Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Happy Cost of Government Day

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.


Tom said...

You all know that I support Bush and consider him to be a great president.

Read this to help understand why you think that way.

Not that it makes any difference of course..

Tom said...

Not sure if you even read your own blog.. but more analysis of your type of thinking from Harpers;

The writer goes to great detail to explain the history of why you think the way you do.

The question I have, and have been unable to get a serious answer to is this; It is readily apparent the way issues are manipulated that has caused a "group think" of which you are definately a charter member. I'm quit sure that you believe you have looked at all the information available, considered all the historical events, and have developed a certain "morality" that causes you to think the way you do.. but it's quite evident that it's just a subtle persuasion that has been going on that has given you your viewpoint. You didn't decide it on your own. It was given to you.

Can you honestly say that is not true? Can you look at the historical record and all the rhetoric, and say with certainty that your political and moral views are your own?

What do you think when you discover that you've just been a pawn all along? Is it denial? Is it acceptance? Does it cause you to rethink your point of view in light of what you now know?

Don Dodson said...

Why would a person's views be more legitimate just because they made them up out of thin air? My philosophy comes from a proud heritage of intellectuals and scholars who have spent generations refining and proving it empirically. I looked at the various philosophies out there and picked individualism over collectivism, free market capitalism over centrally managed socialism, morality over amorality, etc. It just so happens that by making those choices I aligned myself with those people who throughout history have stood for freedom, prosperity, opportunity, and justice. I am proud to be in such good company.

Tom said...

That's a good one.. The proof really is self-evident, isn't it? The Iraq war is the model of your philosophy as it descends further into the abyss of civil war.

But, for the record, your intellectuals and scholars would not include any of the men we Americans consider to be our "founding fathers" and who drafted the structure of our form of government. 7 of the 9 were Deists after all, and not Christian, and the models they referenced have nothing to do with your "conservative" intellectuals or scholars.

In short, the current Administration and philosophy of the "conservative" (a misnomer btw) Republican party is anti-American.

And I don't know any liberals or progressives, that claim socialism superior to capitalism, or agree with with your definition of "moral". Is it merely the ages old problem of ignorant reluctance to change?

In fact, you're not a "conservative" at all. That descriptor does not fit you, nor does it fit the Republican party of Barry Goldwater anymore. The better descriptor is "authoritarian cultist".

Here's a quote from yesterday, from one of the few remaining "conservatives", Pat Buchanan..

Are these people nuts? You've got to ask yourself. I certainly hope the president is not listening to them because I really question whether they've got America's national interest at heart. They're calling for wars against people that never attacked us. I don't care how bad they are. There are wicked people all over this world but you don't go after people unless they come after you.

Which is just more blunt criticism from Buchanan as we've seen for quite a while now. The authoritarians simply label him "weak" and slur him as a "liberal convert", when in fact it is this fusion of conservative Republicans with thocratic Christians that have created this new authoritarian movement.

But, as I've said.. I'm quite pleased to see it go this direction. I've been very conservative in some of my viewpoints in the past, and what used to be the better parts of the conservative philosophy has now been co-opted by liberals and progressives. You've certainly seen that in federal fiscal matters, as you've noted Bush and the Republican congress being even more "liberal" than FDR. Now Democrats own the concept of "balanced budgets", and fiscal responsibility.

The same is true for the formerly conservative idea of "limited government". The fed has expanded exponentially under Bush. Same with the formerly conservative, or perhaps more accurately, libertarian, idea of checks and balances, and limits on executive power and the powers of the fed to intrude in our lives illegally.

All of that now belongs to the liberals, and all you've got left is wing nutty Christian theocracy, much in the same line of thinking as the Mullahs in Iran.

Congratulations.. Bush has set the conservative movement back generations, and I'm quite pleased.

Don Dodson said...

For the record, I wrote to President Bush in January of 2003 and told him not to go to war in Iraq. Even when more Democrats voted for the war, I thought that it was a bad idea. I still think that it was a bad idea, although the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power. However, I believe that we have a responsibility to Iraq and to the world to not leave Iraq in an unstable condition to be overrun by terrorists and turn into another Afghanistan or Sudan. As soon as their government reaches a point where it can be self sustaining, I want us to get out of there. But if we leave on any other artificial timetable, we assure that the result of our efforts there is to send the nation into anarchy.

Tom said...

Interesting.. Your point of view assumes that we can actually affect the outcome of Iraqi politics.

What if the reality is that no matter what the American military does, Iraq is going to be torn into 3 seperate regions, engaged in war with each other?

You subscribe to what I call the "magic wand" theory of American power. All things American are "good". America can "fix" anything, because we've been fixing things since WWI.

Vietnam really is a great model to apply to Iraq. Would America have "won" had we not pulled all the troops out of Vietnam? Would Vietnam now be a shining model of democracy in Asia if we had just stayed and killed more NVA or VC? Or, would it just had been a bigger blood bath, and inevitably end up the same as it is now.

See - this is why I find your position immoral. Obviously our current leaders are incompetent, and what you "hope" for in Iraq is impossible. It won't be long now before the Iraq war outpaces World War 2 for longevity, and WWII was well beyond the scope of what Iraq is now. How much longer before we really "turn the corner"? How long before the insurgency is really in it's "last throwes"? Where are the purple fingers? Where is the democracy?

Consider Rumsfeld is not fired nor resigning. Consider that the situation in Iraq is getting worse, and not better. Consider that with any indiginous population and culture that has been entrenched for thousands of years, your culture is NOT going to change there's. What do you do?

Your plan calls for continued sacrifice of our finest Americans. The end result is going to be the same, but you want to hang in there and sacrifice more American and Iraqi lives to see it to the bitter end.

Me - I want everyone out of there and home with their families, and let the Iraqis sort out their own situation by their own ways, and own culture. It is their own land after all. And I'm personally not willing to die for an Iraqi. I refuse. Ya.. Saddam was a bad man, and I'm glad he's gone, but I was sure as hell not going to lay down my life to get rid of him so that life is easier for the Iraqis.

Because I'm not willing to die for an Iraqi, I am apalled that other Americas are sent there in my stead.

What about you? Are you married? Have kids? Willing to die so Abdul can live in this "freedom" we've given them? I'll be you're not willing to die, yet you support others doing the fighting and dying for you.

That's immoral.

In the end, both our plans end in the same exact place. The difference is that with mine, a lot more people survive to see what becomes of it.

And the other difference in plans.. I expect those that lied us into this war that cost us so much need to pay a consequence for it. I don't expect Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et. all, to go to jail, even though I'd like that. But at least history will judge them, the neocon movement, and those that supported it as the more heinous anti-American imcompetent thugs in this history of this nation.

Bill Clinton can go to Europe and be greeted as a hero. He can go to a baseball game to a big round of applause - and he was impeached!

Bush Co. won't be able to so much as go to a baseball game without hearing the disdain. As we've seen with Darth Cheney, the limits of their public appearances will be NASCAR events.

I'm not the least bit surprised.