T Nation

What Congress Can Do for America

A good article I think. It would be terrific, IMHO, if we could pass a line item veto measure and severely cut back on the earmarking going on in D.C.

If Mr. Bush can somehow reign in spending, fix the immigration issues, and start making headway in Iraq, we’ll all be well on the way to success. Anyways, I’d like to hear what everyone elses opinion was on this article.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009473

What the Congress Can Do for America
Let them say of these next two years: We used our time well.

BY GEORGE W. BUSH
Wednesday, January 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

Tomorrow, members of the 110th Congress will take their oaths of office here in Washington. I will have the privilege of working with them for the next two years–one quarter of my presidency, plenty of time to accomplish important things for the American people.

Together, we have a chance to serve the American people by solving the complex problems that many don’t expect us to tackle, let alone solve, in the partisan environment of today’s Washington. To do that, however, we can’t play politics as usual. Democrats will control the House and Senate, and therefore we share the responsibility for what we achieve.

In the days and weeks since the November elections, I have been encouraged by the productive meetings I’ve had with many of the new leaders in Congress from both parties. I am hopeful we can find common ground without compromising our principles.

I believe we share many of the same goals for the people we serve–and with good will and hard effort, we can find practical ways to advance the American Dream and keep our nation safe.

My principles are no secret. I have campaigned on them in my races for governor and in two presidential contests, and I have worked hard during my presidency to translate these principles into sound policy.

I believe that when America is willing to use her influence abroad, the American people are safer and the world is more secure. I believe that wealth does not come from government. It comes from the hard work of America’s workers, entrepreneurs and small businesses. I believe government closest to the people is more responsive and accountable. I believe government plays an important role in helping those who can’t help themselves. Yet we must always remember that when people are hurting, they need a caring person, not a government bureaucracy.

These are all common-sense principles, and they provide the basis for how I will approach governing with the new Congress. We’ve proved it can be done: When our nation was attacked, Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the Patriot Act and reform our intelligence agencies. When our economy was struggling, we worked together to pass tax relief that has helped our economy grow, create jobs, and raise the standard of living for the American people. When we saw that our public schools were failing our children, we came together to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, insisting on high standards, accountability and better options for parents.

The outcome of the elections has changed the balance of power in Congress, yet the priorities for keeping our country safe and prosperous go beyond party labels.
Our priorities begin with defeating the terrorists who killed thousands of innocent Americans on September 11, 2001–and who are working hard to attack us again. These terrorists are part of a broader extremist movement that is now doing everything it can to defeat us in Iraq.

In the days ahead, I will be addressing our nation about a new strategy to help the Iraqi people gain control of the security situation and hasten the day when the Iraqi government gains full control over its affairs. Ultimately, Iraqis must resolve the most pressing issues facing them. We can’t do it for them.

But we can help Iraq defeat the extremists inside and outside of Iraq–and we can help provide the necessary breathing space for this young government to meet its responsibilities. If democracy fails and the extremists prevail in Iraq, America’s enemies will be stronger, more lethal, and emboldened by our defeat. Leaders in both parties understand the stakes in this struggle. We now have the opportunity to build a bipartisan consensus to fight and win the war.

America’s priorities also include keeping our economy strong. The elections have not reversed the laws of economics. It is a fact that economies do best when you reward hard work by allowing people to keep more of what they have earned. And we have seen that businesses can expand and hire more workers when they have more money to invest–and since August 2003, America’s employers have added more than seven million new jobs.

It is also a fact that our tax cuts have fueled robust economic growth and record revenues. Because revenues have grown and we’ve done a better job of holding the line on domestic spending, we met our goal of cutting the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. By continuing these policies, we can balance the federal budget by 2012 while funding our priorities and making the tax cuts permanent. In early February, I will submit a budget that does exactly that. The bottom line is tax relief and spending restraint are good for the American worker, good for the American taxpayer, and good for the federal budget. Now is not the time to raise taxes on the American people.

By balancing the budget through pro-growth economic policies and spending restraint, we are better positioned to tackle the longer term fiscal challenge facing our country: reforming entitlements–Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid–so future generations can benefit from these vital programs without bankrupting our country.

