Monday, February 27, 2006

Republican Hypocrisy

I love how Republicans can talk out of two sides of their mouths (I think that's how the saying goes) on public sector spending. They rally every year behind efforts to cut spending and make government more efficient, while promising everlasting support for the biggest sponge for -- and waster of -- government dollars, the Defense Department.

The latest evidence of waste in the military comes in two stories in today's New York Times. One article reports that the government will pay Halliburton for about $250 million in charges disputed by auditors. Why? Because the company was "not required to perform perfectly to be entitled to reimbursement," according to an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman. That doesn't sound like the kind of explanation Republicans would accept from anyone in any other government department.

The other story, which reports on governors' complaints about the Defense Department's abuse of the National Guard, cites a shocking Government Accountability Office finding. According to the report, the federal government has left more than $1.2 billion worth of states' National Guard equipment in Iraq and has "not kept track" of most of it. Again, that is a fact that Republicans would simply not put up with in any other area of the federal government.

Republicans need to stop the hypocrisy. If they are really serious about cutting our more than $400 billion federal budget deficit, the first place they should look is the Defense Department, not the slew of social welfare programs upon which low-income people depend.


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