March 21st, 2008 by Rightsideup

It seems President Bush’s failure to exert much downward pressure on spending at home applies to the UN too. Thanks mostly, it seems, to various Bush-inspired initiatives, the UN’s administrative budget for the coming year is going to be 25% higher than the previous year. A lot of the additional spending flows from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although some of it is also going to various typical UN projects, including a conference on racism in South Africa which Canada has already decided to boycott because of anti-semitic themes.

The UN headquarters is also getting a makeover, which reminds me of the John Bolton quote that “if the UN secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference” – I wonder if it might be best and cheaper all around to do that than renovate the place? Might cut down on some of that massive spending too.

Hopefully our next president will take the rampant spending both domestically and at the UN more seriously, and take actions to reduce that spending rather than allowing it to continue to balloon at the current alarming rate…

March 6th, 2008 by Rightsideup

Fiscal responsibility hasn’t been mentioned much in this year’s presidential campaign outside of discussion of the Bush tax cuts (which McCain voted against initially but has since supported). But it’s got to be one of the biggest issues that Republicans need to address if they want to retake Congress. The fact that they’ve been so weak on fiscal responsibility (i.e. lowering government spending and taxes) has allowed the Democrats to neutralise the traditional advantage Republicans have on the economy (and even overtake them in this regard in some polls) and has been a big part of the reason they retook Congress two years ago.

I think Romney should have gone after the Republican Congress harder on this – it would have been a nice stick to beat John McCain with since he’s been right there in the thick of it (though arguably not one of the worst culprits). But I think he was hamstrung in this and in other matters by the fact that he wanted to be supportive of President Bush, who hasn’t done the Republicans any favors in this department either aside from those tax cuts, never vetoing a single pork-laden spending bill during the entire time Republicans were in charge.

At this point McCain needs to make this a campaign issue, but the Republicans (planning to stay) in Congress also need to really take it on board and ensure they send a strong message on the issue to voters between now and November.

Ed Morrissey (erstwhile of Captain’s Quarters, now at Hot Air) has written several good pieces on this whole issue over the last few weeks which are all worth reading. The Republicans have had a mixed record even over that short period, but they really need to tighten up and close ranks on this issue. They also need to put some serious reformers in prominent committee positions to give them some clout to clean things up. At this point, it’s 50/50 at best as to whether they’ll make any headway on this point in time for this fall’s elections.