Spending Hikes: A Guide To The Gimmicks

by Ernest Istook

Good football teams use misdirection–because it works. One trick is to fake a quarterback kneel-down in the last seconds of a half, then throw long. The same trickery happens in politics. As this year’s Congress winds down, Democrats have announced they are lowering their planned spending to the $933 billion that President Bush insists is the maximum for appropriations. The headlines read, “Dems cave on spending”[1] and “Democrats Yield on Spending Impasse.”[2] This is political misdirection. The omnibus appropriations bill exceeds the advertised $933 billion figure because it is stuffed with billions more in budget tricks and gimmicks.[3]

Tricks and Gimmicks

Ample time to review this bill is a necessity, because it’s massive, complicated, and still being revised.[4]But early analysis by the conservative House Republican Study Committee concludes that congressional trickery will add an extra $23 billion to that $933 billion.

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