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A Problem of His Own Making
JR Dieckmann

The big mistake made by President Bush was in allowing excessive and uncontrolled spending in a Republican controlled Congress for 6 years without a veto. In doing so he soured fiscal conservative support for Republicans and set a precedent for excessive spending that Democrats now feel should apply to them as well.

It started with helping the country out of the recession left by the Clinton Administration and getting back on it’s feet after the attacks of 911. Feeding more federal money back into the economy helped the country to recover economically but by 2003, this practice should have ended.

It wasn't until Democrats gained control of Congress that Bush discovered his veto pen which he should have been using over the previous 4 years. Had he held congressional Republicans accountable to conservative fiscal standards, they would likely still be in control of Congress. Conservatives were simply not interested in voting when their only choices were Democrats and Republicans who legislate like them.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Democrat David Obey of Wisconsin addressed the National Press Club Monday and criticized President Bush, the Iraq war and the ongoing battle over domestic spending. He said the 2006 midterm elections that sent Democrats back to power in Congress signified that the public had two messages for Washington: "First, they wanted a change in policy in Iraq. Secondly, they wanted a new set of priorities at home."

Obey was wrong on both counts and just like all of the Democrats, misinterpreted the voters' message in 2006. The Democrat election victory had nothing to do with Iraq. It was more about Republicans spending like drunken Democrats, passing legislation aimed at pandering to the left, and failing to observe conservative principles. They needed to be taught a lesson about what is expected from them by the people who put them in office.

Clearly, Republicans were fed up with their elected representatives pandering to the left, “reaching across the isle,” and supporting legislation that would only appeal to liberal socialists. No, let me correct that, legislation that would only appeal to socialists. As I pointed out in my column last week, liberals and socialists are two distinctively different and in many cases opposite creatures. Republicans now face the threat of the same thing happening again in the White House with the current Republican front runners. Conservatives want representation in government, not merely lip service from the Republican party which continues to promote candidates who might appeal to the moderate left.

Using old and warn out rhetoric, Obey condemned the war in Iraq as a "quagmire," a "misguided enterprise," a "never-ending war" and a "black hole." But just as with most Democrats and the mainstream media, there was no mention of the progress made by General Petraeus or the fact that the war is now all but won in Iraq.

Instead, Obey commented that if "violence is decreasing in Iraq, it may be because insurgents are running out of people to kill. There are fewer targets of opportunity." He accused Bush of pouring billions of dollars into a “civil war in Iraq” which does not exist.

Obey also objects to the Bush request of $88 million in the current appropriations bill to fit B-2 stealth bombers with the capability to carry bunker-busting bombs which will ultimately be needed to stop Iran's nuclear program when the decision is finally made that attempts at diplomatic negotiations have failed.

The fight this week was over a major appropriations bill which came in response to Bush's request for an additional $196 billion in military spending to finish off the enemy elements remaining in Iraq. But Democrats want their domestic spending approved and know the only way they can get it is to hold hostage the troops fighting in Iraq.

After earlier failed attempts to pass their domestic spending in the House and Senate without a presidential veto, the House decided to combine their domestic legislation and pork spending with the war funding bill. The Republican leadership objected but was unable to block the Democrats and finally agreed in a vote. Once again, the president had asked Congress for a “clean bill” but was again presented with a bill packed with pork and other irrelevant spending. The Senate is expected to split the bill back into it’s two separate original bills.

On top of the $196 billion the president wants to fight the war, the bill combines funding for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education with Veterans Affairs, military construction; and veterans assistance. Obey wants roughly $14 billion more in these areas than does Bush, who threatened to pull out his veto pen again.

The bill includes $2.4 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps poor households pay air-conditioning and heating bills and avoid utility cutoffs for nonpayment; $1.2 million for state grants for vocational education and $30 billion for medical research at the National Institutes of Health among other wasteful spending items.

“It is not credible for the president to make a federal case out of our desires to provide $20 billion for veterans’ health care, cancer research, Pell Grants, energy research and law enforcement while he wants to spend ten times that much in the Iraqi black hole,” says Obey.

There is just one thing that Obey is overlooking. It's called the Constitution of the United States of America. That founding document authorizes the federal government to fund the military needs and to fight wars. It does not authorizes our federal tax dollars to be spent on cancer research, Pell Grants, energy research, local law enforcement, education, public health, bailing out people with overdue utility bills, or any of the thousands of other domestic issues that Democrats persist in spending our money on. Those things can just as well be funded by the states and private enterprise. The Constitution makes that clear in the Enumeration of Powers of Article 1 section 8, and the 10th Amendment where the powers of Congress are specified.

Congress has taken the liberty of extending their powers far beyond what is authorized by the Constitution and few in our society seem to notice or object. Even those serving in Congress, who are sworn to uphold the Constitution, don't even seem to notice that they are in direct violation of that document on a daily basis.

