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April 28, 2004
A Spoonful of Outrage

Let's hear it for this disgraceful White House maneuver. (From Jeanne.)

Tune in to Nightline this Friday, even if you don't have a Nielsen box and won't be 'counted' in the ratings.

Good grief. Every time I think the conspiracy-theorists are out on the edge, along comes something that shows they're not alone on that ledge of insanity.

You can't follow the money if you can't find it.

I'm thinking there's more behind bills stalling in Congress than the Bush Administration being all distracted by getting its war on.

For one thing, I think they sometimes make grandiose promises they have no intention of keeping. (The badly written and pathetically under-funded No Child Left Behind Act, anyone?)

For another, they sometimes propose stupid things which, it would appear, no one had the responsibility for floating a trial balloon on (Immigration reform, anyone?) and when such issues prove to be massively unpopular, the Administration develops temporary amnesia about them.

"They just seem to have trouble keeping their attention on one bill," says Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle.

I guess that's another way of interpreting it.

Administration officials, in response, point to such Bush legislative successes as the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and a bill imposing additional criminal penalties on those who harm fetuses while committing certain crimes.

Yes, and those are massively successful, aren't they? What with the growing scandal over reports that the Administration knew and suppressed the true cost of Medicare reform, not to mention a cost I'm not sure anyone has accurately predicted, that being the cost of administrating such a nightmarishly complicated drug-card plan, and all, you know. Yeah. Big success.

And that second one is just a preliminary step in the struggle to ban abortions. This is an "issue" that was on no one's radar until the Bush Administration decided to make a "cause" of it. They could have promoted the Amber Alert system, chosen to really fund social services, actually done something positive for education, or even put money toward replacing the dangerous lead water pipes in Washington D.C. and those would have been worthy of pointing at and bragging about. Children already born matter too, you know.

And look at this.

States turn red ink into black More than half the states are projecting surpluses by the close of the current fiscal year, a sharp contrast to the situation they faced a year ago, according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

At this time last year, states were still struggling to close a cumulative $21.5 billion budget gap. Now, they are working to close a total gap of $720 million, according to NCSL. Also, 32 are forecasting surpluses by the end of FY 2004, which ends June 30 for most states. These projected surpluses are the result of improved collections in major revenue categories and program cuts. The surpluses are not large.

Impressive, no?

The breathing room comes after three consecutive years of fiscal crisis, the report said, when states had to cut funding in such core areas as education, health care and corrections. Some states tapped rainy day funds, increased fees or raised taxes on items including cigarettes, health insurance and phone service to help make ends meet.

Suddenly…amazingly less impressive.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:20 PM