Today's Funny WashPost Headline: 'Democrats Pledge to Restrain Spending'
The Washington Post had a light-hearted headline for the day after Christmas at the top left of the front page: "Democrats Pledge to Restrain Spending." Lori Montgomery's article reflects a talk to the chairmen of the House and Senate budget committees. She reported they "said they will have little room in their budget blueprints for significant new domestic spending, such as closing a much-criticized gap in the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit that forces millions of seniors to pay 100 percent of drug costs for a few weeks or months each year."
But have no fear, Sen. Kent Conrad has an easy solution, as he emphasized war costs. "Raising taxes would certainly be an option...The President this is his policy. He's got an obligation to pay for it." So why isn't the headline "Democrats Say Raise Taxes"?
The headline inside the paper also reflects the urge to help paint the Democrats in their own colors, "Democrats Seek New Image: Fiscal Restraint." Conrad and House Budget Committee chief John Spratt were reported to be seeking to upset the liberals:
Spratt and Conrad said they would aim to balance the budget by 2012, a goal that could anger liberal Democrats eager for new spending on domestic programs and conservative Republicans determined to preserve the tax cuts passed during Bush's first term. But it also could establish the Democrats as able stewards of the nation's treasury, political analysts said, giving the party's presidential candidates an important accomplishment for the 2008 campaign.
Don't be surprised if the Democrats return to the Clinton-Gore formula of cutting from defense spending. Spratt and Conrad told the Post they intend to bring more scrutiny to spending of "terror-related operations," even as the Democrats pledged to increase spending on "homeland security," which would make a conservative wonder how broadly Democrats will define the term.
The Democrats and the media still sound as if defense spending is an impediment to the aggressive social spending they really favor. Montgomery described the competition between defense spending and social spending this way: "Less that 20 percent of the budget is available for education, housing, highways, and courts, discretionary programs that are being further squeezed by an increasingly expensive military." A graphic titled "Little Wiggle Room" has the same mantra, but with a different percentage: "Barely a third of the budget is available for discretionary programs -- and about half of that is devoted to an increasingly expensive military."
While it's correct that the military is "increasingly expensive," it's not a term the Post used in this article for the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, which was described as "much-criticized" for being underfunded.