Patterico's Pontifications


Budget… Budget…. Where Have I Heard that Before?

Filed under: General — JRM @ 8:22 pm

[Please welcome JRM, an occasional commenter at this web site whom I have invited to contribute here from time to time. — Patterico]

[Posted by JRM]

I woke up this morning to NPR with Barack Obama saying, “As president, I will go through the entire federal budget, page by page, line by line, and I will eliminate the programs that don’t work and aren’t needed.”

Well! Excellent! While I might prefer an “or” for that final “and,” I’m all for budget-slashing. If only Barack Obama had been afforded some opportunity for input into prior budgets; if only he had been part of some sort of group that voted on appropriations bills, why, I’m sure we’d already have his long list of programs to kill off.

Or, you know, not.

Obama and the Democrats aren’t the only ones to pull this, but when you’re one of 100 senators it ought to be a substantial part of your job to look for government programs that don’t work or aren’t needed. For those paying attention at home, the programs are paid for by the people who live here. Taking our money ought to be serious business.

How many such programs did Barack Obama try to axe as a senator? Can’t we get just a few specifics? Isn’t it well past time that we outright reject politicians’ empty promises of reducing or eliminating “unnecessary” spending?


54 Responses to “Budget… Budget…. Where Have I Heard that Before?”

  1. JRM,
    Welcome to the site!

    I agree that it is truly laughable when politicians say they’ll cut programs. It’s very close to the accuracy of a “temporary tax increase” or in my neck of the woods (NorCal), a “temporary toll increase” (which for the Bay Bridge is entering close to its 40th year as a temp increase). When was the last time a federal program actually got shut down in its entirety?

    Cankle (59a78a)

  2. Welcome JRM,

    You’ve got a tough job ahead of defending republican policy.

    Just wondering how many programs John (I voted with President Bush 90% of time) McCain eliminated in his 26 years in the Senate. Hell, they ran up $4 trillion in deficits in just the past 8 years.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  3. jharp, another non sequitur. Where is the program that Obama attempted to eliminate. Obama. Remember, the candidate that this thread was about before you attempted to hijack it with yet another non sequitur?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. Obama attempted to eliminate the Iraq War so I guess that is a positive for harp. Other than that…

    harp, I don’t mean to be unfriendly but why don’t you try to contribute something other than ignorant snarks ? Just once, even.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  5. As part of goals I wonder if Obama is willing to pledge to eliminate the earmark process as it now exists or subject it to sunshine as many other senators have tried to do in recent years.

    Heck he could start by asking his running mate to release more than one year’s worth of earmark requests.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  6. Kinda curious why in four years as a Senator, voting on the budget, Obama hasn’t gone through it “page by page, line by line”.

    Steverino (db5760)

  7. Good post JRM. A more interesting question would be why Obama feels the need to mimic John McCain’s platform of eliminating government waste?

    McCain has a record of doing so, and a bipartisan one at that. And lets not forget he chose Palin for his VP, who won the Governorship of Alaska and an 80% approval rating on the platform of eliminating corruption and wasteful spending – two things that go hand in hand.

    Obama has no such bragging rights, and, given his background in corrupt Chicago politics, is most likely the last person to fight corruption. Without that, there’s no reduction in spending.

    The voters know who to choose if they want a reduction in pork, and it isn’t Obama.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  8. When did the President get the line item veto?

    Harry Phillips (763b18)

  9. You like that, from a “constitutional law scholar” as another troll put it, Harry?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. Welcome, JRM, and let me congratulate you for having the fortitude to wake up with NPR and Barack Obama. With a sturdy constitution like that, you will be a great blogger.

    DRJ (c953ab)

  11. 1/Cankle:

    Thanks! I’ve been an occasional commenter for some time now. It’s really an honor to be an occasional poster here; the posting quality is really good. I’m an especially big fan of the host and DRJ.


    I have no intent of defending the spending legacy of the current administration at any point. It’s a source of substantial frustration to many of us Republicans.

