Legend has it there were once two major political parties in America.
The Democrats, I’ve been told, believed in higher taxes and more government spending to solve every imaginable social and political problem – and some unimaginable ones.
The Republicans, they say, believed in cutting taxes, restricting spending and limiting the size and scope of government – with at least a nod and wink toward the Constitution.
They say legends die hard, but this one sure died quickly.
Since February 2001, the phony $2.25 trillion in projected surpluses over the next decade have been wiped out – in one session of Congress.
In the name of defense and homeland security, Congress has gone on a wild spending binge even by its own pork-like, gluttonous standards. Precious little of the money spent will actually make any of us safer and more secure – save for the government officials who will undoubtedly makeover their own bunkers and shelters. We will, however, have plenty of new destructive toys to kill and maim people and project force around the globe.
But that’s not even the worst of it. After the worst attack on U.S. domestic soil by a foreign enemy since Pearl Harbor, defense spending is up only $37 billion this year – and much of that is not really military spending in the strictest sense of the word.
The real waste, fraud and abuse of the taxpayer comes in the form of a corporate agribusiness welfare scam know as the farm bill and in a wholly unconstitutional prescription drug plan.
The farm bill alone is stealing $81 billion from you and giving it to wealthy agribusiness concerns.
What is the federal government doing messing around with prescription drugs? Both Democrats and Republicans will tell you there is a health-care crisis that needs to be addressed. Health-care crisis? Last time I checked, the biggest expense American families had was their federal tax bill. Health-care costs represent a distant second at best. What we have in this country is a tax crisis, not a health-care crisis.
In June, few noticed that Congress voted to raise the statutory federal debt limit by $450 billion. I noticed. This was an ominous sign. It’s not necessary for the defense of our country. What is necessary for the defense of our country is to refocus our government priorities.
There was some good news out of President Bush’s economic summit in Waco. He rejected a $5.1 billion homeland-defense package Congress had wrapped with non-emergency bacon, including money to build a storage facility for the government’s collection of worms and bugs. Bush had said he wanted $1 billion for defense emergencies, but was being forced by Congress to approve an additional $4 billion in spending to get it. Saying no dice to the deal, Bush rejected the whole package.
But Bush has not always been so prudent. He supported the farm bill. He supported the prescription-drug plan – even if it was quite a bit richer than he proposed. And he has pretty much set the agenda for Congress’ spending – since the Democrat majority has not seen fit to formulate an actual budget.
It’s just been runaway, ad hoc spending – something for everyone.
How bad is the overspending by Congress? It’s so bad that even the Washington Post noted it in a front-page story called “Remember fiscal discipline? Critics assail lawmakers from both parties over new budget deficits.”
This is an election year. The Washington politicians think they can buy the votes of the American people with their own money. Maybe they can. Of course, it’s a lot easier to do it when there is no difference between the parties. They both do essentially the same thing – one to greater excess than the other.
This November, depending on where you live, it may just be time to vote no, to vote neither, to lodge a protest vote, to vote for a third-party candidate, or to just plain not vote.
Sometimes it is more honorable not to vote for the lesser of two evils – especially if those two evils are truly evil.