State and local politicians love federal money. Every federal dollar that a state or local politician can spend is a dollar that he or she doesn’t have to ask his or her voters to come up with through taxes or fees.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently said that “America is one big pothole.” President Obama, members of Congress, and pundits often claim that our infrastructure is “crumbling.” The Senate Budget Committee’s new spending plan, for example, uses that word no fewer than ten times in calling for a $100 billion infrastructure package. And in a report released yesterday, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation a grade of D+ on its infrastructure.
It can be very frustrating to work at the Cato Institute and fight for small government.
The Washington Post notes the following quote from Rep. Paul Ryan in his CPAC speech:
For supporters of limited government, there is some good news coming from Washington. On entitlement spending, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new spending plan would reform Medicare and Medicaid, repeal Obamacare, and balance the budget over 10 years.
I wrote about the Ryan budget two days ago, praising it for complying with Mitchell’s Golden Rule and reforming Medicare and Medicaid. But I believe in being honest and nonpartisan, so I also groused that it wasn’t as good as the 2011 and 2012 versions. Now it’s time to give the same neutral and dispassionate treatment to the budget proposed by Patty Murray, the Washington Democrat who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.
The now annual release of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal has replaced the release of the president’s budget proposal as my least favorite policy event of the year. The president promises big government and Ryan promises smaller big government. What makes the Ryan proposal more aggravating is that it’s hardly a vision of limited government, but the left (and many on the right) treats it like it is.
Sigh. Even when they’re sort of doing the right thing, Republicans are incapable of using the right argument.
As the sequester took effect last Friday (and the world as we know it began to end), President Obama and his spokesmen took to the airwaves to insist that they had a fairer and more balanced alternative.
“The budget hawks have defeated the defense hawks.” So read one analyst’s verdict last Friday on the news that, despite months of dire warnings from the Obama administration and the Pentagon’s allies on Capitol Hill, automatic budget cuts to the U.S. Defense Department would go into effect after all. Bill Kristol, the influential editor of the Weekly Standard, was despondent, writing, “the Republican party has, at first reluctantly, then enthusiastically, joined the president on the road to irresponsibility.” But have fiscal scolds really vanquished their neoconservative rivals within the GOP?