Years ago when I first learned about politics from my father, I was taught that the Republican Party stood for fiscal sanity and the Democratic Party stood for tax and spend politics. Funny how some things change, but others just stay the same. Of course, the Democrats still stand for tax and spend politics. They continue to try to demagogue all the issues and pit one group of Americans against another. Republicans are supposed to speak out against that type of shenanigans, but instead they sadly imitate those politics.
Republicans are now for Big Government, just a little bit less than the Democrats. There seems to be no one on Capitol Hill actually interested in cutting the budget, so our budget surplus has magically disappeared and we are now faced with serious budget deficits once again. The economy has been in trouble for two years and many Americans have had to watch their spending and trim their own personal budgets. Why not the politicians in Washington D.C.? The stock market is in the dumps, but not the spending habits on the hill.
This year, Congress is setting a record for pork-barrel spending. I understand that we are at war, but I fail to understand how spending billions of dollars on wasteful government programs will help us win it. In the past year, spending in the public sector has exceeded spending in the private sector to a tremendous degree. City, state and federal spending rose 6% in the past year, while private spending rose only .5%. According to the Cato Institute, federal spending will grow $150 to $200 billion this year alone. Of course this is mostly because of outrageous federal spending on pork-barrel projects and massively wasteful farm subsidy and education bills. The tax and spend addicts are so out of control that here are some of the ridiculous programs that your tax dollars are wasted on:
When are Republicans going to say enough is enough? The United Postal Service is mired in serious debt—nearly $13 billion. They will be raising the price of stamps for the third time in three years. Amtrak is looking for a $200 million bailout after losing more than a $1 billion last year. Many one of the reasons that these agencies are doing poorly is that the bureaucratic executives of Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service have reportedly been chauffeured in luxurious limousines. These agencies are operating in lavish opulence without a serious effort to reform spending practices. The United Postal Service and Amtrak are being bailed out again. Where are the Republican leaders saying the country needs to privatize both industries?
The latest boondoggle is the Homeland Security Department—another example of big government in action. Why do we need this governmental leviathan? When government agencies and departments are created, they only grow in size and stature. Remember when Republicans used to stand for eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education. I vividly remember Ronald Reagan excoriating those bureaucracies and promising to dismantle them. Well, twenty years later, they are only growing in size and we are now embarking on making an even larger one. Now, we have President Bush partnering with the most liberal and notorious Senator Ted Kennedy to pass an education bill that pumps more billions into the Department of Education which will not fix the problem. Pouring more money on a problem doesn’t solve it. This country has experienced decades of massive federal government funding into education and where are the results? When will Republicans learn this lesson?
The Homeland Security department will have 170,000 employees and a budget of $37 billion. It will include agencies like the Coast Guard, the Secret Service and the Customs Service, but not the FBI or the CIA, so serious questions remain about how this will make us safer and what will be the eventual cost. The best way to combat terrorism is not addressed in this bill and that would be to completely shut down illegal immigration and send back all illegal immigrants that are in this country. The Republican Party does not have the political will to address this crucial issue, but if there is a mission for a Homeland Security Department illegal immigration should be it. Our focus should be on killing the enemy abroad and at home and not worrying about creating the third largest government department in the President’s cabinet. We have not found the anthrax killers, nor have we found the mastermind of the attack that killed 3,000 on September 11, 2002. Those should be our main missions, not creating more government spending. The only true way to create homeland security is not to create this department, but to create a death sentence for the terrorists, both domestic and foreign.
Jeff Crouere is the host of Ringside Politics on WTIX in Louisiana. Listen live here.
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