Patterico's Pontifications


Congress Loves to Spend Our Money

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 12:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today Congress passed a $23B water resources bill, overriding President Bush’s earlier veto. It is the first time a Bush veto (admittedly a rare event) has been overridden by Congress.

I don’t know enough about this legislation to decide if this is a good or bad result but it’s a huge sum of money and that alone is a concern. However, this Washington Post article sums up for me the problem with Congress and its dedication to pork:

“President Bush suffered the first veto override of his seven-year-old presidency Thursday as the Senate enacted a $23 billion water resources bill despite his protest that it was filled with unnecessary projects.

The 79-14 vote included 34 Republicans who defied the president. Enactment was a foregone conclusion, but it still marked a milestone for a president who spent his first six years with a much friendlier Congress controlled by his Republican Party.

Now he confronts a more hostile, Democratic-controlled legislature, and Thursday’s vote showed that most of the Republicans will defy him on spending matters dear to their political careers.

The bill funds hundreds of Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as dams, sewage plants and beach restoration, that are important to local communities and their representatives. It also includes money for the hurricane-hit Gulf Coast and for Florida Everglades restoration efforts.”

Sometimes it’s hard to separate politicians’ and constituents’ interests but I think the Washington Post gets it right here. Even if these are important issues to constituents, this law was passed because it was “dear to their [politicians’] political careers.” Too many in Congress don’t see the difference.


29 Responses to “Congress Loves to Spend Our Money”

  1. “Sometimes it’s hard to separate politicians’ and constituents’ interests”

    That’s how democracy works dear. It’s sloppy I know, but politicians work for us, not the other way around.

    blah (fb88b3)

  2. Blah,

    I’m glad we agree because that was my point.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  3. Shhhhhhhhhhh…

    Don’t point that out, DRJ… You’ll ruin it for him.

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  4. I read about this bill the other day…the house had a water bill for 14 billion, the senate had a water bill for 15 billion…so they should have split the difference…a bill for 14.5 billion, right?…They went to committee and added 8 billion in pork…unbelievable!

    Stacy In Tucson (b99466)

  5. The article and you are both confused.
    Republican voters will be angry if their republican representatives don’t vote the way the republican voters want. The Bill had republican backing in congress because it had republican backing farther down the ladder. You can’t blame the democrats for that.

    If you want a government led by people who act only according to their own principles, maybe you should find yourself a dictatorship.

    blah (fb88b3)

  6. Blah,

    You’re backwards. I want Congress to be led by people who act according to what their constituents want, not what their careers dictate.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  7. You’re backwards. I want Congress to be led by people who act according to what their constituents want, not what their careers dictate.

    You’ll likely get even MORE spending that way. I’d like Congressmen to know when the people are way off base. If Reps just vote exactly what their constituents want, we’ve tipped over to a direct democracy on everything, rather than a republic.

    Steverino (e00589)

  8. Steverino,

    You’re not giving the American people much credit for fiscal responsibility.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  9. ” I want Congress to be led by people who act according to what their constituents want,”

    but you refuse to admit that they did just that: choosing loyalty to their constituents over loyalty to their party.

    blah (fb88b3)

  10. You’re not giving the American people much credit for fiscal responsibility

    That would be because, as a rule, we’re pretty fiscally irresponisble.

    A pure democracy only works until the people realize they can vote themself cake and circuses…

    Scott Jacobs (91f7ff)

  11. Scott Jacobs has IT, And I feel we are very close to the edge. Sooo, who will pay for cake??

    Tregg Wright (8cb5a9)

  12. It’s clear I didn’t do a good job explaining my original point. It was actually a more limited point than this discussion has evolved into. I’m not debating loyalty between politicians, constituents and party or the merits of representative democracy. To me, this about corruption.

