Fractured Fiscal Responsibility

The President has threatened a veto of a very popular highway rehabilitation bill if its cost exceeds a certain magic number ($282 billion over six years, or something).
While its nice to see anything at all resembling fiscal restraint on the part of the Bush Administration, for the umpteenth time, it is necessary to revisit our little nursery school exercise on the federal budget. Picture the federal budget as a large pie, representing around $2.5 trillion out of our $11 trillion or so GDP. That $2.5 trillion works out very nicely into five more or less even parts of $500 billion or so annually, spent on interest/debt service (legally inviolable), defense/homeland security (politically inviolable), social security (until recently, politically inviolable), medicare/medicaid (politically violable) and.. everything else. The highway bill falls into that 20% “everything else”.
Not to worry: revenue losses from the loss of the estate tax alone will probably more than be reflected in money not going to highway construction and safety projects. Sure, those programs reflect jobs to Congress members’ districts… but the contracts are all so damned… spread out! No one stop shopping for those Swiss bank account deposits… like in so-called defense contracts.
Oh well. You needed to get those shocks repplaced anyway…