Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spend. Tax. Borrow. Repeat.

From The New York Times:

Congressional Republicans rolled out a new line of talking points today, declaring that President Obama’s proposed $3.6 trillion budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.

The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, was first to utter those words, during a conversation with a small group of reporters at his office in the Capitol.

“On the budget, it’s really clear,” Mr. Boehner said. “It spends too much. It taxes too much. And it borrows too much.”

Mr. Boehner added: “It’s a continuing theme that I think you’ll hear from us in the days and weeks and probably months to come.”

Actually, in just a few moments, on the other side of the Capitol, at a news conference with Senate Republicans.

“Senate Republicans find the budget has three fatal flaws,” the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said. “No. 1, it spends too much. No. 2, it taxes too much. And No. 3, it borrows too much.”

Mr. McConnell, elaborated just a bit. “So over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about, first, the fact that it spends too much: it’s estimated that they could be hiring up to a quarter of a million new federal employees. Second, that it taxes too much – and, as you know, it’s going to include energy taxes as well as increases in tax rates. And number three, of course, the borrowing is astonishing. So with that, let me turn it over to our leader on the budget committee, who will further elaborate on our problems with this particular budget proposal.”

Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the budget committee, stepped in just to make sure everyone had been paying attention. “Thank you, Mr. Leader,’ he said. “As you say, this budget spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.”

If there seemed to be an echo effect, it was no accident. Senate Republicans stunned the Democrats last week by unexpectedly blocking a $410 billion spending bill, and they were successful in part because some Democrats are also increasingly uncomfortable with the levels of government spending these days.

Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, announced that he would oppose the spending bill because it included an increase in discretionary spending of more than 8 percent – far outstripping the rate of inflation.

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