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Fiscal Responsibility

Politicians are not fiscally responsible (shock! horror!). It seems once elected, they become affected by what H.L. Richardson calls the “peer-group shift”[5]. Simply put, they lose touch with the common man by less contact with constituents back home and more with lobbyists and established Washington politicians — a situation even more pronounced as most politicians come from wealthy and isolated backgrounds. How much do you have in common with Ted Kennedy or President Bush?

Once elected their only goal becomes re-election. And what’s the best way to accomplish that? Pork! Bring home the bacon and re-election becomes much more likely — runaway spending is perhaps the biggest problem in Washington today (after ethics and integrity). But we avoid paying the bill, instead pushing off the problem to future generations. This must stop.

For example, the increases in federal spending under President George W Bush are more than the entire federal budget under President Carter. Federal spending has increased 33%, with a 48% increase in discretionary spending.[6] This is most definitely not conservative.

The most pressing budgetary problem facing the nation comes from entitlement spending — Social Security, welfare, etc. It’s adequately documented the problems these programs have and continued unchecked eventually will bankrupt the country. At some point either massive tax increases are required (which won’t really raise revenue but can be devastating to the economy — see the laffer curve[7]), or massive benefit cuts. There is no free lunch.

In spite of this crisis, Constitutional Conservatives do not call for the elimination of these programs, as it would be unfair to people depending on them and believed in good faith the promises made by the government. However, it is reasonable to limit increases, and limit future benefits to those not already collecting them. The primary function of the Federal Government is national defense — other spending must be secondary; many programs the Federal Government involves itself in are the responsibility of states or private citizen groups.

Constitutional Conservatives call for holding (or reduction) of tax rates, balancing the budget, and a priority on national defense as the primary duty of the Federal Government.

The complete article on Constitutional Conservatism is available as PDF, or visit the About Constitutional Conservatism page.

[5]Senator H.L. Richardson “What Makes You Think We Read the Bills?” Caroline House Publishers 1978 page 68-72
[6]Richard Viguerie, “Conservatives Betrayed” 2006, page 219
[7]The laffer curve shows a relationship between tax rates and revenue. Specifically, raising rates does not necessarily increase revenue, and reducing rates does not necessarily decrease revenue. Where the turning point is, of course, becomes a point of contentious debate. For more on the laffer curve see the following sites.

Copyright © 2006. Unless otherwise noted, all original work on this page (excluding user comments) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.
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