What use are laws when even our lawmakers disregard them? What happens to citizens when they disregard the laws made by lawmakers? Should not lawmakers be held to the same standard as the American citizens? The founding fathers made laws for our government to follow and we should expect and demand that they be followed.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it authorize Congress to hand out tax money to certain segments of the population or special interest groups in exchange for campaign contributions and votes which is exactly what Democrats have been doing. Republicans, while not offering handouts for votes, are no less guilty of giving away our money in exchange for campaign contributions. I’ll give you a bunch of the taxpayers’ money and you give some of it back to me personally. This is nothing less than stealing from the taxpayers.

If you watch cable TV after midnight you’ve probably seen the advertisement for Mathew Lesko’s book: “Free Money”. The book, according to this wacko socialist Lesko, lists thousands of government handout programs you can use to get money from the government, taxpayers’ money. The only thing this book should ever be used for is as a guide for government reform to eliminate unconstitutional government spending. Lesko belongs in the nut house or prison for promoting un-American and unconstitutional policy as though it’s the American dream.

This country needs to understand that America was founded and built on capitalism and free enterprise, not socialism. Those who promote socialism in America are every bit as much the enemy of America as are the Islamofascists. They are even more dangerous because rather than destroy a city or two, they are destroying the entire country. Freedom and liberty will no longer exist under socialist Democrat government dependence. The very core of America will no longer exist.

Obey and his Democrat cohorts contend that they need to raise our taxes to offset the Bush tax cuts. I find this justification for raising taxes astounding since the Bush tax cuts have resulted in increased federal tax income. Until this unconstitutional and excessive federal spending is brought under control, no amount of federal tax money will ever be enough to satisfy the socialists controlling Congress today. The more they have, the more they spend and the more they want.

The 110th Congress has done nothing for the people they are sworn to serve but rather has spent all of their days indulging themselves in finding ways to spend other people's money - ours, and pursuing the campaign contributions and votes of the antiwar socialists. I find this course the 110th Congress has taken to be unacceptable as should all Americans. But they have merely showcased the disrespect for the Constitution that Congress has been showing for the past 5 decades which coincidentally coincides with the Communist infiltration of our country. Did I say “coincidentally?” Maybe not so much.

It's interesting to note that in Obey's Bush bashing press conference, he brought up the fact that the 1990s ended with a budget surplus under the Clinton Administration, giving the impression that Clinton was responsible for it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The budget surplus of the 90s was a direct result of a Republican Congress and House Speaker Newt Gingrich who balanced the budget with his "Contract with America" which cut federal spending and brought it more in line with the Constitution. That was the only time in recent history that Congress was not on a spending binge with the taxpayers' money and the country prospered because of it. The result was a budget surplus in spite of the Clintons, not because of them.

If Bush had taken out his veto pen when he first took office instead of waiting for Democrats to get control of Congress, and if the Republican Congress had continued with the Gingrich Contract with America, I have no doubt that Republicans would still be in control of Congress today and would be virtually unchallenged for the White House in 2008. There would be no chance of someone as unqualified, unprincipled, and dishonest as Billary Clinton being elected to the highest office in the land.

But then we would be right back to the same problem we had in 108th and 109th Congress. With one party holding all of the power of the government, it seems that they just can’t resist abusing their power with no one holding them accountable. President Bush allowed any and all wasteful spending by his Republican friends in Congress and ignored the voice of the people to stop it. Now it’s come back to bite him in the rear when Democrats want the same privilege and Bush is made to look unfair in denying it.

Politics has become so dirty today that good honest people no longer want to dirty themselves with it. If they are willing to get into the rat race at all, they end up either dropping out or giving in to the corruption of the Constitutional principals they were elected to uphold. If we don’t find solutions to these problems, our country and our system of government is doomed.

Term limits on Congress might be a good place to start. The Enumerated Powers Act presented by Rep. John Shadegg at the start of each new congress would be another. The act would require Congress to show constitutional authorization for every new legislation they propose. Democrats will never vote for it because it would put them right out of business if they had to adhere to the Constitution. No such problem exists for Republicans with the exception of those RINOs who continue to pander to the left.

That is the way Congress is supposed to work, not by simply passing laws that some in congress believe would be nice to have and good for the country in their opinion. That is why the framers of the Constitution wrote Article 1 and specified limits on Congress in section 8 of that article. They knew Congress would become corrupt and drunk on taxpayers’ money if these laws were not followed. They were right and Congress, by ignoring the Constitution over most of the past 50 years, has proven it.


Related Readings

Obey assails president on Iraq war, domestic spending

Congress vows to refute Bush on budget

House Appropriations Chair Stands Firm Over Democratic Spending Moves

Global crisis spurs lobbying fight

Enumerated powers - Wikipedia