Howard Rich

Obviously reducing these exorbitant “existing levels” of spending is what the next Congress must focus on when it convenes in January. And accompanying that budgetary effort must be a push for comprehensive tax relief – not just a temporary extension of previous tax cuts. Having witnessed the costly failure of government-driven “stimuli,” the next Congress must make a conscious decision to abandon this Keynesian approach and invest in the American taxpayer for a change. In other words, limited government advocates should not be content with a pair of “do no harm” quick fixes on taxes and spending – because “do no harm” legislation is not what the situation calls for. What is required? Immediate cuts – and a steady, sustained reduction in the size and scope of the federal government.

On the first count, politicians could shave a trillion dollars off of the next federal budget by simply limiting spending to its pre-recession levels. Assuming you believe that government should have never been growing at a time when Americans’ income levels were shrinking, then these cuts should not be particularly controversial.

And remember – even before Washington politicians decided to add $4 trillion to the national debt over the last three years, the federal government was already expanding far beyond the ability of taxpayers to sustain its growth. In fact, in the six years leading up to the recession the federal deficit was growing by an average of more than $520 billion each year.

Correcting this unsustainable expansion is not “austerity,” it is simply reducing rampant excess. It has been said that mindless growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Now that America has been “fiscally diagnosed,” let’s hope a new crop of leaders has the courage to pursue a cure – not merely treat the symptoms of the disease.

Howard Rich

Howard Rich is the Chairman of Americans for Limited Government.