People are constantly coming up to me and saying, "Now that you conservatives have the reins, how are you going to come through with all the cuts you promised? It's easy to get elected by saying you're going to cut spending, shrink the federal government and balance the budget, so let's hear the plan."
I sometimes wonder if these people are simply liberals who are being snide because they have just suffered embarrassing, historic losses (thank you, Democratic congressmen for not learning anything and re-electing Pelosi as your minority leader) or rather people who really want to know how we are going to go about accomplishing these goals.
Actually, I'm sure it is some of both.
I hope these individuals asking me this question are intelligent enough to realize that it is a process, a mind-set, and it certainly isn't going to be accomplished overnight. It is also going to involve short-term pain. Pain always accompanies a healing process. Everyone has to share in the sacrifices.
Therein lies the problem. Give a liberal a dollar and then later ask for a dime back and he will squeal like a stuck piglet. All they want to do is climb back and continue suckling on the teat of the federal sow and think of a reason to ask for another dollar.
Another thing to emphasize is that Congress can't be trusted. Before there is even any talk of raising taxes (which really shouldn't be necessary), Congress must come through with the spending cuts. Remember when the Democrat-controlled Congress promised President George H.W. Bush that if he would allow increased taxes Congress would match that with spending cuts? He made the mistake of trusting the Democrats.
The next thing to remember is that it was originally intended for most of the power to belong to the states. States should assume the responsibility for the well-being of their citizens. The federal government should keep its nose out of about 90 percent of what it is doing and what the Constitution gives it no authority to do.
Lastly, the starting point is to go from a general strategy to specific actions. How about starting with no new spending, no new programs, no new bureaucracies and no new government jobs?
Sorry Michelle, your new anti-obesity initiative shouldn't even see the light of day. How many times must one repeat that that is an example of a power that belongs to the individual states? Should I say it more slowly? However, in this case, common sense dictates that this particular responsibility falls on the parent.
There are a lot of good areas to explore. The libs love to take an idea and pooh-pooh it as not being a drop in the bucket. For example, when it is suggested to eliminate earmarks the libs will remind you that it will only save $14 billion. You mention a federal program that no one has ever heard of and they say that will only be a $5 billion savings.
Aren't they intelligent enough to realize that all these start adding up to something big in pretty short order? You have to look at it as a process, a series of steps, and not just one huge leap. Remember how they use the same strategy for not deporting illegal aliens? They say it can never be done. There are just too many. When they ask how can it possibly be done, the answer is pretty simple ... one illegal at a time.
Then they bring up and try to impact people's emotions. They begin to talk about our responsibility to the poor. Any American knows that there has to be a safety net for the unfortunate, and it is most certainly our responsibility to care for these people. Don't forget to throw in the word "temporary," however.
You read all the time about third-generation welfare recipients. These people have no concept of the word "work." How long is long enough? One year, two years, more? As I mentioned above, at some time the person has to be removed from the government teat and stand on his or her own two feet. If you want to see real poverty, come with me to Romania, Bulgaria, Albania or any other third-world country.
The next column will look at the U.S. Government Deficit Reduction Commission and its preliminary report. There are a lot of good ideas listed in this report. However, listen carefully. I can hear the squealing beginning already.
Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at SearsT@hartwick.edu. His column appears every other week. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/tomsears.