Skip to comments.Bob Barr:The [Republican] Revolution Sputters
Posted on 03/02/2005 11:27:09 AM PST by jmc813
In 1994, I packed my suitcase and went to Washington with dreams of changing the world. For the class of 55 GOP freshmen elected that year, the unifying goal was to bring fiscal discipline to the federal government.
For a time, that dream seemed achievable. We balanced the budget within just a few years, reformed welfare, and brought new levels of efficiency to Congress and to many agencies in Washington's byzantine bureaucracy.
Oh, what a difference a decade makes.
Here we are in 2005. Like an out of control consumer who cuts up his credit cards, pays off his debt, and immediately digs a new, deeper hole, the federal government is back in the red - big time. We're spending on everything from B-2 bombers to Viagra for Medicare recipients to indoor rainforests in Iowa.
The deficit is back with a vengeance, Social Security is slowly going bankrupt. And, once again, we're leaving our kids to pay the bill.
So, what happened to those class of '94 revolutionaries? Like me, many are now doing something else. Even the jefe maximo of the Republican revolution, Newt Gingrich, is spending his time on the speaking and consulting circuit. Official Washington has no appetite for change, so it's no surprise many of us don't work there anymore.
Other budget cutters from that class of '94 now show signs of becoming budget busters, according to a recent analysis by the National Taxpayers Union. Instead of fighting the red ink, they're seeing how much deficit spending they can direct toward their districts.
In a sense, it's hard to blame them. Playing outsider on bill after bill gets you little more than sleepless nights, bad hometown press, retribution from party leaders, difficult re-election battles and fewer lucrative job offers when you leave Congress.
The key problem is that many in Congress think of themselves as representatives but rarely as statesmen. The only way to survive over the long term is to cater to the wishes of their constituencies. And the American public has sent them the same, clear message they've been sending for generations: Open the spending tap as wide as possible, consequences (and rhetoric to the contrary) be damned.
What are the consequences? The simple fact is that if you're a taxpayer under the age of about 40, you're getting the worst financial deal that any generation of Americans has ever received from the government. Your taxes are high now, and they're only going to get higher. Your parents and grandparents will benefit from government-funded health care and retirement stipends, and you'll be left to fend for yourself. The high level of services the government currently provides will drop off as revenues decrease and spending rises. Fiscally, it's the equivalent of being the designated driver and still picking up the bar tab.
If the next generation of Americans wants to change this situation, there are at least three things they have to do. First, get involved in politics as a voter and, more importantly, as an activist. So long as our system is dominated by voters who drive late-model Cadillacs, get a 15 percent senior's discount at Shoney's and never miss an election, it's their interests that are going to get attention, not yours.
Second, don't let your opinions about a single divisive social issue - whether it's gun control, abortion or gay marriage - blind you to the reality that your pocket is being picked no matter what your ideology.
And finally, don't become so wedded to a party label that it obscures the fact that big spenders in Washington spend hugely regardless of party label.
We're at war which I consider somewhat of an exception to fiscal discipline.
f) We (the collective we) could actually get serious about cutting social spending.
"Why should he shut the eff up? Because he's right?"
With many posters here, the GOP can do no wrong, which is exactly what Bob is warning against - blind adulation based on party, rather than ideology.
And yes - Barr is right here.
I agree with your item f!!
That's right, Bob, you don't work in Washington anymore. You and your friends at the ACLU spend your time making it as difficult as possible for the president and Republicans to achieve anything. Nice work.
"His absence from Congress is the country's loss."
As this article illustrates.
I really don't think taxes are that high. In international and historical comparisons, taxes are rather low.
But, they will probably go up again.
FreeRepublic: Yay! Bob Barr is teh man! Barr PWNED U Clinton!
(FreeRepublic hands Bob Barr a totally 31337 award.)
Bob Barr: The Emperor has no clothes.
FreeRepublic: Unnngh! STFU, Newb!! Bob Barr is teh sUx0r!!
Spiff: <---Rolls eyes.
"a) Bush did not inherit a Clinton recession
b) Bush did not inherit the Dot-com bubble burst
c) Bush did not inherit a series of corporate scandals/bankruptcies
d) 9-11 did not crush the economy
e) We did not have to fight a multi-front war against the terror scum."
Where's the reason for Bush's insidious Medicare package increases that now allow for us taxpayers to subsidize Viagra?
"The honest objective folks among us must acknowledge the truth that "...your pocket is being picked no matter what your ideology.""
Key word there is 'objective'
The problem is...many people, including some posters on FR, don't understand we are at war.
It is easy to forget. But the US military is doing a lot around the globe that we just don't read about each day. And it costs money.
"f) We (the collective we) could actually get serious about cutting social spending."
A vote for a Republican USED to accomplish that. Alas, there are few fiscal conservatives left in this Admin.
Newt pretty much exited stage right and said talk to the hand.. Could be these two Newt and Bobby.. admitted we have a government that exactly matches the Americas people.. when if not drugged or Shiite faced are looking for that government check.. and say "show ME the money" especically if over fifty.. say sixty..
In the early ninetys these two were fire breathers.. currently they just burn "farts" for a living... and I'm not amused..
He campaigned in 2000 on getting a prescription drug bill passed (after pubbies & dems had been jawboning it for 15 years). He did what he said he'd do. I assume you voted for Algore in protest.
Yes, and where is the necessity to increase non-defense discretionary spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave?
"don't understand we are at war. "
I don't understand how the WOT (fought with increasingly lax security on our Mexican borders...but that's another story) caused the President to increase Medicare spending and force taxpayers to subsidize seniors using Viagra...How does using Viagra fight terrorism?
Yes, and that line item comes under the defense part of the budget. Now, why is the non-defense discretionary spending portion of the budget the largest that it has ever been? Hmmmm?
I don't remember him campaigning on the promise that he would expand government more than anyone since Lyndon Johnson. But that is what he's done.
"Yes, and where is the necessity to increase non-defense discretionary spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave?"
Exactly! You'll probably have to explain to the war-on-terror crowd that not all of Bush's increased spending has anything to do with the WOT. They seem to want to tie every single item of pork to fighting terrorism.
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