(White House spokesman) Stanzel said that although he signed the bill, Bush continues to be "disappointed with Congress' addiction to earmarks. And soon the president will outline his fiscal year 2009 budget proposal," the spokesman added, which will hold the line on spending, keep taxes low and continue us on the path to a balanced budget."
You would think that after seven years, Bush would understand how Washington works. Earmarks in spending bills occur because the Congress seeks to exert some control over how money is actually spent, rather than ceding all of this to the President. This is the alternative to 436 individual bills for each congressional district, which is the alternative.
Perhaps a compromise is regional government and regional taxation, where a regional caucus passes its appropriations legislation, a regional vice president implements it and a regional business income tax funds it, with a different rate for each region tailored to its economy. This would certainly put these projects in perspective and strengthen the link between special projects and tax rates that currently is lost in the shuffle.
Sounds far fetched. It is. However, Bush passing any kind of budget next year is even more far fetched. If he believes that there is any chance that he is going to get his own way on fiscal issues, he is sadly mistaken and badly advised. As lame ducks go, he is lamer than most. Any attempt to single-handedly put his stamp on the budget process will only highlight this fact.
If he wishes to do anything, including and most especially make a portion of his income tax cuts permanent, he must compromise with congressional Democrats. If his staff thinks otherwise, perhaps he needs new staff. Of course, if they knew how to add using negative numbers, we would not be in the fiscal mess we are currently in.