One important message I took away from the election is that people want to end the secretive process by which Washington insiders are able to slip into legislation billions of dollars of pork-barrel projects that have never been reviewed or voted on by Congress. I’m glad Senator Robert Byrd and Congressman Dave Obey–the Democrats who will lead the appropriations process in the new Congress–heard that message, too, and have indicated they will refrain from including additional earmarks in the continuing resolution for this fiscal year.

But we can and should do more. It’s time Congress give the president a line-item veto. And today I will announce my own proposal to end this dead-of-the-night process and substantially cut the earmarks passed each year.

The strength of our economy also requires us to address some of the biggest issues facing the American people–greater energy security, comprehensive immigration reform, and affordable health care. While progress has been made in each of these areas, we must do more. I look forward to working with Congress on these difficult issues.

Our Founders believed in the wisdom of the American people to choose their leaders and provided for the concept of divided and effective government. The majority party in Congress gets to pass the bills it wants. The minority party, especially where the margins are close, has a strong say in the form bills take. And the Constitution leaves it to the president to use his judgment whether they should be signed into law.
That gives us a clear challenge and an opportunity. If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate. If a different approach is taken, the next two years can be fruitful ones for our nation. We can show the American people that Republicans and Democrats can come together to find ways to help make America a more secure, prosperous and hopeful society. And we will show our enemies that the open debate they believe is a fatal weakness is the great strength that has allowed democracies to flourish and succeed.

To the new members of the 110th Congress, I offer my welcome–and my congratulations. The American people have entrusted us with public office at a momentous time for our nation. Let them say of these next two years: We used our time well.

Mr. Bush is the president of the United States.

[quote]bigflamer wrote:

A good article I think. It would be terrific, IMHO, if we could pass a line item veto measure and severely cut back on the earmarking going on in D.C.

If Mr. Bush can somehow reign in spending, fix the immigration issues, and start making headway in Iraq, we’ll all be well on the way to success. Anyways, I’d like to hear what everyone elses opinion was on this article.[/quote]

Aspirational, at best - but while Democrats are unquestionably interested in more spending than the GOP (if that is even mathematically possible), Bush wasn’t serious for 6 years about spending problems. He may veto on the basis of spending for partisan reasons, and that, I suppose is better than nothing, but it just reminds me that he could have been enforcing fiscal discipline for 6 years and chose not to. That is irritating.

One thing I think will come from having a Democratic Congress - it will force Bush to take policy more seriously and pay closer attention to what laws are being passed. That has to be a good thing.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
bigflamer wrote:

A good article I think. It would be terrific, IMHO, if we could pass a line item veto measure and severely cut back on the earmarking going on in D.C.

If Mr. Bush can somehow reign in spending, fix the immigration issues, and start making headway in Iraq, we’ll all be well on the way to success. Anyways, I’d like to hear what everyone elses opinion was on this article.

Aspirational, at best - but while Democrats are unquestionably interested in more spending than the GOP (if that is even mathematically possible), Bush wasn’t serious for 6 years about spending problems. He may veto on the basis of spending for partisan reasons, and that, I suppose is better than nothing, but it just reminds me that he could have been enforcing fiscal discipline for 6 years and chose not to. That is irritating.

One thing I think will come from having a Democratic Congress - it will force Bush to take policy more seriously and pay closer attention to what laws are being passed. That has to be a good thing.[/quote]

It is aspirational, but I’m an optimist at heart so I like that. You’re right though, Bush’s total lack of enforcing fiscal discipline is a huge black mark on his presidency and should be VERY irritating to conservatives.

Bottom line is that government, no matter the fashion of representation, is a money hungry monster that needs to be reigned in constantly.

I really think that the country needs a line item veto ASAP.

[quote]bigflamer wrote:
I really think that the country needs a line item veto ASAP.
[/quote]

Republicans love the idea of a line item veto when there’s a republican president, but they hate the idea when a democrate is in the white house.

Democrates love the idea of a line item veto when the president is a democrat, but they hate the idea when a republican is in the white house.

As bad as the current system is, not many in the house and senate want to give that much power to the presidency.

Over the years Bush has said a lot of nice sounding things… but unfortunately he rarely is able to deliver on the words he’s spoken.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Over the years Bush has said a lot of nice sounding things… but unfortunately he rarely is able to deliver on the words he’s spoken.[/quote]

Well, like I said, I’m an optimist.

Possibly this last election was enough of a kick in the ass to Bush and the rest of the conservatives to start acting like conservatives.