    But the issue is: You’ve got a guy in the Senate who is saying that, hey, maybe if I get elected president I’ll take a serious look at the budget.

    I’m pretty sure our host doesn’t say, “Hey, if I become the [elected/head] District Attorney, I’ll start reading criminal case law.” Obama’s not the only one in history to do this, but it reflects badly on him and on others in Congress who just won’t do the work to find out what programs aren’t working.


    JRM (355c21)

  12. For one who graduated Harvard law, was Review Editor, and has taught Con Law, I find
    Obama’s promise remarkably silly. What he
    he claims he will do was by ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS in 1998. (Clinton vs. New York).

    My understanding of Article I, Section 7,
    Clause 2, is a president can sign a bill,
    veto a bill, or go on vacation for 10 days. Line item veto, however much desired, is a no, no.

    I am not a lawyer, but I did sleep…oh, never mind.

    Best to all.

    lurker (710dbc)

  13. All of the earmarks for one fiscal year amount to about 3 months in Iraq.

    You GOP ers are buying into a huge fakery. Add it to the list of abortion, gay marriage, pledge in schools, war on Christmas, and prayer in schools.

    It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans and the GOP has no intention of doing anything about any of them. Other than use them to continue to convince the under educated middle class to vote against their own best interest.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  14. When I read a concerned progressive poster write:

    “… under educated middle class to vote against their own best interest….

    All I can think of is: got elitism?

    Education” is apparently a code word for “agree with DNC talking points.” More specifically, when a person posts that kind of nonsense, what they really mean is “why can’t people think the way I do?”

    Riiiggghhht. If only those bitter, gun toting religious people were as…well…smart as people who write such things. Sigh.

    Next stop: Jonah Goldberg’s book.

    But then, it is just more trollery.

    Still, I can’t wait until Ice Truth, Dmac, and the rest of the crew read that one.

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  15. McCain voted to eliminate the Department of Education, the Agriculture Department (which has no real oversight – keep the FDA) The National Endowment of the Arts, Public Television, Overlapping parts of the Port Authorities and the Customs (Which was finally consolidated under the Homeland security Act) McCain voted to end the Housing Administration and turn it over to the
    States, He voted and was instrumental in passing the 1996 Welfare act that ended lifetime welfare and many many more. The useless CAA which was just a subsidy for private aircraft industry and its airfields.

    Obama? Anyone? Anything?

    You know people blast McCain for bucking the system but he voted for the heavy lifting spending cuts that alot of Republicans (scum that they are to libertarians) lost their seats and careers for.

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  16. Oh Yeah and the reason McCains doing poorly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsyvania, Indiana and Ohio – is McCain is against ethanol subsidies

    There have been several articles to that effect – Jay Cost of Real Clear Politics pointed out if McCain had pandered to the ethanolists cabal this election would be in essence over.

    Didn’t sell his soul,

    On another note stood by a pregnant 16 year old girl he never met and accepted her troubles as his own.

    We may never see a man like this run again in our lifetime.

    Pity that half of America has embraced an empty vapid suit

    EricPWJohnson (c00a5d)

  17. How would you expect Hussein O to eleminate any programs. In his 143 days of showing up for his job (in four years) he hasn’t read one entire bill he voted for. The only thing he’ll cut is the military and Intel forces. He don’t have time for us typical Americans. He’s too busy trying to talk the Iraqi government into delaying the return of American troops from Iraq. That alone should put him against the wall with several poor shots gut shooting him so he’ll suffer.

    Scrapiron (d671ab)

  18. Ruh roh.

    “Turmoil in the financial industry and growing pessimism about the economy have altered the shape of the presidential race, giving Democratic nominee Barack Obama the first clear lead of the general-election campaign over Republican John McCain, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll.”

    “The poll found that, among likely voters, Obama now leads McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent.”

    jharp (f4bed7)

  19. John McCain voted to eliminate all those departments? Wow!!! Now I really like him. I’d almost give him shamnesty if he would really do it.

