(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) its November 2012 Porker of the Month for promoting the myth that spending cuts triggered by the “fiscal cliff” will render the United States vulnerable to terrorist attacks or natural disasters. On November 18, 2012, Sen. Lieberman told Politico that the budget cuts currently projected to take effect on January 1 would be “devastating,” and that they would “really compromise our domestic security and our capacity to respond to emergencies and disasters like the hurricane we just had.”
In his fear-mongering, Sen. Lieberman ignores some basic arithmetic, not to mention his own abdication of responsibility to identify judicious spending cuts in order to free up money for emergencies. His assertion that the defense-heavy cuts to federal spending will “compromise our domestic security” ignores the fact that defense spending, which encompasses the National Guard and Army Corps of Engineers, has doubled since 2001, and that sequestration would still permit defense and domestic spending to increase over the next 10 years, albeit more slowly than it would otherwise.
Also ignored by Sen. Lieberman is the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has seen its funding rise to $7.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2012, an increase of 22 percent since FY 2008, and that the $1.7 billion Homeland Security Grant Program is riddled with wasteful spending. Rather than employing hackneyed scare tactics to defer and delay the overdue spending choices that must be made, Congress should be forced to justify why all federal spending must increase automatically every year ad infinitum, regardless of the country’s dire fiscal health or the inherent, rampant waste in government.
“Like many elected officials in Washington, Sen. Lieberman suffers from the delusion that all government spending is essential, and that less spending will lead to fewer truly essential services,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Unfortunately, every new disaster becomes an excuse to spend even more money, and the waste is never eliminated. But there are better ways to make sure that real needs are met, since no one would argue that victims of Hurricane Sandy or future disasters should be left out in the cold. Priorities must be set ahead of any emergency; Congress should establish a ‘reserve fund’ from which money can quickly be spent following a hurricane, flood, tornado or other disaster.”
For failing to come up with a reasonable alternative to the “fiscal cliff” budget cuts and instead joining the chorus of frightened chicken-littles, Sen. Joe Lieberman is CAGW’s November 2012 Porker of the Month.
CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
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