[quote]unearth wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
I really think that the country needs a line item veto ASAP.

Republicans love the idea of a line item veto when there’s a republican president, but they hate the idea when a democrate is in the white house.

Democrates love the idea of a line item veto when the president is a democrat, but they hate the idea when a republican is in the white house.

As bad as the current system is, not many in the house and senate want to give that much power to the presidency.[/quote]

For me, it’s really about untying the hands of the president and reigning in representatives that are all about earmarks and pork. I hate it when a bill is heavilly marketed on one solid idea, but has to be rejected because of all of the pork that gets tied up into it.

Then the president gets lambasted by the opposing party for shooting down “such a worthwhile measure”, while neglecting to mention all the BS tied into it.

I know, that’s how it’s always been done, but it’s a shitty way to run the country. This form of all or nothing legislation hurts us all.

[quote]bigflamer wrote:
For me, it’s really about untying the hands of the president and reigning in representatives that are all about earmarks and pork.
[/quote]

When has this president had his hands tied on anything? He’s had a sympathetic Congress for 6 years. The president is free to send bills back if he doesn’t like them… he doesn’t do it. Bush has expanded the powers of the presidency, but you say he needs even more power? Cool, lets hope President Hillary uses those new Presidential powers wisely, in 2009.

[quote]bigflamer wrote:
If Mr. Bush can somehow reign in spending, fix the immigration issues, and start making headway in Iraq, we’ll all be well on the way to success. [/quote]

Then, he’ll sprinkle fairy dust and pull a live chicken out of his ass.

Bush’s Lets All Be Bipartisan patter is a bunch of nonsense. He’s not serious about working with Democrats. He never has been. He’s had 6 years to show an interest in bipartisanship, and he never has, to my knowledge.

As far as a line item veto, it puts too much power in the president’s hands. The government works best when there is a balance of power.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
For me, it’s really about untying the hands of the president and reigning in representatives that are all about earmarks and pork.

When has this president had his hands tied on anything?[/quote]

Bradley, please try to see past your hatred of this president, and try to see that I’m talking about the ability of all presidents (democrat or republican) to weed out pork from legislation.

This, IMHO, would force debate on the entire bill and not allow for reckless legislation to have to be passed in an all or nothing fashion.

This is something that we both have agreed on, complete and total fiscal Irresponsibility on the part of the president and the the GOP led congress. I’ve stated many times that any true conservative should be well up in arms over the out of control spending thats been going on.

I’m glad to see that you too are for a true conservative fiscal policy, glad to have you on board Bradley!

A line item veto would simply allow the chief executive to be more flexible in what he/she can pass. Do you really think that the current all or nothing approach is in the best interest of the country?

It’s my opinion that it would allow for a more efficient presidency, no matter the party affiliation of the office holder.

[quote]Brad61 wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
If Mr. Bush can somehow reign in spending, fix the immigration issues, and start making headway in Iraq, we’ll all be well on the way to success.

Then, he’ll sprinkle fairy dust and pull a live chicken out of his ass.[/quote]

Now bradley, you and I both know that if he could do that, his rating wouldn’t be in the toilet. C’mon, America loves showmanship.

So let me get this straight, Bush sends out a strong bipartisan message and you call bullshit, But Pelosi sends out a bipartisan message and that’s plausable?..based on what?

Don’t look now, but I think you’ve dropped your partisan pom pons again. SNIIIIF Yup, you smell like a partisan hack.

Now that the Dems have the power again, they will do just like the Republicans and refuse to do anything to dilute that power.

Social Security will bankrupt us anyway, along with the huge debt growing by leaps and bounds. The government will eventually become a military dictatorship, once the economy implodes due to the massive debts.

Shame…it could have been a great country again.

[quote]bigflamer wrote:
vroom wrote:
Over the years Bush has said a lot of nice sounding things… but unfortunately he rarely is able to deliver on the words he’s spoken.

Well, like I said, I’m an optimist.

Possibly this last election was enough of a kick in the ass to Bush and the rest of the conservatives to start acting like conservatives.

[/quote]

You ARE an optimist. I was fooled once too. Mathematically, we’re screwed. Politicians and governments are no more exempt from mathematics than we are.

