Today is the day that we stop working as slaves of Uncle Sam and begin to work for ourselves.
July 12 is Cost of Government Day in 2006, falling one day later than it did in 2005. On this day, the average American family has earned enough to pay for their share of the cost of government. The 192.7 days that it takes to pay for our government is broken down like this:
Federal spending 86.5 days
State/Local spending 44.6 days
Federal regulations 39.6 days
State/local regulations 22.0 days
In spite of the growing economy, the Cost of Government Day has been moving later for the past few years. When George Bush became President in 2001, Cost of Government Day was the first day of July. Because of the failure of President Bush and the Republican Congress to control spending, it has been pushed back 12 days. By contrast, when Ronald Reagan was President, Cost of Government Day moved from July 22 to July 3, and when Bill Clinton was President it moved from July 20 to July 1. The contribution of Federal spending to these trends can be seen here:
Both Bush (Jr) and Reagan inherited a rapidly growing cost of government. Reagan reversed the trend and brought the cost down during his eight years in office. Bush has continued the trend.
The federal budget deficit we have today is attributable entirely to the rapid growth of domestic spending under the Bush administration. Domestic spending has increased by 40% in five years, which is more than it grew during all eight year of Clinton, that flaming liberal. Low taxes and controlled spending are the two essential components of a conservative fiscal policy. Bush has done well on reducing taxes, but he needs to do a lot better on the spending side.
You all know that I support Bush and consider him to be a great president. Not quite up there with Ronald Reagan, but getting pretty close. But this is one area where he has fallen flat, and with a Republican Congress, there is no excuse for this. No family or business could operate with this kind of financial irresponsibility, and the government should not be allowed to either.
Politically, cutting spending is a difficult thing to do. It is guaranteed to make someone mad, and the benefits are seen only indirectly. It is a natural response for each individual to vie for the biggest piece of the pie that he can get. People have been conditioned to view “their” share of the Federal largesse as sacrosanct. Government dependence is still alive and well, and it is encouraged by politicians eager to buy votes with your tax dollars. As long as elections are won by the one promising the largest increase in entitlement dollars, politicians have no incentive to reign in spending.
The vicious cycle of co-dependency between politicians and the recipients of government programs must be broken by the taxpayers clearly telling their elected officials “enough”.
I am not sure how to communicate this message to the Republicans in Congress. Electing Democrats would be seen as a call for MORE spending, not less. As poorly as Republicans have done in the past five years, Democrats are much worse. The only reason that Bill Clinton didn’t spend a lot more is that all of his spending proposals were mired down in a gridlocked Congress. Gridlock really is a wonderful thing. When Congress can’t accomplish anything, we all benefit. Congress can only do two things relating to domestic policy: tax us and spend our money. The less they do of either of these, the better I like it. It has occurred to me that we could benefit from more gridlock if the Democrats got control of the Senate. The biggest thing keeping me from campaigning for the Democrats running for Senate is the revolting thought of being forced to utter the words “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid”. I would rather have a root canal, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I detest going to the dentist.
The best ways to let your Congresscritters know that you want them to start being fiscally responsible are to support fiscal conservatives in the primary elections, to write to your delegation in Congress, and to express your views in public forums. Write a blog, or write to your local newspaper, or just tell a friend. But do something! It is your money they are madly spending.