Don’t Want to Rant Here…
But hypocritical, arrogant, big-spending Republicans need to go
by Frank Cagle
Once there was a president from Texas whose party controlled both Houses of Congress. He was prosecuting an increasingly unpopular war at enormous cost while simultaneously launching huge new entitlement programs. He couldn’t pay for both guns and butter and ran enormous deficits as a result. It set the stage for a decade of inflation, slow growth and ridiculously high interest rates.
If any of you younger readers see anything familiar here, it’s a rotten shame. Older readers will recognize Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The similarities to the current occupant of the White House are troubling. George W. Bush has spent more than Johnson. He has never vetoed a spending bill. Under his watch we have gone from a surplus to a $2 trillion deficit. And we aren’t through yet. He now proposes to spend $200 billion to rebuild a city in a swamp without raising taxes and without cutting spending. House Majority Leader Tom “The Hammer” DeLay, another Texan who thinks big, argues that the federal budget is right where it needs to be and there is no place to cut.
Many Republicans are in the position of some sports fans for hapless teams: they still show up for games but wear paper bags over their heads.
Bush may still be popular with the branch of the Republican Party that only cares about abortion, stem-cell research and displaying the Ten Commandments, but the fiscal-conservative small-government don’t-tread-on-me wing of the party has had enough.
In 2006, all Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for reelection. They ought to be turned out in droves. Their conduct for the past six years has betrayed every promise they ever made about smaller, less-intrusive government and fiscal responsibility. They passed tax cuts, which in the old days meant less revenue, thus less government. But then they have passed one pork-laden bill after another. They have created new entitlement programs, and they have spent the Treasury dry. There are a few Republican House members who have insisted that savings be found to pay for hurricane relief. They are being “Hammered” for being heretics.
When the Bush tax cuts are repealed, and the estate-tax repeal goes by the board, the Republicans will cry about the Democrats. But if the tax cuts are gone, you can blame DeLay and House Speaker Dennis Hastert and your local Republican congressman. They spent the money that has to be found. Cutting taxes without cutting spending misses the point. Sure, people like tax cuts. But the philosophical reasoning behind tax cuts is smaller government.
If the Republicans want to remain in power, there are a few things they need to do, and quickly:
• You want to rebuild downtown New Orleans? Fine. But make sure there is a restriction on every federal dollar that no construction will occur on any land below sea level or in a flood plain.
• Repeal the agriculture bill, the energy bill and the highway bill. Take out all the special-interest pork, subsidies for the oil companies and bridges to nowhere and re-pass them. Put incentives in the energy bill for energy independence. Apply the pork savings to hurricane relief.
• Pass a balanced budget amendment. No increases in federal spending without offsets.
• Don’t just delay it for one year: repeal the drug entitlement program for Medicare.
In Tennessee, you can start by canceling the $100 million for the new Interstate 69 through West Tennessee, $107 million for a new federal courthouse in Nashville and any appropriation for that ecological disaster known as the Foothills Parkway. Tennessee’s congressional delegation has paid lip service to budget cuts, but within the next couple of weeks we will see if they follow up with any specifics. When the Hammer comes around, let’s see if anybody in the Tennessee delegation is an anvil. (See http://truthlaidbear.com/listpork.php for more details. Instapundit.com is leading a national effort for accountability. Bloggers from around the country are identifying pork and suggesting budget cuts that Delay can’t find.)
If you Republican House members move quickly, maybe some of the people who traditionally vote Republican will stay with you. Otherwise, there will be no reason to keep any of you around. You see, you weren’t elected just because people like Republicans. You were elected because you are supposed to believe in something. If you insist on spending down our Treasury like a drunken Powerball winner, they don’t care what you call yourselves. You are a bunch of self-righteous, arrogant hypocrites. If you keep this up, some of us are going to get mad.
Frank Cagle is a political analyst and the editor of Knoxville Magazine . You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .