« 'Little Interest' in Latest Arlington County Scam | Main | 'Greed Gone Wild' -- Pennsylvania's Legislators Vote Themselves a Pay Raise »

Congress' Fiscal Responsibility: All Talk, Absolutely No Action

Cal Thomas writes in today's Washington Times that "Congress returns to work in a few days, which means unrestrained raiding of the public purse by wasteful and unnecessary spending will likely continue." He then adds, "While most parents would not allow such free spending by their children in college, Congress spends with few restraints and with few complaints from those who earn the money. This might be more understandable if Democrats ran the government, but overspending under Republican leadership is something like a virtue monitor succumbing to vice." Thomas says that "A Republican president and a Republican Congress should not be about controlling the rate of government growth. They should be about reducing the government's size, cost, reach and influence."

The press release for a report issued yesterday by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, in Thomas' words, "finds misspending is bad and getting worse." The NTUF press release notes, "For every hour the 108th Congress was in session, the Senate and House of Representatives each voted to raise federal spending by roughly $200 million." Jeff Dircksen, the NTUF project leader for the report, noted, "Unfortunately, lawmakers wasted this chance to address an ever-expanding federal government," and concluded, "By failing to bring down expenditures, elected officials are putting taxpayers on the road to higher taxes and lower economic growth in the future." Access to the complete report and its appendices is available from the press release.

Appendix B to the report (requires Adobe) provides an analysis of spending increases or reductions, as well net spending/baseline mandatory spending for each member of Congress. Results for Arlington's three Congressional legislators follows:

Spending Increases/Reductions/Net + Baseline
Sen. George Allen (R) $364.6 billion/$0.6 billion/$502.0 billion
Sen. John Warner (R) $372.3 billion/$0.5 billion/$509.8 billion
Rep. Jim Moran (D) $427.8 billion/$11.o billion/$554.8 billion

The NTUF press release pointed out that phrases like "fiscal responsibility" "appeared 2,740 times in the 2003-2004 Congressional Record." As Mark Twain said in 1866, "“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”