Thursday, July 22, 2010

Going After the Weak

I live in Hawaii's first congressional district, one which had been well represented by Neil Abercrombie until recently when Neil decided to run for governor. Republican Charles Djou won a special election in May because a disorganized Democratic Party allowed two well-known Democrats to split the vote. Djou won the seat despite overwhelming voter preference for the democratic candidates.

A few days ago my wife received a letter from this freshly-installed congressman, detailing legislation he has co-sponsored, Federal Sunset Act, H.R. 393. I need to share some of this with you because it is a letter which sounds sensible enough at first blush, but which can't conceal the fact that Djou, long seen as a moderate in Hawaii, is already assuming the form and substance of his party leaders in Washington.

In that letter, Djou, in his best imitation of Herbert Hoover, says he is co-sponsoring legislation to “reduce the size of government and cut spending.” His claim is there are multiple agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and functions and that it is all terribly wasteful. After all, Djou says, “we cannot afford duplication and waste.” He further states that a bipartisan sunset commission, which the legislation would establish, would analyze programs and make recommendations to abolish, reorganize, or make substantive changes.

OK, Djou, there is waste and duplication. So if the goal is a more efficient and effective government, then I am for it, but reducing wasteful spending is not really the goal. His examples of multiple agencies are revealing:
163 programs with a job training or employment function
500 urban aid programs
324 economic development programs
71 business support programs
64 welfare programs
130 programs serving at-risk programs
90 early childhood development programs

Notice a pattern? Most of these areas focus on the poor and the young. Djou is going after at-risk and childhood development programs to save money. Urban aid programs? They also serve the poor and urban areas are democratic strongholds, and Djou knows it. There is no mention of the programs and departments that are truly and frightfully expensive; Our two endless wars and the massively bloated Defense Department behind them.

Or how about Homeland Security if you are looking for bloated waste? Or, more broadly, that bureaucratic octopus called the intelligence community? The feds just acknowledged its inefficiencies are so chronic and so pervasive that effective intelligence gathering is being hampered.

Like so many other Republicans, Djou has little to say about the programs that line corporate America's pockets, but thinks we got to reel in those out-of-control social programs.

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