Saturday, January 06, 2007

Democrats pull the veil off earmarks

Here's another reason to give the Democrats a little breathing room. In their first order of business, they revised ethics rules to "require lawmakers to attach their names to the pet items they slip into spending or tax bills and certify that they have no financial interest in the provisions." What practical effect it will have remains to be seen but at least this requirement goes far beyond the tepid "reforms" that have been passed so far and it demonstrates that the Democratic Party has heard the voters and is willing to respond to the public outcry for accountability.

They tie the reform into a resuurected provision for Pay as You Go system of spending. This is good in terms of fiscal responsibility but Robert Kuttner at the Globe issues a timely warning. The Dems have to careful in trying to bring some balance into the budget process that they don't fall into the trap of imitating the mythical small government Republicans and thus lose their identity as the party of the people.
Did Democrats win a hard-fought campaign to take back Congress, only to govern like fiscally prudent Republicans -- delivering balanced budgets but with shamefully low levels of social investment? If that turns out to be the case, there will be a chasm between the Democrats' rhetoric and their program -- a huge gap between what voters chose and what Democrats delivered. The risk is that, by embracing pay-as-you-go rules but flinching at the task of restoring tax equity, Democrats set themselves a trap.
But Kuttner knows how to avoid the trap.
The solution, of course, is to embrace a progressive tax code. A repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, coupled with more relief for working families, would allow both fiscal balance and some increased social spending.
The bottom line is the Democrats need to prove they're not beholden to big money campaign donors and move aggressively to eliminate the tax giveaways for the wealthy and the corporations they run.

And I have one other bone to pick on Kuttner's piece. The No Child Left Behind Act is one of the most dismal failures of the Bush administration. That program has been a impedient to a meaningful public education from the get-go and should be abolished altogether. If you think so too, please sign the petition.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they can do it without repealing the tax cuts. It's fine to stop the corporate give aways, but the less money the government has the better. Paris hilton isn't going to fund any terrorist militias or start any stupid faith based thingy with her money.

We all know they won't pay down the debt with the increased revenues

11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I think you're wrong on this one Lester. The tax cuts have to go and they need to get behind a progressive tax code if they're going to reclaim their roots.

12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cuz you're an expert on economics. socialist impolitic dictator

3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

LOL, Lester are you BWI? I'm going to take that as a joke.

8:36:00 AM  

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