasing out Social Security?

Nor do they dwell on the details of pork spending. They complain about the overall spending level, but instead of the usual dwelling on the rhetorical details, they focus on the big picture - the GOP is willing to spend too much, and not willing to bring in revenue to match their spending.

Think anything will come of this? Nah.


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