Donald Kenniar climbs off his son's commerical fishing boat while trying to drain water from the hull in the harbor of Empire, Louisiana. (AP/Paul Sancya)
The word in Washington this week was offsets. If we are facing enormous bills for rebuilding the Gulf Coast, how do we offset that spending with cuts elsewhere? Conservative Republicans in Congress and even some of their democratic colleagues started to talk about facing up to the hurricane costs, especially against the background of spending that was already at record highs.
Joining the panel to discuss the options and whether there is any real chance this could be more than talk are Dan Henninger, columnist and deputy editor of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL editorial page, Steve Moore, chief economics writer and a member of the editorial page who has been covering developments in Washington this week and Rob Pollock, a senior writer for the editorial page.
"We had to rebuild and spend more after September 11th because the military spending had fallen so much in the '90s. But what Congress hasn't done is actually then give up anything. This is at least finally forcing them to confront some choices."
"Even some of the people in Alaska are embarrassed by these bridges to nowhere. I think Republicans better get their hands on this because when you have Nancy Pelosi moving to the right of the Republicans on waste, it's a big political problem for the GOP. There is a group called the House Republican Study Committee that came up with a list of nearly a trillion dollars of spending cuts over the next 10 years."
"If we can do anything to rationalize the spending process it's a good thing. The silver lining is the public is finally focusing on these incredible figures -- $286 billion dollars in a highway bill. Now we're talking about spending $200 billion on the reconstruction of the Gulf. My fear about the Gulf reconstruction is that it could make the Teapot Dome scandal look like a tea party."
"There is a moral dimension to spending here and that is what we are seeing. Spending is ultimately about taxes, it's about coercion. Mary Landrieu, senator from Louisiana, is requesting $250 billion dollars to be spent on her state alone. That is $2,500 dollars per household in America."