Rolling Up Their Sleeves

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by Aaron B. Pryor

I have just figured out why Republigoats are so eager to establish a "guest worker" program in the United States of America. It is because they believe that money grows on trees, and they are concerned that they will need someone to harvest it for them.

I tuned in to C-Span Radio on the internets yesterday. I got in just in time to listen to them debating "PAYGO." PAYGO, according to the C-Span Congressional Glossary, "compels new spending or tax changes to not add to the federal deficit. New proposals must either be 'budget neutral' or offset with savings derived from existing funds."

The first time I heard the concept of "pay as you go" referred to as the odd D.C. contraction "PAYGO," it fell out of the current president's hula-jawed mouth. It made me laugh very hard. Only later did I learn that PAYGO is actually Washingtonese.

The interesting thing about this afternoon's debate on this portion of House rules was how shocking and foreign the concept of "paying for things with money you actually have" is to Republigoats. Republigoat after Republigoat stood up and warned that, if this crazy lunatic plan of the Democrats was approved—get ready for this—it might lead to tax increases.

Here's Republigoat Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana: "...I will oppose this element of the rules package having to do with the 'pay-as-you-go' provisions, which, while they sound in a common sense way attractive, this particular version, I believe, is lacking for three reasons. I believe it is a weak and watered-down version of PAYGO proposals of the past, including Democratic Party proposals of the past. Number two, it doesn't reduce current spending levels or require a reduction of current spending levels. And number three, it is, as so many of my colleagues have said, a means of justifying tax increases on working families, small businesses, and family farms. In a very real sense, the American people ought to know that this proposal translates to, 'You pay as Congress goes on spending.'"

Smile when you say that, dude. It's your party, your gaggle, your current president, "all ya'll," who held the purse strings while the United States spent like a college kid with a gold card. All right, my metaphor isn't nearly as good as the one offered during that debate by a DemocratIC Congressman—wish I remembered which one, sorry—who said the Republigoats were acting like horses in a stable complaining that the farmer wasn't holding the shovel correctly. That's right. A Congressman yesterday suggested that the Democrats are cleaning up their poop. High-five.

Congress didn't even have to be in session this week. Often, Congress will take the week off after the New Year. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi has opted to hit the ground running. The PAYGO rule passed, as did a rule against anonymous earmarks, as did an ethics package that bans gifts and trips from lobbyists, restricts privately funded junkets, and prohibits members from threatening retaliation against firms that hire people who do not share their political affiliation. (Hey, isn't that last one already illegal?) Not to mention that Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid (that is so cool to type that!) have already expressed a nearly surprisingly stalwart opposition to the Iraq "surge."

Indeed, Pelosi intends Congress to work a full five-day week, a concept that brought complaint from Republigoat Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia, who is reportedly used to flying home on Thursdays and returning to Washington on Tuesdays. "Keeping us here eats away at families," said Kingston. "Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families—that's what this says." Wah. I say, more power these Democrats, showing off what a legislature can do when it rolls up its sleeves.

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