What Happens When No Party Is For Limited Government
President Bush held a ceremony in Texas this week to celebrate the signature of huge pork barrel spending. The transporation bill, properly named for it will transport money from your pocket to the government to Mafia run contractors, includes spending a whopping $286.4 billion on roads and bridges, rail and bus facilities, bike paths and recreational trails. President Bush said the projects from coast to coast would spur the economy and save lives.
I don't know about saving lives, but sure, applying general GDP analysis, increased government spending should increase GDP, certis peribus. But that doesn't take into account the opportunity cost of that money being sucked from the private sector. What is the purpose and efficiency of these projects? What economic benefit does a bike trail in the suburbs bring?
Two years in the making, the highway bill contains more than 6,371 special projects valued at more than $24 billion, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. The distribution of the money for these projects "is based far more on political clout than on transportation need," said Keith Ashdown, vice president of policy for the group.This is the cost to our political system with only two parties, and neither of which believes in limited government. Republicans were good at holding down the growth of spending when an opposition President was in office. It was a luxery we could handle during the pre-9/11 slumber.
Alaska, the third-least populated state, for instance, got the fourth most money for special projects — $941 million — thanks largely to the work of its lone representative, House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young. That included $231 million for a bridge near Anchorage to be named "Don Young's Way" in honor of the Republican.
Without the partisan battles over the budget, very little control over a federal spending spree exists. Just enough Democrats are bought off to pass a huge deal of pork for the connected Republicans. No Republican is going to go home and say "I turned pork because I ran on limited government and reduced spending."
This is getting to be very distressing for me. Bush is not a fiscal conservative, and even the fiscal conservatives don't seem to have the discipline to curb spending. Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad the bugets priorities generally aren't controlled by Clinton, Kerry, Kennedy and Pelosi. But I wish the Repubicans would live up to the promise that most run on -- limited, cold hearted government.
I think both parties need to be broken up, much like the phone companies. The hard core wing nut commies who call themselves "progressives" need to leave the Democratic party and form their own, or join the Greens. This will allow the Democratic party to return to reasonable liberalism just left of center. In exchange, the neo-libertarians and libertarian oriented can split from the Republicans. This will allow the Republicans to become the just right of center, social-con party it was in the late 1950's.
With any luck, the added viable parties would help create more friction and increase the possibility of a split executive and legislative branch. With the war on terror so important, one cannot vote just for any person for President with the hopes of a split government. Living with Kerry as President to prevent this spending bill is not worth it. But if the power of the hard Left could be reduced in the Dems, and the power of the big government social-cons could be reduced in the Reps, then it probably wouldn't matter who was in the White House come budget time.
But probably not. The people want their vote paid for with other taxpayers money.