Porkbusting and the Line Item Veto

It’s nice to see the blogosphere doing something incredibly useful about the out-of-control spending habits of our Republican government, prominently featured here and here.

But while perusing Instapundit just now, saw an item that makes me pause: a line item veto to reduce pork. This idea seems fraught with moral peril, especially with the leadership of our current president and Congress and recently sidellined Majority Leader.

Why wouldn’t Bush 43 use a line-item veto power to whack pork in Democratic districts, while sparing Republican districts? Would Bush really pare down spending in the areas where it is most egregious — Republican-dominated states like Alaska, Mississippi, Alabama? Why wouldn’t Frist and Delay (c’mon, he’s still pulling the strings) support this kind of partisan targeting? Why can’t Bush do a reverse Clinton: shut down the goverment (or parts of it) until Congress, controlled by his party, produces a proper spending bill, stripped of ALL pork. That would be an act of courage.

Anybody paying reasonably close attention in the early nineties will remember the budget was put on a path to being balanced by collective action of Congress and two presidents: Bush 41 courageously raising taxes the bridge gaps in the deficit, then a Democratic Congress and President Clinton further closed, and eventually elminated, the gap by courageously and painfully reducing growth of government spending and putting many pet projects on ice.

Ironic, isn’t it, that these days of fiscal discipline occurred under the leadership of a Congress controlled by Democrats.