Tom DeLay: Idiotarian

The Washington Times reports on one of the most idiotic comments I’ve ever heard:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an “ongoing victory,” and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.

OK, I’ve gotta steal one from Lileks:


Yes, the infamous Perry Head O’ Shame. And a well-deserved one at that.

The federal government as lean as it can be? What is the color of the skies on the planet where he lives? A government that just passed a transportation bill that was loaded with more pork than a Memphis BBQ joint sure as hell hasn’t cut a lot of fat – how about ditching that $200 million bridge in Alaska to connect a city of 4,000 to a small airport? How about cutting all the wasteful subsidies to the sugar industry? How about replacing No Bureaucrat Child Left Behind with real reforms like the school vouchers that were promised 5 years ago? How about getting rid of all the fat at the IRS and instituting a flat tax? I could go on, but the point has been made. There’s plenty of fat to cut.

If this is the kind of attitude we have from our Congress – especially from a Congressman who damn well should know better, I weep for the fiscal future of this country…

UPDATE: Via Ramesh Ponnuru, some fat that DeLay could cut:

  • The federal government cannot account for $24.5 billion spent in 2003.
  • A White House review of just a sample of the federal budget identified $90 billion spent on programs deemed that were either ineffective, marginally adequate, or operating under a flawed purpose or design.
  • The Congressional Budget Office published a “Budget Options” book identifying $140 billion in potential spending cuts.
  • The federal government spends $23 billion annually on special interest pork projects such as grants to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or funds to combat teenage “goth” culture in Blue Springs, Missouri.
  • Washington spends tens of billions of dollars on failed and outdated programs such as the Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Economic Development Association.
  • The federal government made $20 billion in overpayments in 2001.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $3.3 billion in overpayments in 2001 accounted for over 10 percent of the department’s total budget.
  • Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 for admission to entertainment events, $48,250 for gambling, $69,300 for cruises, and $73,950 for exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.
  • Examples of wasteful duplication include: 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 federal programs dedicated to assuring safe water.
  • The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses, and 40% of this goes to Fortune 500 companies.
  • The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets, and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were reimbursable.
  • The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually to not farm their land.
  • Washington spends $60 billion annually on corporate welfare, versus $43 billion on homeland security.

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