    Barry O is not going to cut the budget, he can’t be bothered with such small potatoes. He is going to get violent people together in a room and dialogue and see all the opposing views and solve everything.

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  20. The WaPo/ABC sample is about 10% more Democratic in Party ID than Gallup’s Party ID numbers today. And it isn’t remotely close to either of the two major tracking polls. So I’ll be considering that an outlier until we get some confirmation from other polls.

    Karl (1b4668)

  21. Zzzzzz Snort!
    Obama’ plan is a recycled version of Jimmy Carter’s “zero based” budgeting. Jimmuh promised to cut government spending by starting at zero for each and every budget line item rather than just increase the prior year’s budget. It, like Obama’s promise, was a failure.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  22. Obama will not have a line item veto, so is he lying or ignorant?

    tyree (0ef814)

  23. Hey Karl,

    “The WaPo/ABC sample is about 10% more Democratic in Party ID than Gallup’s Party ID numbers today.”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong but this is how I read it. From your links.

    WaPo/ABC 38% Dem 28% Rep 29 Ind

    Gallup. In the Sept. 20-22 tracking data, 35% of Americans identify as Democrats, 26% Republicans, and 33% as independents, resulting in a 9-point Democratic advantage.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  24. What percentage of trolls are claiming to be things that they are not on right-leaning websites?

    Since we are into off-topic comments, that is.

    Yawn. You believe in polls when you agree with them. You don’t when you don’t. I remember folks like you screaming in 2000, when you were (I believe) still in middle school, that the “exit polls” didn’t match the results.

    Voting matters. Polls don’t. But the MSM loves that people like you believe them, and run back in forth either happy or dejected about it. It’s what the MSM is all about: being more excitable than a parakeet in front of a mirror.

    Same troll. Different thread.

    Who knows how the election will work out? One thing is certain: you will still be stinking up the joint with insults and contradictory statements.

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  25. JRM, enjoyed your first of hopefully many posts. DRJ wrote what I was going to say! And that’s that you woke with NPR and BHO, which takes fortitude. Then, to find time to stop by and blog for everyone’s enjoyment. Nice!

    Barry will continue to make the typical dramatic statement regardless of his own track record, because he’s running a Chicago-style campaign: Lies, distraction and revisionism.

    I like what Bill Clinton said about O. He isn’t used to running against Republicans — and the fact is, they just don’t care what the NY Times or Newsweek says about ’em. O staked his claim early as the anti-war underdog. So he’s going to play the crowds with all that fakery, junk and pap. He could’ve done the job he was paid for: Review and vote on programs to help stop the ballooning budget. Instead, he lies and distorts to build up this week’s stump speech. A fraud.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  26. Nicely said, VN. And JRM, I appreciate your time and effort.

    I teach college, and I am dismayed to learn how many students get all their political ideas from television shows.

    But just try asking them to identify Iraq on a map. Heck, don’t try South Dakota! And they all seem strangely fuzzy about how bills become law, and who submits them.

    Their vote counts as much as mine. Yes, we can!

    Oh my.

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  27. “The poll found that, among likely voters, Obama now leads McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent.”

    That’s an eleven-point swing in Obama’s favor in just two weeks, among likely voters. What if the White House engineered a financial crisis for political gain, only to see it backfire on McCain?“

    Just as he has screwed up everything he has touched why not throw an anchor to McCain just as he’s about to go underwater.

    What a perfectly appropriate closing act to the Bush presidency.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  28. 9:40 / 9:45

    EricPWJohnson: excellent points, both.

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  29. 9:48 Eric

    “Education” is apparently a code word for “agree with DNC talking points.”

    As is Racist!

    p.s. and thanks

    Vermont Neighbor (a066ed)

  30. jharp – What if the White House engineered a financial crisis for political gain

    Really? Did you really write that? That’s one of the most absurd things you’ve ever written. And that’s saying something.

    Biden’s got nothing on you.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  31. Hey, Apogee, the guy is just a troll. Claims to be the father of two kids, world traveler, works when he wants to, good looking, plays golf all the time (and posts late at night from the midwest, despite that schedule). Oh, and isn’t involved in the stock market. At one point he claimed to have made money importing Elton John sunglass replicas from China. Brags incessantly, insults consistently, and trolls constantly.

