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Creative Bookkeeping and Creative Omission

January 19th, 2004

Don’t believe all that you hear about our current deficit being due to 9/11 and the economic slump. A large amount of that deficit comes from the tax cuts for the wealthy–but an equally large amount comes from GOP spending. Despite the fact that right-wingers have constantly labeled Democrats as “tax-and-spend,” the truth is that since the Reagan years, it has been the Democrats who are less likely to spend. The GOP has gone more than a little nuts in spending now that they have both houses of Congress and the White House. Joe Conason devoted a chapter to this in his definitive text on lies and misconceptions planted by the right, entitled Big Lies (see chapter 4). Since the GOP took control of the House in 1995, thousands more pork projects appeared in the final budget than had been there previously–that’s additional, not replacement. Even Republicans are beginning to be disgusted with the gorging at the trough–and you are paying for it.

Dan Morgan has an excellent new piece on the issue in the Washington Post. He notes, “Republican leaders have winked at the stampede by lawmakers to capture the spoils for their home states and districts. … For a while, President Bush’s budget office complained loudly about earmarking, but lately those protests have died away. The pork barreling, meanwhile, has the support and complicity of top Republican leaders, who have begun using it as a political weapon against Democratic opponents and overly independent GOP lawmakers. Last year hundreds of projects were denied to House members, mostly Democrats, who cast votes against appropriations bills.”

Which means that if you are from a red state, you’re in luck–other people’s tax dollars are coming your way. Blue states, watch out–you’re getting robbed. And the GOP is hardly apologetic. House Majority Leader Dick Armey said without shame, “to the victor goes [sic] the spoils.”

But the spoils are growing drastically, and they are being looted from the pocketbooks of generations to come.

The only way out of this spending hell is to vote the Republicans out–not just of the White House, where our future has been handed to the wealthy on a silver platter and our youth sent off to fight wars for control of oil fields, but the Congress itself must be at least halfway emancipated to stop the hemorrhaging of tax dollars and the runaway debt that already costs us four hundred billion dollars in interest payments each year. Gore was going to pay down the debt and would have protected the surplus. Learn from the lesson.

Kenneth Pollack is a former CIA analyst and NSC member who supported the case for war in Iraq in his book called “The Threatening Storm.” Pollack now says that the intelligence estimates were exaggerated and that the Bush administration used “creative omission” in informing the public and Congress on the real threats, and that while the cost of containment and the human misery “also suggest that there may still have been a case for war, it just wasn’t nearly as compelling as I thought.”

And probably not nearly compelling enough for the American people to support, ergo the “creative omission.” Pollack’s admission of error is admirable, but his inability to tag the outright lies of the administration is less so. This has been a general failing of the media, which is lightning fast in calling the Democratic contenders liars at the drop of a hat, but when Bush pulls off the biggest whoppers we’ve ever seen, will go no further than to say that he has been “not entirely candid” or “inventive with the truth” or some other euphemism that avoids saying the obvious, that Bush is an unabashed liar.

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