Republicans control the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. And yet, the party of “smaller government” and “fiscal responsibility” has grown government outrageously and irresponsibly.
Quite a few of my listeners and readers have offered excuses for the Republicans. The most common? “The Democrats would have been worse.” That may be true. But why haven’t the Republicans been better? That’s where the second most common excuse comes in. “Doesn’t the war make a difference? Don’t governments usually go into deficit spending during war?”
Though it’s possible to finance a war without deficits, yes, an unexpected war does lead to unplanned expenditures, hence deficits. But once a war begins, governments can reprioritize. America’s done it in the past. So why, once war started, haven’t Republicans fought rather than reveled in pork? And why push for huge, whopping increases in domestic spending? Even the National Endowment for the Arts has mushroomed 17 percent this year.
I’ll listen to other answers, but here’s my guess: when you get to spend the money, fiscal responsibility and smaller government don’t matter so much. Some assume I must be a Kerry supporter when I express such criticisms. Or a Bush supporter when I take Kerry to task. That’s not my game.
Politicians must be held to account and so should the political parties that have become clubs for powerful incumbents. But the real solution is to restore real representation in Congress, where spending begins. That means term limits.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.