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Friday, August 03, 2007

Chutzpah [updated]

AWol in the Rose Garden, yesterday:
The budget I've sent to Congress fully funds America's priorities. It increases discretionary spending by 6.9 percent. My Cabinet Secretaries assure me that this is adequate to meet the needs of our nation.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders in Congress want to spend far more. Their budget calls for nearly $22 billion more in discretionary spending next year alone. These leaders have tried to downplay that figure. Yesterday one called this increase -- and I quote -- "a very small difference" from what I proposed. Only in Washington can $22 billion be called a very small difference. And that difference will keep getting bigger. Over the next five years it will total nearly $205 billion in additional discretionary spending. That $205 billion averages out to about $112 million per day, $4.7 million per hour, $78,000 per minute.

Put another way, that's about $1,300 in higher spending every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year for the next five years. That's a lot of money -- even for career politicians in Washington. In fact, at that pace, Democrats in Congress would have spent an extra $300,000 since I began these remarks.
With the war in Iraq costing well over $100 billion a year, in the worst type of discretionary spending, multiply every number in W's list by at least five--$6500 per second, etc.--to get the damage done by his choice of pork-barrel project (and, of course, that's just the financial impact here at home).

And could there be a worse group of people to determine the adequacy of funding priorities for this country than Bush's cabinet? Even the bought-off gasbags in Congress have a better idea than nutjobs like Condi Rice, Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Chertoff.

Just to make his contempt for Congress crystal clear, W ended his Rose Garden fatwa this way:
I want to thank OMB Director Rob Portman for his hard work in developing this plan. This was Rob's last Cabinet meeting. Laura and I wish him and his family well. And I call on the Senate to confirm his successor, Jim Nussle, so we can work together to keep our government running, to keep our economy growing, and to keep our nation strong.
No, he doesn't ask the Senate to confirm the nominee to be Portman's successor--he calls on them to rubber stamp his imperial decree.

Oh well--maybe I should be glad that I have one thing in common with Bush: contempt for Congress.

Follow-up: Somebody in the White House press corps asked Tony Snow about W's budget double-talk.
Q Tony, you just said a moment ago that $22 billion is a significant chunk of change, you said, for the American people.

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q What then do you make of the Congressional Budget Office report yesterday saying that the war in Iraq is likely to cost over $1 trillion?

MR. SNOW: Well, if you take a look at what happened on September 11th, 2001, it's estimated that the aftershocks of that could have cost up to $1 trillion.
So, I guess Tony is saying that a trillion-dollar screw-up for this administration is hardly unprecedented.

And then, trying (and succeeding) to out-chutzpah both Bush and himself, Snow added this later on:
Well, what you do is, you've got somebody who is looking for a peaceful way to deal with the problem. I believe that most people say, okay, if you can find a way that doesn't involve bloodshed to solve the problem, go for it. And that often happens in our policy.
Oh yeah. Happens all the time. Like the problem of Saddam's WMD's.

They lie to us and enjoy it, even knowing that we know they're lying. That probably makes it even more fun for them.