As the kids go back to school, they have to think about getting good grades.
Now congressmen have to worry about grades, too. The National Taxpayers Union plugged 146 spending votes from 1998 into its calculator to come up with grades for each and every congressman.
The taxpayer group learned that citizen legislators, those who term-limit their time in Congress, are much more reluctant than their careerist colleagues to dip into the pockets of the taxpayer.
After reviewing every roll call vote affecting fiscal policy, NTU assigns a “Taxpayer Score” to each congressman, gauging his commitment to reducing or controlling federal spending, taxes, debt, and regulation. The most fiscally prudent member of the House turns out to be Mark Sanford of South Carolina who earned a Taxpayer Score of 90 percent. Then comes Matt Salmon of Arizona, Bob Schaffer of Colorado and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
What do these A-plus representatives have in common? All have voluntarily limited their terms. But Congress as a whole didn’t do nearly so well. The overall congressional score dropped 4 points from 1997 to a pathetic 39 percent. Averages also declined by 12 points in the Senate, to only 41 percent.
In other words: Congress got a big fat F. If we want more A’s from our congresspeople, we citizens need to do our homework, too. That means learning who has signed the Term Limits Pledge and who hasn’t. Because those who take the Term Limits Pledge are the ones who bring home the A’s.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.