Getting rid of reckless spending

Posted: Oct 25, 2005 12:05 AM

I’ve never been more thankful or proud to work at The Heritage Foundation than I was on Thursday, Oct. 20. That was the day my boss, Ed Feulner, joined a coalition of other conservative economic and family organizations to urge Congress to reign in federal spending.
Of course, Heritage has been warning Congress and various administrations for years that saddling our children with unfunded entitlements and robbing taxpayers to fund pork projects is financially foolish and just plain wrong. But Dr. Feulner’s message at the press conference, combined with the voices of other gallant warriors in the battle for America’s future, was gutsy. He and David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union; Pat Toomey, head of the Club for Growth, and Chuck Donovan, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, made for a fearsome foursome.

Of particular note is the presence of the nation’s largest family policy organization. The Family Research Council has traditionally focused more on family policy than on fiscal issues. But Chuck Donovan eloquently described how the government must stop making decisions that are better left to families, and that earnings are best left in the hands of the workers who earn them.

The major networks covered the press conference, and C-Span replayed it twice. Here’s what (in part) impressed the writer of The Washington Post’s “Think Tank Town” blog about the event:

“President Bush, already taking a lot of heat from conservatives for his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, has now been sharply criticized by a big-name leader on the right for not cutting more money from the Federal budget.

“Edwin J. Feulner, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said at a news conference with other right-leaning leaders on Thursday, October 20th, that the President and Congress face a critical test of whether they have the ‘political spine’ to act responsibly by reducing government spending.

“The think tanker said somewhat tartly that he took the President at his word when Bush declared recently that he is a conservative, and proud of it.

“Now the President must prove it, Feulner said, by giving ‘an ironclad promise’ to veto any spending bill that contains so-called ‘earmarks’ -- money for local pork barrel projects like bicycle paths, gardens, and the infamous ‘bridge to nowhere’ in Alaska.

“‘Any Member of Congress who cares about responsible spending,’ urges Feulner, ‘must do two things: End pork barrel spending, and postpone the new Medicare drug entitlement for at least one year.’

“‘Those who say they want to rein in spending are not serious if they reject these basic building blocks of fiscal responsibility,’ concludes Feulner.”


Dr. Feulner also gave a hard cold fact that made me feel ill:

“We are less than one generation away from Congress being unable to pay for anything other than Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the federal debt -- leaving not so much as a penny for defense or homeland security.

“I repeat: We are one generation away from Congress being unable to pay for anything other than Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the federal debt.”

As a mother, I find that fact appalling. When I look into the eyes of my children, how can I explain that my generation is squandering their future? No logical explanation exists. I wonder, do other parents realize what’s at stake?

The Heritage Foundation and other organizations are sounding the alarm -- will you join us? Heritage is some 200,000 members strong -- members united to educate Congress that what’s at stake here is the future of our children and the very stability of our republic. But we need as many additional voices as possible joined with ours to impart this vital message.

As I stated in my column last week, and Dr. Feulner said in his speech, a few brave men and women in Congress are standing strong for fiscal responsibility. They are warring with the powers that be, and they just might win. Among these brave few are Reps. Mike Pence, Jeff Flake, Jeb Hensarling and Ron Lewis. Even Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who vowed to give back most of her earmarks to help Katrina victims, deserves to be commended.

Will we sit idly by and watch as our children’s fiscal futures are doomed? Or will we, like Ed Feulner and my colleagues, go to battle?

At such a crucial time, it’s an honor to be in the companies of warriors at The Heritage Foundation. It’s time for Americans who are sick and tired of reckless spending to demand that Congress immediately take responsible steps to curb spending. I hope you’ll join us.

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