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Monday, January 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton Eager to Do State of the Union Address

According to Fox News, Hillary Clinton says she's excited about President Bush's State of the Union speech tonight. She seems very excited that it will be Bush's last State of the Union address, and that there will be the much-lauded "change" next year.

But even (especially?) if Clinton becomes president, will there really be change?

Judging by an article from OneNewsNow and Citizens Against Government Waste, not any change that's good for America.

In fact, when it comes to wasteful government spending, Senator Clinton is one of the lawmakers least qualified to address this issue.

From the OneNewsNow piece:

So how did the presidential candidates fare on earmarks? Tom Schatz is president of Citizens Against Government Waste, and he says that one presidential candidate in particular stands out from the rest. "You compare the 261 [earmarks] that Senator Clinton received to the zero that Senator McCain received, which is the same number he gets every year," notes [Tom] Schatz. "And even Congressman Kucinich, viewed as a very liberal member of congress, only got six earmarks."

Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) got 46 earmarks, less than one-fifth the number Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) received, and Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) got 10 earmarks in the budget. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee have all made statements indicating they would take action as president to end earmarks.

Earmark reform is an issue that's been simmering since the 2006 elections where Republicans lost control of congress. A key reason the electorate threw out the Republicans was because the party traditionally known for fiscal responsibility had reached a point where it was giving drunken sailors a bad name.

And despite the faux-pious talk from the Democrats, earmarks haven't improved one iota under their leadership.

States and their citizens elect senators and representatives to represent their interest in the direction of the United States and how it's governed. They do not send them to Washington to turn around and bribe them for votes with their own tax dollars (or do they?).

The situation has become so egregious, President Bush issued a press release today stating that tomorrow he will implement an Executive Order which will require earmarks be specifically outlined in the text of congressional bills, and instructing federal agencies to ignore spending items that are not; this would end the practice of hiding earmarks inside report-language, rather than the bill itself.

The press release states, "The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that committee reports and other legislative history materials do not bind executive agencies."

The release also states during the State of the Union address tonight, Bush will "pledge to veto any appropriations bill Congress sends him that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half." The shortcoming: it addresses future earmarks, not 2008 ones.

Last year, Bush asked congress to cut earmarks in half and eliminate earmarks that weren't voted on, yet the FY08 budget ended up with $17 billion in 11,700 earmarks. Our elected representatives have clearly forgotten that part of their job includes acting as a responsible steward of the people's tax dollars.

CAGW outlines some excellent priorities they'd like to see in President Bush's State of the Union address tonight. Since Bush is no longer looking at re-election opportunities, now would be a great time for him to launch these ideas into the public discussion.

CAGW priorities include balancing the budget (by cutting waste, etc., not raising taxes), earmark reform, scuttling the outdated socialist "Farm Bill" model, and getting government out of health care.

These are the kind of measures which could have a dramatic effect in bringing more responsible use of the taxpayer's money, less waste, and less corruption and influence-peddling in Washington.

Senator Clinton is one of the candidates least inclined to implement these much-needed reforms.

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