has a post this morning which quotes extensively from a column by Dan Thomasson
. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me assure you that I am against pork. And I really don't expect a whole lot from Dan Thomasson who has never been the sharpest tack in the box.
However, this column is just worthless. He utterly fails to mention that the budget was balanced in the 90s because we cut defense drastically. Fools talked about a "peace dividend" because the USSR went defunct. Contrary to the lessons of all of recorded history, war was supposedly no longer a threat.
And this part of the column really made me shake my head:
Over the last 10 years discretionary spending -- the 40 percent of the budget the Congress and the president control -- has increased 65 percent. Since Mr. Bush became president, it has jumped 49 percent, according to Waste Watch, the newspaper of the Citizens Against Government Waste and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. Even excluding spending related to Katrina, defense and homeland security, discretionary expenditures jumped 22 percent.
Wow! In 10 years, discretionary spending was up a whole 22%! Pick me up off the floor.
Hmmmmm. How does that stack up to 10 years of inflation? I did a real quick google search and found this inflation calculator
. I don't know the exact ten year time period to which he refers, but the calculator shows that inflation from Jan 1996 to Jan 2006 was up a total of 28.43%. If the numbers he uses are correct, discretionary spending rose less than inflation!
Now it occurs to me that the number may actually be adjusted for inflation. Unfortunately, Thomasson does not tell us whether the 22% number he cites is inflation-adjusted. Obviously, that would be nice information for a competent journalist to provide, if we are to be truly informed voters (so I doubt that was really his goal). So what if it is is inflation-adjusted? An increase of right at 2.0% per year compounds to 22% over 10 years (21.9).
Count me among the underwhelmed.
And finally, the idea that Democrats would be more fiscally responsible is laughable. When Bush increased education spending by an enormous, unprecedented margin, Ted Kennedy and his friends attacked him for not spending more. The only way that Democrats would give us a smaller budget would be by slicing the military to shreds. Call it a "peace dividend".
Welcome Instapundit readers!
I should have noted that I am only commenting on the information provided in the quoted column. Based on the facts as laid out by Thomasson, the numbers simply are not a big deal. If (as the first commenter wrote) the actual numbers are different, my judgment may be different. The first commenter says the increase is inflation-adjusted and represents only five years.
Bottom Line -- if you want an accurate perspective on the situation, this column won't help.