|By Bob Weaver OPINION AND COMMENT|
It is surprising the Bush administration has become the drunken sailor of spending taxpayer money, increasing the national debt beyond the comprehension of most taxpayers to fathom.
Bush is seeking to convince the public that the economy is healthier, people are happier, and the world is safer, that the real political issues are patriotism, God, guns and gays.
No matter what political ground on which you stand, you should clearly understand the Bush administration's spending legacy has become the worst in the nation's history.
On some spending spells, he has had considerable support from Democrats.
Surely, Washington is out of touch with middle America.
The late Senator Paul Simon said "It is easy if you're in Washington to be influenced by the powerful and wealthy. There are no unemployed people at cocktail parties."
Which reminds me of attending a major poverty conference put on by the Appalachian Regional Council in Huntington-Ashland a few years ago. Those attending flew into the Huntington airport, drove their nice cars to area motels and ate from bountiful buffets. When I looked around, there were no poor, unemployed, working class people on the agenda. I left.
President Bush's new budget projects the Medicare overhaul he just signed will cost one-third more than estimated.
This year's federal deficit will surge past a half trillion dollars for the first time.
The White House told congressional conservatives that the Medicare bill would cost $395 billion. Now it is estimated the cost is $534 billion for the decade that ends in 2013. A billion here, a billion there.
The Medicare prescription bill, while providing needed relief for seniors, is a major drain on taxpayers. The measure allows full-tilt Medicare money to go to drug and insurance companies, whose prices and rates have yet to be called to task.
The projections are deepening an election-year wedge between the White House and conservative Republicans, upset over spending and budget deficits that they say have grown too high on Bush's watch.
"No one vote has caused me more angst in my short political career," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. "I hope this will embolden conservatives and others" to control spending.
The Congressional Budget Office, has said the new Medicare package in its second decade could exceed $1.5 trillion.
When Democratic President Jimmy Carter left the White House in 1981, America's national debt was less than $1 trillion. Since then — mostly under Republicans — it has soared to a staggering $7 trillion, which equals about $65,000 owed per American family.
Conservatives long complained about those "tax and spend" Democrats. Where are those conservatives now, hidden under a rug in the oval office?
Never in history has the government outspent its revenue at such a rate.
Under Democratic President Bill Clinton the imbalance was brought under control — but it has exploded under Republican George W. Bush.
Bush insisted on trillion-dollar tax giveaways which mostly benefit the wealthy, while jacking up military spending with no way to pay for it except by borrowing.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday that this year's federal deficit will reach a stunning $477 billion — the worst in any nation in history. Over the next decade, it forecast a $2.4 trillion total deficit. That's $1 trillion worse than the estimate last August.
A trillion here, a trillion there.
The economy is being "improved" by zero percent interest rates. Any nickel and dime economist will tell you these "savings" are Trojan horses designed to encourage people to borrow money to spend more.
The Associated Press noted that "consumer debt has more than doubled in the past 10 years to record levels.... Consumer debt hit a record $1.98 trillion... and translates to some $18,700 per U.S. household."
The Bush bubble will burst.
With millions of jobs being shifted abroad, the movement to eliminate overtime pay by the Bush administration, jobs that pay less with no benefits, health care and prescription drugs un-affordable - working peoples priorities will shatter government budgets.
The dialog about America's future must change soon.
It needs to happen now, even though its an election year.