Monday, March 8, 2010

WaPo praises Jim Bunning

The Washington Post editorialists get in on the action-- laying out some praise for Jim Bunning and his recent stand. Interestingly, both the WSJ and the WaPo label his efforts "quixotic"!

The WaPo brings to the forefront two particularly interesting points: 1.) the ridiculous special interest group funding Bunning wanted to use to pay for the extension of U benefits; and 2.) how Bunning was treated (lied to) by the Democratic leadership.

Regularly intemperate, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) is on his way to retirement, largely because his Republican colleagues have concluded that the 78-year-old former major league pitcher is a political liability. Mr. Bunning is not going quietly...spectacularly bad politics.

But was it bad policy? That's a closer call. The point Mr. Bunning was trying to make was a reasonable one: At some point, Congress has to stop borrowing and spending, even for worthy purposes. He's correct about this in the long run, though there's a fair debate as to whether the deficit is a greater threat to the economy now than, say, unemployment. What is clear is that a "pay-for" Mr. Bunning proposed -- cutting a tax credit for makers of a wood byproduct called "black liquor" -- is absolutely meritorious and should be adopted whatever else Congress does....

...after Mr. Bunning backed down in return for an up-or-down vote on cutting the tax credit, Democrats defeated him 53 to 43. Actually, the vote was to uphold a motion by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) ruling Mr. Bunning's amendment out of order, so technically no one had to go on record in defense of the indefensible tax break. Pretty clever....

So Mr. Bunning's quixotic effort did illustrate Washington's dysfunction....


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