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Passing The Buck

The buck in this well known phrase is not a dollar bill but an old poker term for an object used to identify the current dealer of a hand. The Buck Stops Here is another phrase using the term as well. While I’m not aware of how many people know this little fun-fact, it is clear that President Bush is not very familiar with these phrases at all.

This is evidenced in his latest attempt at his pre-vacation news conference today to Pass The Buck of infrastructure spending priority. When asked the question about raising gasoline taxes to pay for maintaining our infrastructure, President Bush surprised me in starting the answer off in a way that I completely agree with. He said that there should be no increase in taxes, rather, proper priority and elimination of pork should be the way to handle the issue. I think we all know that there is still pork in the spending bills that Congress sends to the President to sign and the prioritization is a fun game of ‘get as much for my state as I can regardless of need’ that is played in the halls of those large buildings in Washington, DC.

However, he then attempted to dodge his own responsibility of the issue by blaming Congress for sending him those bad bills in the first place. True, the Congresses that he has presided over, including the current one, are responsible for the addition of the pork and playing games with our highway money. But, as I recall, he has to SIGN those bills into law before they take effect, doesn’t he?

An interesting number comes to mind. That number is *3*. Why is that number so interesting? It’s the number of bills that President Bush has vetoed. And those bills had nothing to do with infrastructure appropriations. This President has not seen a spending bill that he hasn’t liked, at the cost of increasing our debt and deficits for his entire term in office.

Now, he comes out and blames Congress for the mis-prioritization of the highway funds in the US. Sorry, Mr. President, instead of saying ‘The Buck Stops Here’, you appear to be trying to play CYA as you head out of town.

The end result is that his intention to clean up the spending bills at this late stage in his Presidency will do more to draw attention away from the very thing he thinks he is focusing the nation’s attention on. Perhaps his criticism would have had more teeth if he had once vetoed a single spending bill during the past six years.

Have a restful vacation, Mr. President!

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