Cutting spending usually easier said than done

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2004

It’s time for the Republican Party to take a good, hard look at what it stands for.

Historically, the party has been associated with low taxes, small government and general fiscal discipline – traits long prized among citizens of the Commonwealth and which continue to be held dear by most responsible people nationwide.

However, the party today, both nationally and at the state level, seems to care only about low taxes – all else be damned.


Email newsletter signup

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a nonbinding measure backing a 3.5 percent pay raise next year for the government’s civilian workers. Should that increase become law, it would cost $2.2 billion more than the 1.5 percent raises President Bush has recommended.

According to the Associated Press, House leaders were hoping for approval this week of a $275 billion, six-year highway bill. The widely popular election year measure would spend at least $19 billion more than the White House wants.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 78-20 to increase child-care spending for welfare recipients by $6 billion over the next five years. Thirty-one of the Senate’s 51 Republicans, including Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., voted for the measure despite opposition by the administration.

These latest increases come on the heels of the president and the GOP-dominated Congress enacting major spending increases for Medicare, farmers and war _ and the temptation to bring extra dollars home is only heightened with elections barely seven months away.

&uot;Many of the lawmakers who talk the talk on spending are not walking the walk,&uot; said Brian Riedl, who studies the budget for the conservative Heritage Foundation. &uot;Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. They have control of the White House, the House and the Senate.&uot;

The only thing encouraging about all this is that after more than three years in office, the Bush administration appears to finally be coming to terms with the fact that massive tax cuts coupled with wildly increasing spending is a recipe for fiscal disaster. The message needs to get to Capitol Hill as well.

All are finding that while calling for spending cuts makes for good campaign sound bites, in the real word, like most things, it’s easier said than done.