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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Repeal Bush Act: A Debt Ceiling Solution

With the debt ceiling debate in Washington at a fever pitch, we're hearing an awful lot of Democrats pining for the good ol' days when Bill Clinton was president, the nation's finances were in far less disrepair, and the deficit wasn't measured in the trillions of dollars. They'll remind you also, that despite Obama's record deficits, the problem is mostly Bush's fault.

Well here's a solution that should please any honest fiscal hawk in the Tea Party (the operative word there is "honest") while appealing at the same time to the Bush-hating, Clinton-loving Democrats: The Repeal Bush Act of 2011. Not only would this act severely curtail federal spending like Republicans say they want, it would embarrass any Democrat to vote against it.

I mean come on! It's called the "Repeal Bush Act" for goodness' sake! That's not a compromise, that's straight up giving the Democrats exactly what they would profess to want. Could you imagine eight years of Bush completely wiped out? Reversed? Abolished, repealed, and discarded as a failure forever?

What Democrat in his left mind (see what I did there?) wouldn't want that? And the resulting slashes to government spending-- any Tea Party protester who wouldn't support that needs to pack up his signs and his phony Gadsden Flag and go home.

So here's what you get:

1. Repeal No Child Left Behind and decrease Federal funds for Washington's Department of Education to 2000 levels before Bush assumed office. Over $30 billion will be saved annually (and I've never, ever heard any teacher say anything positive about NCLB- ever).

Total saved w/ the Repeal Bush Act: Over $30 billion annually

2. Repeal the Homeland Security Act and abolish the Department of Homeland Security. After 9-11, Bush's logic went like this:

"September 11th was in part, the result of too many different federal agencies and offices charged with keeping us safe, making it difficult for them to share information with each other. THEREFORE: We should... create another federal agency charged with keeping us safe. Duh! We'll even make it cabinet level! And they can oversee a new Transportation Security Administration that gropes children and old ladies at airports. OMG! This has just got to work! Now watch this drive..."

Seriously, what were we all thinking? I'm not in support of more drug prohibitions, but maybe we need to enact some stiff penalties for legislating federal policy while high out of your mind. Abolishing the DHS and TSA will save us over $50 billion annually (and make air travel a lot less sexy).

Total saved w/ the Repeal Bush Act: Over $80 billion annually

3. Repeal the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, ending Medicare Part D. In the end, this was just a really complicated, weird, poorly-written piece of legislation that barely passed Congress, and that everybody on both sides of the partisan divide pretty much hated.

It represented the biggest entitlement expansion since LBJ, which should annoy fiscal conservatives, and it does a lot of odd things that Democrats hate, like prevent the government from negotiating drug prices and reinforce the entanglement of medical coverage with employment-- a state of affairs that President Obama said is in need of remedy during the health care debate early in his administration.

How much would we save by repealing this act? Over $50 billion annually (but who the hell knows, the way they estimate these things and the estimates keep getting bigger and bigger with time, we'll probably save a lot more).

Total saved w/ the Repeal Bush Act: Over $130 billion annually

(Check it out-- We've already blown past the measly $111 billion cut in FY2012 by the "radical" Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, and all by repealing Bush's laws... if Democrats can't get on board with this, they're big fat liars with their pants on fire, and if Republicans can't, then I guess all that talk about fiscal conservatism was just a bunch of lies too.)

4. End the two wars in the Middle East and bring the troops home. With Osama bin Laden dead and most of Al-Qaeda crippled, ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is making more and more sense to the American people, especially with casualty levels soaring under the Obama Administration as mission creep puts our troops in harm's way for the sake of foreign civil wars and insurgencies, rather than to fight America's enemies, who have been mostly defeated.

Even hardcore right-wingers are beginning to doubt the wisdom or value of remaining in the Middle East. The right thing to do for our country, for our troops, and for our finances, is declare victory and bring the troops home! How much could we save? According to CBO estimates, over $100 billion annually (not to mention the lives of hundreds of Americans who are currently fighting other countries' civil wars, not America's defensive wars anymore).

Total saved w/ the Repeal Bush Act: Over $230 billion annually

5. Repeal the Patriot Act and restore the Bill of Rights. I honestly have no clue at all how much this would save us in taxpayer dollars, but it sure would be nice to feel like I'm living in America again and not some fascist country where the government can just do whatever it wants. Besides, lists like these have to have at least five items in them, so it was either throw in the Patriot Act or split item 4 above into each different war.

If we want to get really bold, we could just reduce every department's budget across the board (except for the DHS, which we're just going to chuck out the window) to its level in 2000 and tell each cabinet secretary to figure out what to cut themselves. That could be the "radical" version of the bill, and the five provisions above could together form the "moderate" version of the bill.

How would you like for Washington to cut over $230 billion from its budget annually? Honestly, I don't see why both sides can't agree on the Repeal Bush Act of 2011 unless they're just big fat liars and hypocrites. Who's with me? Let's repeal Bush in 2011!

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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