The Budget

April 22, 2003

April 22, 2003

The Congress finally has given us a budget. The budget is a broad outline that gives direction to the Congress as they pass the many spending bills for the year. The big fight was over how much to cut taxes. And that is still a little bit up in the air. President Bush wants a 550 billion dollar cut but the Senate says 350 billion is their limit. We'll see.

There was a lot of worry about what kind ofreduction the agriculture budget would face. Well, as I predicted weeks ago, not much.

The defense budget gets a hefty increase as it should and homeland security is up. There were calls for more money for homeland security, but I think we have to avoid throwing too much money at homeland security. The best security is to be on the offensive against the terrorists whether in this country or around the world. Putting guards to protect our food, water, power, ports, planes and landmarks? There isn't enough to guard everything.

Then let's not forget that every year the Congress spends a lot of money on pet projects. The Washington Times refers to them as "Hogs on the Hill." The Pig Book documents some 22 billion in pork. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, Senator Ted Stevens, Appropriations Chairman, went whole hog spending 393 million. Bringing home the bacon for Hawaii was Senator Daniel Inouye spending 353 million. Stevens and Inouye -the head hogs.

What is so hypocritical about all ofthe add-ons that Congress habitually tries to layer in with the legitimate expenditures is that these are the same members moaning and groaning about the budget deficits. Speaking of the deficit, at this level I tend to discount the problem. President Reagan didn't worry about the deficit. He said, "It's big enough to take care of itself."

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.