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September 2005
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We spent HOW much?

After five years of unprecedented runaway spending (that has almost made LBJ look fiscally conservative), a group of Republican House members apparently finally looked at our credit card statements.
It all came to a boil when they were trying to decide which card still had enough credit limit left to buy the brand new Sim City: New Orleans.
“Hey, who charged this $223 million bridge to nowhere?” asked one of them. “Kiss my ear,” replied Don Young (disappointed that nobody actually nibbled his lobes, which are incredibly sensitive).
So they decided to look at how they could cut back on the family expenses (You’ve all been there before — no movie rentals this month, eliminate Sally’s lunch money and let her trade sexual favors for food, etc.)
So the Republican Study Committee has released a list of cuts (pdf) to help cover the cost. (Of course, these cuts wouldn’t actually touch the current credit card balances or anything — that would require some really tough choices.)
I’m not going to comment on all the cuts they suggested — most will not survive their own colleagues’ self-interest.
But let’s check out the drug war entries:

  • Level funding for Andean Counter-Drug Initiative
    […] Savings: $125 million over 10 years
  • Eliminate State Grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools
    […] States receive SDFSCA funding on the basis of their school-age population and
    number of poor children but statistics suggest programs are ineffective. In addition, studies show that schools are among the safest places in the country and relatively drug free. Savings: $4.8 billion over ten years
  • Eliminate the Federal Anti-Drug Advertising
    […] There is no solid evidence that media campaigns are effective in either preventing or reducing the use of illegal drugs. Savings: $1.3 billion over ten years
  • Eliminate High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program
    […]Because many of its functions are duplicative, the Administration requested
    that its functions be transferred to the Department of Justice, and the program terminated. Savings: $3.2 billion over ten years

OK, there are a couple of good cuts there, but that’s just scratching the surface. Only level the funding for Andean Counter-Drug Initiative? Scrap it. And where’s the cuts to the DEA’s budget? Come on, guys — you can’t tell me that you’re going to eliminate the Moon/Mars mission and Sesame Street, but keep arresting grandma for using marijuana to help deal with her chemo treatments in California? Does that make any sense at all?
On the plus side, it’s nice to see members of Congress in print point out that some of these programs that they suggested for the chopping block are “ineffective.”
We may want to remind them of that fact on occassion.

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