    I think politicians are corrupt when their first and only priority is getting re-elected. Re-electing an incumbent politician can be good for constituents, the party, and/or the nation but I have a problem when self-interest is all that motivates them.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  13. I think many of the constituents see the buttered side of the bread, also. That’s why I feel we will ultimately topple unless some major reforms occur–ie Line item veto.

    Tregg Wright (8cb5a9)

  14. “Thursday’s vote showed that most of the Republicans will defy him on spending matters dear to their political careers.”

    ,..because their constituents will vote them out of office. Bush is not popular. What’s the problem here? We don’t need better leaders, we need a more well informed electorate.

    blah (fb88b3)

  15. I guess I have more confidence in voters (and juries, for that matter) than some people.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  16. “I guess I have more confidence in voters (and juries, for that matter) than some people.”

    Then why aren’t you happy? This was a victory for the voters.

    blah (fb88b3)

  17. DRJ – I do note vote for a person to express my interests, I vote for the person that is most likely to be a responsible steward of not only our district’s interests, but more importantly, our country’s interests.

    blah – Nobody wins when Congress is so irresponsible. Nobody.

    JD (707046)

  18. Blah, JD, et al,

    I have no problem with politicians who vote for or against something because they feel it’s best for the country, their constituents, and even (on occasion) their party. I do have a problem with politicians who vote to bring home pork so they can enhance their chance to get re-elected. Capisce?

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  19. I completely agree, and that is all this bill was. The pols think we will fall for it, and generally, they get away with it. Fiscal responsibility is so not possible.

    JD (707046)

  20. And why would politicians be any less self-interested than their constituents?
    I try to be better than that, but I don’t vote for someone to “lead” me. Ideally I would hope I was voting for someone to speak on my behalf, and if he ends of behaving like an idiot, then I take some of the blame. Don’t trust, verify, is a good rule for any politician. I don’t even trust the ones I like.

    I don’t blame politicians for their failures without also blaming the people who elected them. No one escapes responsibility.
    Saying you followed the wrong man isn’t enough. Following is the first mistake.

    blah (fb88b3)

  21. Re comment 4:
    Perhaps you’re familiar with Churchill’s summation of how the preWWI UK naval buildup was hammered out. I don’t have the quote front of me, but it was something like this: “We asked for eight, they offered six, we agreed on twelve.” [The government wanted to build to build eight battleships. The opposition counteroffered with six. The eventual agreement was six now and six later if circumstances made it reasonable. Circumstances (the German naval buildup) made it reasonable.]

    kishnevi (04d158)

  22. Yes, blah. You have made it a practice to show that you are an independent thinker. You never just mouth the new talking points. You are clearly a thought leader amongst all you encounter.

    JD (49efd3)

  23. Politians are just a bunch of crooks. I don’t understand how anyone can actually support any of those people. House, Senate, President… it’s always choosing who is the least bad. How do people get passionate about that?

    Justin (ac5fc4)

  24. DRJ, as long as half the voters don’t pay income tax, I’ll have no faith at all in the electorate’s ability to rein in spending.

    Steverino (e00589)

  25. Steverino – You just hit on one of my pet peeves. The number of actual taxpayers continues to shrink and shrink. Every new targeted tax cut eliminates more taxpayers from the rolls, and places a bigger $ burden on an increasingly decreasing group of actual taxpayers.

    JD (49efd3)

  26. And from the chamers of the CONgress comes the sound of loud oinking as the hawgs are slopped

    krazy kagu (fb0f9e)

  27. JD, it’s been one of mine for years: we are getting to the point where the majority of voters will bear no consequence for their actions, at least on a fiscal level. Get ready for the deluge.

    Steverino (e00589)

  28. Didn’t we just recently pass that tipping point, 50%+1 ? It is completely off topic, so I will save it for another thread, but there is no longer a sense of ownership of our society. It is a nebulous idea that only an increasing few have to sacrifice for.

    JD (49efd3)

  29. oh boy do they ever love to spend our money and alot of the times on themselves

    Steve "The Debt Reduction Man" B (292cdb)

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