One thing we all need to remember. It was the republicans who balanced the budget once before, and for all the (well-deserved) complaints on fiscal irresponsibility from republicans in the past 5 years, the democrats complained that we didn't spend enough. That said, "The other guy is worse" is no excuse and it is time for the rest of the party to follow the lead of the "Republican Study Committee" wing of the party and balance the budget - no excuses. Did Congress learn from losing the house? We'll see.
The single-best thing the lame-duck GOP Congress can do is vote in a spending-limitation bill with balanced-budget targets for the next couple of years. This would be a spending-cap pay-as-you-go, which means that any increased spending must be offset by lower spending in other parts of the budget. Not higher taxes, reduced spending.
This policy action would send a clear message to disaffected Republicans and independents (think Ross Perot voters) that the GOP is moving to regain the high ground on limited government and budgetary restraint.
The era of big-government conservatism must come to an end. And right now.
In the new Congress next year, Democrats will push a revenue pay-go. This means any new spending initiatives could be financed through higher taxes. And Democrats want to spend. Just take a look at their wish list: student loan subsidies, a major expansion of No Child Left Behind, more money to fill so-called “doughnut hole” (Medicare Part D) prescription-drug assistance and an expansion of health care for the uninsured on the way to universal health coverage.
During the Newt Gingrich congressional years, and particularly during the fight for the balanced-budget amendment of 1997, limited spending coupled with low tax rates was the winning message that gathered both conservatives and Ross Perot independents into the GOP tent. Now is the time to return to these very same principles
And from the Tribune-Review
Money can't buy me love," the Beatles famously sang. That should be the lesson conservatives take from the Nov. 7 elections, because the real story of this year's midterm vote is that the supposedly conservative majority spent as if it was a liberal majority.
"The greatest scandal in Washington, D.C., is runaway federal spending," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said after the election. In recent years, he notes, the Republican majority "voted to expand the federal government's role in education, (added new) entitlements and pursued spending policies that created deficits and national debt."
Earmarking is nothing more than an attempt by members of Congress to show folks that they're "bringing home the bacon." Conservatives should focus on the lesson of this election: This sort of federal spending is wrong. It doesn't work, and it should be stopped.
The other side of the spending coin is entitlements. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are on a path to bankrupt our country. Medicare spending alone is projected to leap $112 billion over the next two years to nearly half a trillion dollars. There's a crisis looming.
Yet instead of addressing these problems, in 2003 our lawmakers made them worse. They passed the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, adding trillions of dollars in costs to an already flailing program. It was the largest entitlement program passed since the Great Society of the 1960s, and many saw it as nothing more than an attempt by lawmakers to buy senior citizens' votes by giving them "inexpensive" drugs (to be paid for by their children and grandchildren's taxes).
The buy-off failed. Its author, Nancy Johnson, was ousted in Connecticut, while key supporter Clay Shaw lost his Florida seat after his opponent made the costly benefit a campaign issue.