Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How Not to Cut Government Spending

How is it that we have a Republican government – a Republican President, a Republican Senate, and a Republican House of Representatives – that has grown the federal government by over 10% each year Bush has been in office? Who ever heard of Big Government Republicans? Apparently Republicans are only for small government when the Democrats are in power. Give me President Clinton with two Republican Houses of Congress any day, with their 3% growth – which is at least as low as te rate of inflation.

And the notion of "cuts" in Washington is a complete joke. Is it too much to ask that there be true cuts, rather than mere cuts in the rate of growth? When I say cut, I mean that less money is actually spent this year than was spent last year. Is this too much to ask?
If we are going to get true cuts, there are a few things we can do. First, we need a sunset law for all extra-Constitutional laws – for every law passed by the federal government. The Constitution itself would not be under this law (and, indeed, I would recommend making it a part of the Constitution as an Amendment). This would force legislators to have to approve of each and every law every so often (I would recommend every ten years), which would cut out the deadwood and reinforce those laws that are in fact worth keeping. If a law is worth having, it is worth voting for again. This would allow us to get rid of laws that may have had their time and place, but which are no longer relevant to current circumstances.

Second, we need to have earmark reforms. Not everyone needs to have a piece of every single piece of pie passed by Congress. Third, we need rider reform – or, in fact, abolishment. If a law cannot stand on its own, it should not be passed. And that leads me to the final reform – reduction of the size of bills. There need to be fewer laws passed as packages. Again, if a law is worth having, it should be able to stand on its own.

These are the only things that will get Washington spending in check. If the Republicans are serious about reducing the size of government – and the past five years have created very strong doubts in my mind – then you will work to enact reforms such as these. Otherwise, if the government is going to grow more and more anyway, we might as well elect the Democrats – they are at least honest about wanting to increase the size of government.
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