    I’m thinking Kinko’s swing shift. Comparative sociology major. Graduated about three years ago. That Watson Fellowship didn’t work out.

    What do you think?

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  32. No. I didn’t write that. I borrowed it.

    I posted it because that is exactly what I think is happening.

    Think about it. From 0 to 700 billion in about 5 days?

    What do you think? Another one of the “no one cold have anticipated” lines. Fer christsakes didn’t McCain just Monday brag about the fundamental soundness of our economy.

    Then a week later if the taxpayers don’t come up with $700 billion within two weeks our economy will collapse.

    You tell me. Something doesn’t add up.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  33. A certain individual wrote:

    “..Something doesn’t add up…”

    Oh, I couldn’t agree more. But not about politics or the economy, no.

    Seriously, dude, get some new material.

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  34. jharp,

    The “net leaned” number in the WaPo poll is 54% Democrats.

    So I was incorrect — the advantage vs. Gallup is only 5%.

    The Dem advantage shrinks in Rasmussen’s latest numbers.

    Neither of which changes that the WaPo/ABC numbers look out of line compared to every other national poll taken during the time period in question. Not terribly out of line, once you factor in the relevant margins of error in each. But on the fringe of what you could stretch any of the others into. And as both Gallup and Rasmussen tightened by a point on Tuesday, I tend to doubt that any other poll is going to confirm the WaPo/ABC result before the first debate and more weekend polling intervenes.

    Karl (1b4668)

  35. jharp – You tell me. Something doesn’t add up.

    Eric Blair – Now it’s defending itself. Not only does the assertion destroy any and all reasons to vote not only for Barack Obama this election, it destroys any and all reasons to vote Democratic for the foreseeable future.

    For the scenario to be true, one of two logical possibilities must also be true.

    1) The Democrats in Congress and their advisors, the majority party, would have to possess no ability to ascertain the validity or extent of the financial crisis that spurs this bailout.

    If that is the case, they have no business occupying their current positions.

    2) The Democrats know that it is a sham, but fail to inform the public, during a close election year, and instead go along with the ‘scheme’.

    If that is the case, they have no business occupying their current positions.

    Obama to both Joe Biden and jharp: “Stop Helping!”

    Apogee (366e8b)

  36. Apogee, the Obama campaign has more “helpers” than serial plagiarists and trolls. Check this link out:

    Most importantly, look at the quote from Obama at the bottom of the article.

    A “new” politics from Chicago? Yes, we can!

    And here I thought “every vote should count.”

    Apparently some votes are more equal than others.

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  37. Apogee,

    Put the bong away.

    George Bush is still the President.

    You ever hear “the buck stops here”.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  38. Karl,

    You posted.

    “The “net leaned” number in the WaPo poll is 54% Democrats.

    So I was incorrect — the advantage vs. Gallup is only 5%.

    The Dem advantage shrinks in Rasmussen’s latest numbers.”

    during the week of September 21-27, 2008, the partisan weighting targets used by Rasmussen Reports will be 39.0% Democratic, 33.5% Republican, and 27.5% unaffiliated.

    WaPo/ABC poll 38% Dem 28% Rep 29% Ind

    What in the hell are you talking about? These are numbers from your links.

    The Dem advantage shrinks? From 38% to 39%?

    jharp (f4bed7)

  39. jharp – Put the bong away.

    Funny you mention a bong, just after a wild speculation on your part as to the ‘faking’ of the financial meltdown backfires to reveal your assertion as poorly thought through.

    It certainly explains your comments.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  40. OK then Mr. Apogee.

    Kindly explain to me how we went from 0 to 700 billion in 5 days.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  41. Eric – at least she’s been identified.

