Representative Tom DeLay's declaration of victory over government waste is a parody, right?

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.

Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.

Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."

It's just so absurd, I don't see how he could possibly utter those statements. Maybe Scott Ott has infiltrated the Washington Times?

The only other explanation I can think of is that DeLay and Congressional Republicans have completely different spending priorities than I and many other fiscally conservative members the party do. The federal budget has swollen by more than 25% from 2001 to 2004 -- the chart below doesn't even include 2005.

Note that the y-axis doesn't start at zero.

If you're more than four years old you may remember that the country seemed to operate pretty smoothly during the 1990s. Sure, there was some occasional philandering, but the budget at least stayed down. If all the fat has been trimmed, how come we weigh 25% more? If we survived the 1990s, is it fair to argue that the subsequent increases aren't "fat"? Sure, some of the extra spending is due to the War on Terror, but most of it is not. President Bush's prescription drug benefit alone will end up costing more than Iraq and Afghanistan combined.



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