Before I get angry about poverty -- the new rate comes out today -- I want to make quick point about the difference between Republicans and Democrats inspired by the recent departures from government.
Yes, the rats like Karl Rove are leaving the sinking ship. Yes, aside from wanting to hire only Bushies, Alberto Gonzales had trouble recruiting top quality lawyers for the Justice Department.
There's an easy explanation. Republicans, who are now overwhelmingly and monochromatically mostly neo-conservatives of some sort, actually despise government and work to wreck it.
That's been essentially the deficit tactic since Reagan: create enough fiscal imbalance that the thing breaks down and all the programs are cut because "defense" (shouldn't the Pentagon be renamed "offense" or back to Department of War, at least?) is sacrosanct.
So, what honest "government is best which governs least" Republican is going to choose voluntarily to work for the gummint? Here are a few:
-- opportunists who need a job and are willing to call themselves Republican if that's what it takes;
-- crazy ideologues who convince themselves that if the gummint could persuade kids to say no to sex and drugs (bureaucrats, unlike parents, teachers and ministers are the best role models, right?) or some such project of evangelical social engineering, then ... it would be morning in America again (in the rose-tinted Elvis Presley history of the GOP);
In general, these are people who are dishonest with themselves and therefore dishonest with everyone else. You hate government? Stay out of it and let competent, interested people do the job.
This explains easily why the Repubs having, hands down, all the majority they needed in both houses last November and December, merely packed their bags after the election and did nothing.
Contrast that with Bill Clinton signing regulations until the last second before Dubya put his hand on the Bahble on that fateful January 20, 2001. Not the congressional Repubs of late 2006 ... thank Zeus!
This should explain why, for the next year or so, government will be unable to do much of anything. At this point, there's so much wreckage -- from Iraq, to a looming deficit, to the mess of post-Katrina, to (your issue here) -- that there's no more room for more.
We're not looking at the pristine surpluses Clinton left or the booming economy or peace breaking out in Ireland and even Bosnia. We're looking at sheer disaster in the face.
Hell, if there's no wrecking allowed, the Repubs just don't find governing fun.