How do we reconcile the following? First, Glen Kessler reports in an April 15 Washington Post story:
The Bush administration is poised to complete the biggest increase in government spending since the 1960s’ “Great Society,” the result of conducting the war on terrorism while substantially boosting the education and transportation budgets, according to a detailed analysis of government spending patterns.
Spending on government programs will increase by 22 percent from 1999 to 2003 in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the analysis by The Washington Post and vetted by budget experts in both parties.
And yet two days later, he asks Congress to restrain spending. Or so reports Mike Allen in the Post:
President Bush threatened yesterday to veto congressional spending he opposes and said he wants to balance the budget by 2004, a year earlier than the White House had estimated was possible.
He said, “If we restrain spending, even though we’re at war, even though our economy is still clunking along, if we react responsibly we can return to a balanced budget — something I want — as early as 2004. But tough choices on Capitol Hill have to be made.”
I agree that tough choices have to be made? Why isn’t Dubya making any? On the other hand, I’ve got to give him credit for pushing to make the tax cuts permanent. It’s a shame that Republicans can only say the word “cut” if the word “tax” precedes it. Big budgets hurt liberty just as much as high taxes.
Will splitting the INS make things better? I doubt it, though that’s what appears will happen after a House vote to split the agency into two bureaus, one focusing on enforcement and one on services. I’m not sure how splitting the agency will help it cooperate in an effective fashion. It will probably make things worse because people from each agency will battle over turf.
It’s claimed that serving legal immigrants is getting in the way of keeping tabs on illegal immigrants. But illegal immigrants, by and large, aren’t the problem. There aren’t enough resources to enforce the current laws because there’ll never be enough resources to fight the one thing that attracts immigrants to America: the lure of freedom.
Instead of fighting a losing battle, the United States should make it easier for people to immigrate here legally. Then enforcement resources could be directed in a much more fruitful manner. Rather than trying to cover a southern border that stretches thousands of miles, the INS could focus their resources on making sure that the people who apply for entry into the United States have no history of violence or terrorist affiliation. That’s a smart approach to the problem, rather than making hardworking people wade across the Rio Grande for a chance of a better life.