November 11, 2005

Drunken Sailors and Self-Righteous Sailors

The Bush administration has borrowed more money from foreign governments and foreign banks than all previous 42 US government administrations combined, according to a study done by the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 36 self-described "moderate to conservative" Democrats.
All the data used was from the US Treasury Department.

From their report:

Throughout the first 224 years (1776-2000) of our nation’s history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions according to the U.S. Treasury Department. In the past four years alone (2001-2005), the Bush Administration has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion.

"The seriousness of this rapid and increasing financial vulnerability of our country can hardly be overstated,” said Rep. John Tanner (TN), a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition and member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “The financial mismanagement of our country by the Bush Administration should be of concern to all Americans, regardless of political persuasion.”

The Blue Dogs have long expressed tremendous concern over mounting U.S. debt and are particularly troubled by our growing dependence on foreign governments to finance our debt. Earlier this year, the Coalition offered a 12 Step Plan to cure our nation’s addiction to deficit spending. The Blue Dog plan required, among other things, that all federal agencies pass clean audits, a balanced budget, and the establishment of a rainy day fund to be used in the event of a natural disaster.

“No American political leadership has ever willfully and deliberately mortgaged our country to foreign interests in the manner we have witnessed over the past four years,” continued Rep. Tanner. “If this recklessness is not stopped, I truly believe our economic freedom as American citizens is in great jeopardy."

Here is a summary of their 12 Step Plan:

1. Require a balanced Budget
2. Don't let Congress buy on credit - Pay as you go
3. Put a lid on spending
4. Require federal agencies to put their fiscal houses in order
5. Make Congress tell taxpayers how much they're spending
6. Set aside a rainy-day fund
7. Don't hide votes to raise the debt limit
8. Justify spending for pet projects
9. Ensure that Congress reads the bills it's voting on
10. Require honest cost estimates for every bill that Congress votes on
11. Make sure new bills fit the budget
12. Make Congress do a better job keeping tabs on government programs

When this 12 Step Plan was published, Mike Ross (D-AR), Blue Dog Whip said: "American families strive every month to live on a balanced budget at home, and I don't think it's asking too much to hold the government to these same standards."

The problem is that this same Mike Ross voted for George Bush's Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act which has made it much harder for families in deep trouble because of medical emergencies, business losses, job loss, and other reasons to declare bankruptcy. It is a bill that restricts consumer rights and protection, and expands the rights and protections for creditors. 31 of the 36 Blue Dog Democrats voted for the bankruptcy bill.

The blue Dog Democrats are trying to have it both ways. Criticize Bush for his budget and yet vote for anti-consumer, pro-finance and pro-banking legislation at the same time. By the way, 4 of the CAFTA 15 were Blue Dog Democrats.

Here is the membership of the Blue Dog Coalition. Here is their website.

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