Yesterday, the Budget Busting Buffoon delivered his mid-session budget review. It was twenty minutes of purely revolting revisionism and conservative propaganda. He wasted no time in shaping the budget debate as an ideological battle the conservatives are winning, proving yet again the White House's Alice in Wonderland reality.
If Congressional Democrats don't aggressively refute the President's propaganda, misinformation and lies, they're going to find themselves being blamed for a budget mess that is solely the responsibility of a bankrupt and failed conservative economic policy.
If we fail to expose this Administration's fiscal lies, we will needlessly forfeit the mantle of fiscal responsibility - and miss a political opportunity to cement a sustained Democratic majority.
Put on your boots (the BS gets pretty deep) and join me below the fold.
The full video can be found here. Transcript here.
The President uses his bully pulpit to outline the ideological underpinnings of the budget battle by stating:
The release of the mid-session review is a good opportunity to take stock of the debate over taxes and spending in Washington. At its core, the debate is between two very different economic philosophies and fiscal philosophies. One philosophy says that politicians in Washington know best; says taxes should be high and government should decide where to spend the money. And the other philosophy says that the American people know how to spend their own money better than the government does -- so government should spend less and the taxpayer should keep more. And that's the fundamental debate here in the nation's capital.
For the past six years, my administration and our allies in Congress have pursued the second philosophy.
Really? Is that what the Republicans were doing as they managed our way into an unprecedented budget deficit, played a shell game with annual Iraq "emergency" supplementals, scandalously abused the Appropriations process, and underfunded critical agencies? Is that he's talking about? If so, the philosophy is bankrupt and has FAILED, Mr. President.
He discusses the declining federal budget deficit, glossing over the fact when he and his congressional allies took full control of the federal government in 2001, there was a budget surplus. Conveniently overlooking this important detail, he craftily diverts blame for the deficit away from his tax cutting philosophy.
A shrinking deficit is good; no deficit is better. So earlier this year I proposed a balanced budget that will eliminate the federal deficit by 2012. The deficit is not caused by under-taxing; it's caused by over-spending. So the budget we proposed keeps us on the path to low taxes and spending restraint. And according to the mid-session review, that path will lead to a surplus of $33 billion in 2012. In other words, despite the unprecedented challenges we face, the United States is going to be back in the black.
The policies of low taxes and spending restraint have produced a clear and measurable record of success. You can't argue with what I'm telling you. These are the facts. Yet, in the face of all the evidence, Democrats in Congress still want to take us down a different path. We've shown what works. They must not believe us, because they passed a budget framework that calls for $205 billion in additional domestic spending over the next five years. The budget framework they passed calls for $205 billion additional of federal spending in a five-year period. That works out to nearly $680 per person. It's no surprise that their budget framework also includes the largest tax increase in American history.
Some of this might sound familiar to some of you older hands around here -- it's the same old tax-and-spend policy that the Democrats have tried before. It would have the same bad result. Tax-and-spend would add to the burden of families and businesses.
After setting the stage, Bush goes on clear attack - accusing the Democrats of inaction, fiscal abuse and mismanagment. This is where Democrats MUST respond, in my opinion.
The Democrats are also delaying the 12 basic spending bills that are needed to keep the federal government running. At their current pace, I am not likely to see a single one of these must-pass spending bills before Congress leaves Washington for a four-week recess. And by the time they return, they will have less than a month before the fiscal year ends on September 30th to pass the appropriations bills.
It's important that they honor the pledges they made when they took control of the Congress, and that is they pledged a policy of transparent government and fiscal responsibility. Well, now is the time to show that they're serious. And one way they can do so is they can pass spending bills on time, instead of creating a massive bill at the end of the process that will be so large that no one can possibly read it and anyone can hide wasteful spending in it. The Democrats should honor their commitment to fiscal discipline by passing these bills in a way that sustains our growing economy and balances the federal budget.
Does the president recall that last year, his Republican allies failed to enact ALL the appropriations bills EXCEPT Defense and Homeland Security for FY 2007? Even though they controlled both the legislative and executive branches, the Republicans FAILED to pass domestic spending bills, practically across the board. Now, which party is fiscally irresponsible?
Bush also neglects to point out that he's threatened to veto nine of the dozen appropriations bills working their way through the House. He's playing politics with the nation's finances - the reason he's threatened to veto the Foreign Service bill is because he's opposed to the omission of the "Mexico City" anti-abortion language).
The President next turns to a real vulnerability - earmark reform. This practice, viewed by many congress critters as critical to re-election efforts ingites anger in the electorate. Both parties have participated - although it was the Republicans who oversaw the broad expansion of this secretive practice (pdf).
First, there's the matter of earmarks. Earmarks are spending provisions that are slipped into bills by individual members of Congress for projects in their own district or state; they're just slipped in the bill. Often, the earmarks occur at the last hour and without debate. This violates the trust of the public and often leads to unnecessary spending. The problem is growing, and over the last decade, the number of earmarks has more than tripled.
So earlier this year, I proposed reforms that would make the earmark process more transparent, end the practice of concealing earmarks in so-called report language, would eliminate wasteful earmarks and cut the overall number and cost by at least half. Democrats and Republicans have taken a good step by agreeing to list all earmarks before bills are passed so the public can see them and lawmakers have a chance to strike them down, get rid of them. Now Congress needs to uphold the commitment and the Senate needs to make this transparency part of its formal rules. The American people deserve to know what they're getting for the money they're sending to the nation's capital. There ought to be full disclosure and full transparency in the appropriations process.
Bush fails to acknowledge the fiscal irresponsibility of the Congressional Republicans and disingenuously claims the 'reformer' and clean government mantle that the Democrats MUST have as their own. Failing to work toward more transparency WILL have unhappy political consequences for Democrats. They cannot allow Bush (and the GOP minority) to win this rhetorical battle. Real reform needs to happen - and Democrats need to be the ones who claim (and deserve) the credit.
Not once during his remarks did he acknowledge that the escalating costs for the Iraq Invasion are "off the books," as all operations have been funded through "emergency" supplementals.
Will the Democrats allow the President and the Republicans to escape the responsibility for the federal fiscal mess? Or will they stand up to the propaganda? Conservatism has failed.
The task is simple - just keep reminding Americans of what they already know: If his lips are moving, he's probably lying.
Conservatism is a bankrupt and failed ideology. It has failed in Iraq. And it has failed in America.