Mark W. Hendrickson

The case for such a cut is simple: Under President Obama, we have fallen into a fiscal rut of adding at least $1.2 trillion to the federal debt every year. Does anybody other than an economic illiterate think we can afford such massive floods of red ink? Even if we achieved the ambitious target of cutting federal spending to $3 trillion a year, we still would have an annual deficit larger than any deficit in history before the panic-induced TARP bailout in 2008-9. If those who are on the conservative side of economic issues think it’s “too radical” to propose an annual budget deficit of “only” half a trillion dollars, then perhaps we need to redefine “conservative.”

There is another strong point to be made in support of capping the next fiscal year’s spending at $3 trillion: What were the benefits of Obama’s quantum increase in federal spending? Did it stimulate the economy? Did it bring us prosperity? What did we get for adding $5 trillion more debt during these last three years? Is there a Henry Morgenthau (FDR’s Treasury Secretary) in the Democrats’ ranks today with the candor to admit, as Morgenthau did in 1939, that all the administration’s extra spending hasn’t helped, but has saddled us with a massive debt burden? Romney should forcefully make the case that deficit spending is both wrong and dangerous, and that it’s time for Uncle Sam to live within taxpayers’ means.

Obama talked about various “resets” earlier in his presidency. Well, let’s reset federal spending to what it was when Obama took office and engineered the worst fiscal nightmare in nearly 80 years. For the first time in seemingly forever, voters would have a real choice between voting for more government and voting for less government. That would give the Ron Paul supporters a meaningful stake in this year’s election. It should also appeal to the long-suffering taxpayers who get stuck with the tab for federal profligacy.

One of the Democrats’ greatest political strengths is their unity. They know what they want. They want more, as in, more government. There is no end to how much more government the “progressives” among them want, although most are too cagey to admit that openly. Just ask them where they want government spending to shrink (except on national defense), and you’ll find the list either to be empty or to include a couple inconsequential token cuts offered only as a fiscal fig leaf.

Will the Republican Party ever coalesce around the principle of steadily working for less government as strongly as the Democrats have coalesced around the principle of more? Perhaps not, but I’d sure like to see Gov. Romney surprise everyone and move the GOP in that direction in this prodigiously momentous election year. Give us a real choice, Mitt: More or less?


Mark W. Hendrickson

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is an adjunct faculty member, economist, and fellow for economic and social policy with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.