GOP leadership has failed in its core promise to America to keep a lid on spending. At David Stockman’s Contra Corner, Stockman laments the GOP’s abandonment of fiscal discipline. He writes:
Here they go again. The House GOP leadership is fixing to sell-out the nation’s fiscal future still another time in order to protect missions that have nothing to do with true conservative governance.
We are talking about:
- Playing policeman to the world with a hideously expensive Warfare State.
- Building physical and enforcement walls at the Mexican borders when we desperately need more imported workers.
- Loading up the budget with do-gooder pork that should not be dispensed by government at all or, at worst, should be handled by state and local units where both the benefits and costs are more evident to grass roots voters.
Owing to the above GOP follies, the so-called conservative party has once again fallen flat on its face fiscally, having passed only one of the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2024 to date. And that’s even under the ultra-lax ceilings agreed to in Speaker McCarthy’s capitulation to the Washington spenders during the June debt ceiling showdown. Not surprisingly, the only spending bill the full House has actually approved was the military construction appropriation, which is the very living essence of the Federal pork barrel.
So now we have another continuing resolution (CR) which pretends to be a prudent stopgap, but actually amounts to Washington shenanigans as usual. It fully funds the DoD boondoggle at current levels of $858 billion, while pretending to hold nondefense appropriations to 8.1285% below current levels.
Let’s see. The above nondefense cutback is effective for just 31 days and excludes the giant Veterans medical system, which has a current budget level of $119 billion. So what is being cut is one-twelfth of one-twelfth of the current $653 billion nondefense appropriations level excluding Veterans medical care. That computes to a savings of just $4.5 billion—a perhaps meaningful sum in the real world but only six hoursworth of the projected $6.4 trillion of Federal outlays for FY 2024.
So the question recurs. How in the world has the Republican-controlled House not been able to pass this year’s appropriations bills in the face of agreed-upon spending allowances for FY 2024 that virtually give fiscal profligacy a new definition?
And we do mean profligacy. When Big Spender Obama shuffled out of the White House, the FY 2017 budget authority level for so-called discretionary appropriations—defense and nondefense combined—was $1.22 trillion.
By contrast, the so-called FRA (Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023) sets a “cap” for FY 2024—including all the gimmicks and budgetary legerdemain—of $1.66 trillion. That’s $440 billion or 36% more than under Obama—yet these big talking GOP anti-spenders couldn’t even pass appropriation bills that conformed to this exceedingly lenient overall ceiling.
Read more here.
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