A $200 billion pricetag?

Bush's speech tonight is likely to have one overarching message: Let the spending begin.


The president will call on Washington to resist spending money unwisely, but some in his own party are already starting to recoil at a price tag expected to exceed $200 billion -- about the cost of the Iraq war and reconstruction efforts. As emergency expenditures soar -- with new commitments as high as $2 billion a day -- some budget analysts and conservative groups are warning that the Katrina spending has combined with earlier fiscal decisions in ways that will wreak havoc on the government's finances for years to come.
Bush and Republican congressional leaders, by contrast, are calculating that the U.S. economy can safely absorb a sharp spike in spending and budget deficits, and that the only way to regain public confidence after the stumbling early response to the disaster is to spend whatever it takes to rebuild the region and help Katrina's victims get back on their feet.
"I think absolutely it's going to convert the political landscape in Washington," Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) said of Katrina's impact. "We do have a social safety net in this country. Those aren't just words. Government has a role to play in people's lives."[LINK]Poor naive Olympia. The spend-spend strategy only has one purpose: to restore "public confidence" in the administration. A sad fact buttressed by this Time article cited by Josh Marshall:
By late last week, Administration aides were describing a three-part comeback plan. The first: Spend freely, and worry about the tab and the consequences later. "Nothing can salve the wounds like money," said an official who helped develop the strategy. "You'll see a much more aggressively engaged President, traveling to the Gulf Coast a lot and sending a lot of people down there." [LINK]
And I agree with Marshall that no plan however noble in its aims can succeed when it is being executed by an administration filled with ill-intent. With Bush and his cronies running the show, what we will get is a rerun of the so-called reconstruction of Iraq, "with the same fetid mix of graft, zeal and hubris."
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