Stan Collender over at the National Journal has a great take on 'why fiscal conservatives are angry.'
It's not really that hard to figure out why fiscal conservatives are so angry at President Bush and his administration.
Hurricane Katrina provided an extraordinary opportunity to prove that smaller government could also be more effective. If the Bush administration had not just been cutting programs but had also been taking steps to make sure they worked when needed, the fiscal conservatives' insistence that spending can be cut without sacrificing efficacy would have been proven true....And the name "Katrina" would have been a badge of honor used when the government succeeded at something rather than an emblem of how badly it failed.
What we got, however, was a very different turning point in the history of federal budgeting and budget politics. The federal government's failure to get the job done after Katrina will now be seen as a symbol of the damage indiscriminate spending cuts can cause. Those who want to cut spending will now have to explain why what they propose to do will not result in "another Katrina."
The failure was further compounded by President Bush's response: in the wake of the natural and political disaster, he immediately abandoned the smaller government experiment. Not only did the president instantly ask Congress to appropriate $50 billion -- a more than 10 percent increase in the overall level of domestic appropriations -- he then made a nationally televised address saying that he would spend whatever it took to deal with the situation.
Let's not let them forget that. Because whether it is this year or next that there is an epidemic, a third big disaster (after Iraq and Katrina) is poised to hit the US and the Federal budget, yet (as I blogged on recently on Night Bird's Fountain), the budgets for preventative health (including stockpiling antiviral medication) for the Center for Disease Control, have been slashed over the years of the Bush administration. Adding funding now, as the threat is upon us, is too little, too late to make up for the harm that may have already been caused.