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Pledge Part 2

September 23, 2010

“A Plan to Stop Out-of-Control Spending and Reduce the Size of Government”

Part 2 of the pledge is a little more meat and potatoes and should appeal much more to the conservatives(like this guy) who think this government is acting like Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions.

“Congress should move immediately to cancel unspent ‘stimulus’ funds, and block any attempts to extend the timeline for spending ‘stimulus’ funds.”  This line is a little redundant.  If you cancel unspent funds, why do you need to block extensions?  I’m thinking the repubs are hedging their bets here, foreseeing a difficulty on canceling the Congressional slush fund.  As far as blocking extensions, the Pay it Back Act has already been passed by the House, and is referred to the Senate committee on Housing, Banking and Urban Affairs as Senate Bill 1683; to reiterate, this act extends the timeline for spending stimulus funds till December 31st, 2012(current deadline is end of this month).

“With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels, saving us at least $100 billion in the first year alone”.  Ok, I think I am a relatively common-sense sort of guy, so I am trying to think of which exceptions for seniors we are talking about here(seriously, they could have spelled it out a bit yes?).  Vets, troops, I’m digging it.  $100 billion, sounds good, kinda small if you ask me, we have been a little jaded in the last few years on the word “billion”, used to be a big number, now its like the new million.

The Pledge offers to set strict(though unspecific) budget caps on the congress.  Uhhh, no comment, they should have freaking caps already.

They will unspecifically(just invented a double-speak word) reduce congress’ budget, ok good, now tell me by how much?

They pledge to hold weekly meetings on spending cuts tied in with their YouCut initiative.  YouCut is pretty neat, it allows americans to vote on certain cuts we want passed in Congress, the cuts are offered up on Eric Cantor’s House Whip website(ugghh, Cantor is my new boogeyman[note to readers, he is my Congressman] and unfortunately this website has to suffer from his adds), unfortunately as far as I can see, there is no method to offer your own suggestions, only ways to vote on theirs.  If they can offer these suggestions on YouCut for things that need to be cut, doesn’t that mean they already think the programs are wasteful and unnecessary, so shouldn’t they just cut them anyway?  Just saying.

They pledge to end TARP(the bailout for the acronym challenged).  This is most definitely a mea culpa on the part of House Republicans, 91 of whom voted for the bailout(Eric Cantor included).   The sad thing is TARP was $700 billion, and according to the pledge, canceling it will only save us $16 billion.  Apparently they spent this money a hell of a lot faster than the stimulus.

See if your congressman voted for it here.

In the pledge, they plan to make Barney Frank a sad panda.  They want to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, shrink their portfolios and set minimum capital standards.  If it puts Frank’s panties in a bunch, can’t be all that bad.

“We will impose a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees”, good stuff, leave the military alone, stop hiring IRS agents for everything.

They plan to set sunset dates for federal programs to require a review of the program and a vote to allow its continuation.  As I write this, the common sense bug just whispered in my ear, “How come all this stuff isn’t already being done?”  I mumbled to it something about unchecked power and spending and then told him I thought I saw his shadow and he scurried away not to return for another 6 weeks.

“requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.”  Heard it before, don’t believe for one second congress will do anything about these programs until they are forced to, so blah blah blah blah blah.

So there we have it.  Second part of the pledge, three more to go.  Despite my sarcasm and distrust of these guys(that means you Eric), I do like what they offer here, if I think most of it doesn’t go far enough.  The amount of money the government has spent in the last few years dwarfs the budgets of the majority of countries in the world, and putting together a couple cuts that total less than $500 billion is just nibbling at the problem.  We need much more drastic action if we are gonna get on top of deficit, but at least this is a start.

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