When the ability to pay interest on our debts falls below the level of required payment, we’re done. Foreign holders of our now junk bonds will desperately be trying to sell, the dollar will collapse, and we’re done. Military dictatorship follows.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
vroom wrote:
Over the years Bush has said a lot of nice sounding things… but unfortunately he rarely is able to deliver on the words he’s spoken.

Well, like I said, I’m an optimist.

Possibly this last election was enough of a kick in the ass to Bush and the rest of the conservatives to start acting like conservatives.

You ARE an optimist. I was fooled once too. Mathematically, we’re screwed. Politicians and governments are no more exempt from mathematics than we are.

When the ability to pay interest on our debts falls below the level of required payment, we’re done. Foreign holders of our now junk bonds will desperately be trying to sell, the dollar will collapse, and we’re done. Military dictatorship follows.[/quote]

Well, I am an optimist, and I don’t share your belief that we’ll evolve into a military dictatorship. It’s more likely that we’ll keep creeping towards a more socialistic, centrally governed country, which doesn’t excite me in the slightest.

But on the subject of optimism, I am an optimist because I choose to put my faith in the belief that all things are for a reason, and therefore, eventually, will work out for the best.

The Italians have a saying; “the right person will come at the right time”. I believe this to be true. Gerald Ford came at the right time, Lincoln came at the right time, Washington, etc.

Without optimism there is no hope for better, without hope for the better, what are we left with?

Personally, I’ve had a less than successful battle to drop the excess bodyfat I need to drop and improve my body composition. But if I was to give up hope, and be totally pessimistic about my chances of success, my chances of reaching my goals diminish by leaps and bounds.

So, just as I choose to be optimistic about my personal fitness goals, I choose to be optimistic about the course that our government will take. The right person, or persons, will indeed come at the right time I think. As much as I disagree with Pelosi and the majority of the democratic party, perhaps that is what the country needs right now.

I hope that this new congress, and Mr. Bush can work together and get some real work done.

[quote]unearth wrote:
bigflamer wrote:
I really think that the country needs a line item veto ASAP.

Republicans love the idea of a line item veto when there’s a republican president, but they hate the idea when a democrate is in the white house.

Democrates love the idea of a line item veto when the president is a democrat, but they hate the idea when a republican is in the white house.

As bad as the current system is, not many in the house and senate want to give that much power to the presidency.[/quote]

Exactly. As attracive as it seems it would be used to punish the congressmenn that did not go along with the president.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Mathematically, we’re screwed. Politicians and governments are no more exempt from mathematics than we are.[/quote]

I am not saying math isn’t important, but at the same time, it doesn’t always have a 1:1 correspondence with the nature of reality.

Models are flawed. Assumptions are made incorrectly. Extraneous solutions are unnoticed. Errors are introduced.

I’m not speaking from optimism, as there is certainly fiscal danger in the water, but you are far too quick to write off this chapter in history if you actually believe what you saying.

Seeing a possible endpoint is not reason to assume that endpoint is our destination. Doing so will make you sound like a raving lunatic… and you will be proven one if the endpoint is avoided.

The educational system is renowned for teaching us all to expect one single correct answer, is that what has happened to your thinking? Is that what has apparently driven you around the bend so often?


We can’t keep incurring more debt forever and ever. Someday, the rest of the world won’t want to fund our spending.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Mathematically, we’re screwed. Politicians and governments are no more exempt from mathematics than we are.

I am not saying math isn’t important, but at the same time, it doesn’t always have a 1:1 correspondence with the nature of reality.

Models are flawed. Assumptions are made incorrectly. Extraneous solutions are unnoticed. Errors are introduced.

I’m not speaking from optimism, as there is certainly fiscal danger in the water, but you are far too quick to write off this chapter in history if you actually believe what you saying.

Seeing a possible endpoint is not reason to assume that endpoint is our destination. Doing so will make you sound like a raving lunatic… and you will be proven one if the endpoint is avoided.

The educational system is renowned for teaching us all to expect one single correct answer, is that what has happened to your thinking? Is that what has apparently driven you around the bend so often?[/quote]

Actually, I take the words of Ben Franklin seriously: “Always expect the worst. When it doesn’t happen, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!” (or something like that. :slight_smile:

Congress can kiss my ass for america’s sake.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Actually, I take the words of Ben Franklin seriously: “Always expect the worst. When it doesn’t happen, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!” (or something like that. :)[/quote]

So your optimistic about your pessimism :-]