Government Spending

If the U.S. Can't End Sugar Subsidies, the Ex-Im Bank, "Essential Air-Service," and So Much Other Pure Crap, We Ain't Broke Yet


Over at National Review's The Corner, Mercatus Center economist and Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy has written a stinging yet admittedly incomplete critique of Republican vote records in Congress. Here's a snippet:

In recent years we have seen Republicans, with the usual exceptions, vote along party lines against big signature Democratic laws such as the president's health-care or the stimulus bills. But it's not enough. There are many other votes that escape public scrutiny but are just as important. For instance, in the last few weeks we have seen Republicans in the Senate and the House vote to support a series of corporate-welfare programs in spite of the consequences that cronyism has for our country. Here are a few examples:

  • The Ex-Im Bank (147 Republicans in the House voted to support its re-authorization.)
  • The $200 million Essential Air Service program subsidizes airlines to provide service to rural communities (77 House Republicans voted to keep the program alive.)
  • The Economic Development Administration (104 Republicans voted to keep the program alive.)
  • HUD's Community Development block grants (156 House Republicans voted against an amendment to get rid of it, including Representative Paul Ryan.)
  • HUD's loan-guarantee program (114 Republicans voted against getting rid of it.)
  • DOE's 1705 loan-guarantee programs (127 House Republicans voted to defeat an amendment to shut down the program.)

As de Rugy notes, 16 GOP senators voted in favor of a misbegotten farm bill that piles new subsidies on top of the old ones. And yes, a good chunk of GOP senators (including Marco Rubio) voted to extend protection to the domestic sugar industry.

In the wake of the Obamacare ruling - and with an election, a debt-ceiling limit, taxmageddon, and so much more coming up later in the year - it's especially important to keep informed about all the big and small ways that Washington remains steadfastly bipartisan in squeezing money from us all.

The Democrats remain convinced that we're not out of money. The GOP mouths concerns but never finds the backbone to cut anything that might effect one of their special interests. The rest of us? Well, we just foot the bill one way or another.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Romney Ad Targets Obama's "Vicious Lies" About Bain, Allison Says Libertarians Have the "Moral High Ground," Leftist Refuses to Concede Election in Mexico

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. In the last paragraph, "effect" should be "affect", unless the GOP really does want programs that mimic their special interests.

    1. I think it should be "affect" in either case. "Effect", as a verb, means to make something happen, no?

  2. Bus drivers strike during middle of heat wave with thousands out of power on the busiest bus day of the year (downtown fireworks disply). Turning down 7% raise over three years because of a 2% reduction in contribution to pensions. What great neighbors these people are, huh? Can't wait until after the power/heat crisis is over to strike? I hope like hell they don't expect me to EVER vote for an increase for COTA.

    1. Coleman needs to be a little more Reaganesque in this situation.

      1. Yeah, that'll never happen. He might get more Sopranoesque.



  4. Is that the sign of the devil or Bunny Satan?

    1. Hook 'Em, Horns!!!

      /fuck Texas

    2. It's the sign to ward off the Evil Eye, if I am not mistaken.

      1. Yeah, we called it sign of the devil way back when. I think that was from some Judas Priest song. The Sinner maybe?

  5. HUD's Community Development block grants (156 House Republicans voted against an amendment to get rid of it, including Representative Paul Ryan.)

    Being called a racist can hurt feelings, you know.

  6. As much as I'd love to see Obamacare killed, I can't get behind a Team Red sweep.

    1. In Soviet Russie, Team Red sweep get behind YOU!

  7. The problem is that once Republicans get to Washington, they become more interested in being a part of the culture there than they are in being Republicans.

    You guys think Rand Paul is very popular here? I doubt it. And the sad fact is that most Republicans are pathetic and just want to be liked by liberals.

    1. No, they don't want to be liked by liberals, they want to avoid losing the votes of a united minority in their congressional district who stand to profit greatly by the vote in question. Until the opposition to these spending bills hits 50%, and is united and aware of it, then these congresscritters will continue to appease whatever organized handful threatens to withhold their vote.

    2. This assumes that "small government" is actual Republican philosophy instead of a platitude or dog whistle.

    3. The problem is that they are accurately reflecting their constituents. Look at polling. There's a ton of people who have exactly the same views as the squishy Republicans-- against spending in general and against tax increases, but against any effort to cut any real spending, especially their pet projects. (They'll allow cuts for tiny foreign aid programs or a few things for the poor.)

      The problem is also the views of the voters.

  8. 1. Keep sugar prices high
    2. Complaing about how bad HFCS is and how it is overused
    3. Profit

  9. Let's keep spending more than we have until we can't fix the problem without an economic collapse of some sort.

    This passes as a rational economic policy?

    1. When you use a debt instrument as currency, someone's always got to borrow more. It's "rational" in the sense of "lawful evil".

  10. click on the links. the numbers aren't that bad for the R's. i wouldn't trust them with a R for president.

    but you're burying your head in the sand if you don't think there's a difference between R D in these votes.

    1. I honestly am completely ambivalent on the choice between Obama and Romney. Obama is terrible. But I don't really want to see Romney as president with the likely Republican majorities in congress either.

      1. Between the two, I prefer Romney. For two reasons: (1) he's likely to slow the drive off the cliff more than Obama (hopefully measurably more), and (2) he'll probably nominate something less than Maoist statists to the courts.

        Still voting Johnson, though.

        1. My sentiments are pretty similar.

  11. The article is good (depressing) but I would like to know which Repubs (or Dems...) voted against say at least 3/4 of these bills.

    1. She did link to most of the rollcalls in question. It's the people you should expect.

  12. CNN and the MainStream Media would have you believe we only have two choice: Tweedle-Spend (Romney) and Tweedle-Spendmore (Obama). When the hell will people wake up and realize we have a choice with Gary Johnson to END this senseless spending? Gary Johnson 2012!

    1. Sadly, even if people did wake up and realize that, he wouldn't win. People don't actually want to end senseless spending.

  13. How to Eliminate Sugar from Your Diet

    Sugar can lead to many diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. So it's definitely important to watch what you eat when it comes to sugar

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.