Monday, February 05, 2007

Bush seeks $2.9 trillion budget

"We've got to spend our way to prosperity. Plus, I want to get me one of those diamond encrusted space shuttles."

The New York Times reports that President Bush has sent a proposed $2.9 trillion budget for next year over to Capitol Hill, "where it is certain to be sharply criticized by the Democrats, who control both houses but are by no means all powerful".

Yes, I'm sure it will be criticized by the Democrats. But not entirely whittled down. I mean, have you ever seen a modern era U.S. government hold back the uptrend trend in spending and government enlargement? It will never happen, for reasons aptly described by Harry Browne in the book, Why Government Doesn't Work (a book which I'm finally around to reading and I highly recommend).

Far more likely that the Democrats will flaunt their disapproval in print and on TV, settling, in the end, for a modest cut in the proposed figure. Something more reasonable: say a sum of only $2.65 trillion.

Meanwhile, the focus will shift to an argument over how to spend that money when the budget is passed. The Democrats will probably argue for a wellness and meditation center in Iraq, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could spark an idea (inspired, in part, by "a really cool NPR report on biofuels") for a large scale ethanol plant powered by Malaysian palm oil.

To update the old saying: A trillion here, a trillion there. Pretty soon you're talking about real money.