Debra J. Saunders
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The House voted to expand federal health care for an additional 5 million children -- by taxing smokers an additional 45 cents per pack. Same as the old boss: More government, and you don't have to pay for it.

If Republicans sold out their constituents in promising less government, yet voting for more spending, Democrats also lack the courage of their convictions. When it comes to global warming, stopping the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping and, of course, Iraq, they'll do what's expedient and not let their principles stand in the way.

And when they put their principles first, it's probably for a stunt. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., plans to introduce a global-warming bill on Sept. 1 that would tax carbon emissions, end the mortgage tax deduction on big homes and boost the gasoline tax by 50 cents a gallon. The advantage: Only a huge tax increase of this order can cut greenhouse-gas emissions more than 50 percent, as supporters of the Kyoto global warming agreement argue needs to be done.

Everyone in Washington predicts Dingell's bill will go nowhere. Of course it will -- there is no way for Democrats to hide the cost.

The problem with the old R's is the problem with the new D's. Both parties only want to offer more something for everyone, with the promise that someone else will pay for it.

No wonder the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 24 percent of voters approve of the job this new-improved Congress is doing -- as opposed to President Bush's 31 percent approval rating.

So why the bipartisan grasping? Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., likes to say that "earmarks are the gateway drug that leads to spending addiction in Congress." It seems as though members of both parties either can't help themselves, or they are convinced bad governance is what voters want.

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Debra J. Saunders


 
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