I watched the Presidential News Conference the other night. Some of the talk was about the upcoming budget. One of the questioners from the press pool mentioned that a high-ranking Republican Member of Congress called the budget “far out of the mainstream.”
Oh, he’s probably right. The not-so-funny part is, they’re ALL out of the mainstream. Republicans have a lot of nerve--after turning their backs on the fiscal conservatism that was the bedrock of their party in favor of canoodling with the religious right while deficit-spending like drunken radio hosts--a lot of nerve criticizing anyone for overspending. Republicans had control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency for much of this decade, and there was no restraint whatsoever in federal spending. Not even close.
This is what gets me about politicians: They have no shame. When they are in power, they do whatever they want, and then when the other party is in power, they decry the very things that they spent their time in power doing.
Here’s an idea: How about you cut the budget? And I mean really cut it. Or at least freeze it. A “cut” to a politician works like this: I spent 10 dollars on beer today, and I plan on spending 15 tomorrow. But, in the interest of fiscal restraint, I will only spend 14 tomorrow. That’s a “cut” from what I planned to spend! I’m a deficit hawk!
How about next year, you spend what you spent this year? Or, and I know this is crazy, less than you did this year! And do the same thing the year after that, if necessary, to get your outlays in line with revenue. I think there are times, and this might be one of them, that deficit spending is actually warranted. But we’ve spent so many years doing that (in times when it was wholly unnecessary, but golly, wasn’t it FUN?) that it’s increasingly unsustainable.
I want these people to put their money where their mouth is. Don’t half-ass it. You think the budget is “far out of the mainstream?” Then cut it. Until it’s equal in size with the revenues we’ll take in this year. And then find a way to take in more revenue (or spend less) until the debt is gone, or at least back to some reasonable percentage of Gross Domestic Product. That’s called getting your financial house in order.
It’s simple common sense. But there is no place for that in Washington D.C.