Sen. George Voinovich delivered a passionate, somewhat rambling plea on the Senate floor yesterday to rein in runaway federal spending. "In a nutshell," he said, "our fiscal health is in dire straits." His other warnings included, "We are really in trouble."
Tax cuts that he supported in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, which Voinovich says helped to grow the economy, are not enough to fix the nation's current fiscal problems, he said, leaving open the suggestion that he could balk at making some cuts permanent. In fact, he referred to President Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, and the tax hike after his famous "read my lips" utterance. That president, Voinovich said, "was a profile in courage. He bit the bullet and did what was right for the country and, in the process, probably lost an election."
That doesn't mean Voinovich is ready to raise taxes right now. What's needed instead, he said, is "fundamental tax reform" that would make the tax code more sensible while reordering priorities.
Speaking of priorities, he said, the nation -- while cutting other discretionary spending -- needs to step up spending on long-ignored roads, bridges, mass transit, the Army Corps of Engineers and science, math and engineering education.
Which leads us here: Also yesterday, the Senate passed a $109 billion spending bill that President Bush has threatened to veto. While it contained money for military action in Iraq and Afghanistan and for Hurricane Katrina reconstruction, it also contained plenty of pork. House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert called it "a spending spree at the expense of American taxpayers."
Voinovich voted for that spree, and helped get $400,000 to keep the experimental barrier in Chicago that's supposed to stop killer Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
Do the words "drunken sailor" (which have been uttered by Voinovich before) come to mind? What about all that talk on the Senate floor?
Voinovich spokeswoman Garrette Silverman had this to say:
"Senator Voinovich believes we need a comprehensive examination of
entitlement spending, discretionary spending and the tax code if we are
going to get our country back on solid financial footing.
"The answer is not trying to prove this point by jeopardizing critical
funding for American troops whose lives are on the line in the streets
The carp barrier, she added, won't cost anything extra because it has already been offset from existing Army corp funding.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Voinovich and a Drunken Sailor
Steven Koff is on FIRE today...