If future generations of Americans are going to have a bright future, we're going to have to get a handle on spending. Either we get these deficits under control and start paying off our debt or we're not going to remain a great nation. Moreover, given that Social Security went into the red last year and that program, combined with Medicare, represents a 100 trillion dollar unfunded liability that’s going to be coming due over the next few decades, this is an issue that’s not going away for the foreseeable future.
So, with that in mind, fiscal conservatives in DC need to start taking a different approach to spending. It's no longer about winning a battle here and there -- it's about winning a long war for this nation's financial well-being. Here are some principles they can follow during that fight.
1) Always try to decentralize power as much as possible. The further power is removed from the people, the less it serves them. That's why anti-government radicals should always look for ways to push power downhill. From the federal government to state governments, from state governments to local governments, from local governments to the people -- the more power that can be shifted away from the government towards the people, the better.
2) Earmarks are corruption. Earmarks may be a small part of a deficit, but they're responsible for a large part of the corruption in Congress. That's because earmarks have turned into a way for members of Congress to pay off campaign contributors, political allies, and family members with our tax dollars. Until we get a handle on earmarks, we're not going to have honest government in this country.
3) The louder they scream "emergency," the more suspicious you should be. Most advocates of big government subscribe to Rahm Emanual's view of "emergencies:"
Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before.
Two of the worst pieces of legislation passed in the last century, TARP and the Obama stimulus package, were passed this way and in both cases, the country would have been much better off had the bills failed.
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