The Washington Examiner newspaper determined that the longer someone serves in the Senate, the more likely they are to favor spending more money and to oppose any suggestion that they stop. According to the Examiner, "the average seniority of senators voting for DeMint-McCaskill was 12 years, while opponents averaged 22 years in the Senate." All three presidential candidates returned from the campaign trail to vote for the measure. Sen. John McCain is far more credible on spending reductions than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama and the moratorium was about slashing earmarks, not the big-ticket items most in need of reform, but getting any politician on record favoring spending reductions (and then following through to see if they mean it) is worth something.
This year, according to Heritage, the federal government will spend $25,117 per household.
The excuse one hears most often is that there is no place legislators can cut spending.
Last year, says the Heritage Foundation, the government made at least $55 billion in overpayments; the Pentagon spent almost $1 million shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida. Even the coming postal rate increases aren't that high.
Washington spends $60 billion per year on corporate welfare compared to $50 billion on homeland security. Suburban families are receiving large farm subsidies for the grass in their back yards, subsidies that many of these families never requested and do not want. Over half of all farm subsidies go to corporate farms with average household incomes of $200,000.
And then there is my personal favorite: government auditors spent the last five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them - costing taxpayers $123 billion per year - fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.
This is outrageous. That our elected officials participate in this sham and then claim they can't afford to cut anything ought to disgust us all, especially when some are planning to spend even more. It demonstrates that a government program is proof of eternal life in Washington.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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