The Middle Parts of Something. Monday, February 4th marks a significant day. We’re not talking about the day when we recover from the excesses of the Super Bowl of the night before. Today is the exact midpoint of winter. Before today arrived, we endured 45 days of unusually mild weather. After today, we’ll have to get through another 45 days of winter.
If the second half of this winter is as mild as the first we can consider ourselves extremely lucky. There’s a downside to such good fortune, however. Mild winters promote the survival of many insect pests that might otherwise be killed in a harsh winter. And a thin snowpack in watersheds can make for water shortages in reservoirs next summer.
And Away We Go! That was Jackie Gleason’s famous line, but I couldn’t help thinking of it on my way to the bank this morning. The Republicans are supposed to be the party of fiscal prudence and small government. We just heard the news that President George W. Bush’s new budget calls for spending a record-setting three trillion dollars (in figures, that’s $3,000.000.000) with an accompanying deficit of $400 billion. And that doesn’t include any money spent for wars in Iraq or Afghanistan—our children and grandchildren will be presented with the bill for those misadventures.
President Bush is no stranger to huge, record-breaking budgets. His budget in 2002, calling for an expenditure of two trillion dollars, broke the previous record, And in 1987 Republican President Ronald Reagan was the first to set the budget bar at a record-breaking one trillion dollars. Yes, Republicans really deliver on their promises of small government and fiscal prudence.