    It is quite interesting that, if the electoral process were to break down in this country, people such as Brunner would be at an extreme disadvantage regarding the following chaos. Her authority derives completely from the system she seeks to sabotage. She should pray for her own failure, as her life could quite conceivably depend on it.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  42. jharp – learn to google and read. I addressed your wild fantasy with a logical argument that destroys your underlying agenda – that the financial meltdown is the product of a Republican fraud. In order for a fraud of that magnitude to occur, the Democrats in Congress, along with their advisors, would have to be ignorant of the facts or complicit in the fraud. Both choices are bad for the Democratic party, and I can assure you that they wish you would stop making this unfounded claim.

    You now wish to offer the false choice that either I can effectively explain to you (to your satisfaction) the reason for the necessity of the bailout, or your assertion must therefore be true.

    Your inability to process even simple logic demonstrates to me, along with everyone reading this blog, how you could come to the completely ludicrous idea that the financial bailout was a product of a ‘secret’ Bush plan. You need to begin to deal with the fact that GWB is leaving office, and the comforting cloud of hatred that has propelled you in your quest for the ‘truth’ will soon be irrelevant.

    You are embarrassing yourself (again) with your statements on this thread.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  43. jharp, once again, you demonstrate your incompetence by confusing registration advantage with likely voters.

    There is no end to your incompetence.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  44. SPQR: the guy is just a troll. And I really think I am correct, that he is some 25 year old fella working at Kinko’s, brain filled with Marcuse and Derrida from his Comparative Sociology major.

    He doesn’t think things through, it is all about snarking and insulting. I very much doubt that he researches much of anything prior to posting. It’s all partisan reactiveness. My guess is that he feels he must “balance” all of this “right wing propaganda” here.

    And as we have learned from our progressive friends, the ends justify the means.

    That being said, you are of course correct. And it is interesting to watch how the press handles polls differentially!

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  45. He’s going to read the entire budget? A feat never attempted by man before! And edit it? He’s got good drugs.

    htom (412a17)

  46. Well, I’m sure the last part is correct, htom!

    Eric Blair (81e599)

  47. jharpy went completely over the edge on this thread. Wow. Just, wow.

    JD (41e64f)

  48. Again, I am proud that my vote, and Better Half’s vote, will cancel out those of jharpy and timmah.

    JD (41e64f)

  49. This line stuck out like a sore thumb to me as well. ANd then it hit me as to why I could never vote for Obama-he’s the guy who keeps getting promoted despite his incompetence.

    Community organizer-failure.
    Chair of CAC-failure.
    Ill. Senator-failure. (Infant born alive and kindergarten sex education; low income housing)
    Dem. Sen-failure, as this post points out.

    He’s never done the job he was hired to do.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  50. “Again, I am proud that my vote, and Better Half’s vote, will cancel out those of jharpy and timmah.”

    – JD

    Or, put another way, there votes will cancel out yours. Guess it’s a “half-full/half-empty” dilemma.

    Leviticus (ab6dbd)

  51. “their”, dammit.

    Leviticus (ab6dbd)

  52. The Astroturf is getting pretty deep around here. A poll commissioned by Obama’s wife and spread around the world by the WaPo.

    The real polls will be volatile for a week or so until after the first two debates. Then we’ll see. Personally, I would like to see more than one VP debate. Maybe Palin and Biden could do 10 town hall meetings together. Anything to get Biden more visibility.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  53. All of the earmarks for one fiscal year amount to about 3 months in Iraq.


    Kindly explain to me how we went from 0 to 700 billion in 5 days.


    George Bush is still the President.


    From now on, every time you do this type of assholish trollbotting, you’re going to get this in response – you are hereby forewarned.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  54. All of the earmarks for one fiscal year amount to about 3 months in Iraq.
    — Therefore, all earmarks are irrelevant? One little drop in the bucket still shows that the roof is leaking.

    It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans and the GOP has no intention of doing anything about any of them.
    — No intention of doing anything about earmarks? Don’t bet the subsidized farm on it.

    Other than use them to continue to convince the under educated middle class to vote against their own best interest.
    — What does the other side use them for, Classhole?

    Icy Truth (630deb)

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