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A government limited to what?
The Union Leader ^ | 9/04/04 | Jack Kenny

Posted on 09/04/2002 11:06:40 AM PDT by RJCogburn

“LIMITED GOVERNMENT.” We hear that conservative mantra a lot, especially at election time. Shake a tree in southern New Hampshire this campaign season and chances are at least one Republican candidate for Congress will fall out, proclaiming “limited government” three times before touching the ground.

Its counterpart is never heard. No one campaigns, at least not openly, for unlimited, or absolutist, government. No, it’s always “limited government.” Limited government today, limited government tomorrow, limited government forever!

Somehow we never seem to wonder why, after years of electing candidates sworn to “limited government,” the government keeps growing in size and cost. The federal government is bigger and, at $2 trillion-plus and rising, a good deal costlier now than it was just seven years ago, when Republicans took control of Congress in the “Republican Revolution.” It’s bigger and costlier than it was six years ago when that poster child for decadent liberalism, William J. Clinton, announced to the nation: “The era of big government is over.” Big government must have missed the news.

No one seems to notice that this “limited government” gag is as transparent as the emperor’s new clothes. We prefer not to notice, really. It’s a lot easier to just go on believing in “limited government” and voting for those who say they do, too. The amazing thing is, we never even ask what ought to be the most obvious question: Limited to what?

Perhaps there was a time when Americans could assume, if they thought about it at all, that “limited government” meant a federal government that would do only those things it is authorized to do by powers granted in our federal Constitution. But “limited government” has been taken off the Constitution standard, just as the dollar was long ago taken off the gold standard. Limits on federal power have, like the value of the currency, been allowed to “float.” And they’re still floating.

Consider, for example, the two members of Congress now competing in New Hampshire for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, Sen. Bob Smith and Rep. John Sununu. Each comes to the voters with impressive conservative credentials. Both get high ratings from all the right organizations. They get Friend of the Taxpayer Awards and ratings above 90 percent from organizations like the American Conservative Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. They’re both “A” students, which suggests the currency isn’t the only thing that’s been inflated.

In their televised debate last week, Smith and Sununu sparred over a “prescription drug benefit” as an expansion of Medicare. Neither spoke of the need to rein in the bureaucracy and streamline the approval process at the Food and Drug Administration, so the drugs might be less costly to produce. (Time is money, after all.) Each defended his vote in favor of the Bush-Kennedy-Gregg “education reform,” the No Child Left Behind Act, that allegedly increases local control in 1,184 pages of federal legislation. The scary part is that people who live and work in Washington can actually believe such nonsense.

In our Constitution of delegated powers, there is not one that remotely gives Congress any authority at all over the education of schoolchildren. So the only “education reform” conservatives should be championing, and the one way to truly increase local control, is the abolition of all federal education programs. But why do that when you can pass nearly 1,200 pages of federal rules and regulations to make local schools “more accountable”?

Smith charged that Sununu, having once pledged to support the abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, “voted with the Democrats” to fund the agency. There are, alas, more than a few Republicans who have voted for that funding, as Smith well knows. And Smith lists among his accomplishments the securing of $500,000 of federal money for the renovation of the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Whether that money came from the NEA or some other agency, the principle is the same. Between them, these two men apparently see the subsidizing of artistic productions and the renovation of a local theater as federal concerns. And these are two of the most conservative members of the U.S. Congress.

Today, with a $2 trillion budget (in deficit by a $165 billion or so), being “conservative” means you never have to say, “We’re out of money.” A representative or senator could say, if so inclined, that there is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes Congress to spend money on artistic productions or theater renovations. But even the most conservative members of Congress are more likely to be struck by lightning than by a thought of the Constitution. Perhaps it’s just as well.

The lightning might do some good.


TOPICS: Government
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1 posted on 09/04/2002 11:06:41 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn
I always vote for the liar: he promises more! ;^)
2 posted on 09/04/2002 11:19:57 AM PDT by Abcdefg
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To: RJCogburn
"If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way in which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for through this, in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. " Washington's Farewell Address 9-19-1796

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." Daniel Webster

Good thing they don't teach history anymore
3 posted on 09/04/2002 11:37:46 AM PDT by steve50
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To: RJCogburn
Exceptionally good editorial.

4 posted on 09/04/2002 11:39:57 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: RJCogburn
The scary part is that people who live and work in Washington can actually believe such nonsense.
      No, the scary part is that the electorate seems to actually believe such nonsense.
5 posted on 09/05/2002 12:28:54 AM PDT by Celtman
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To: Askel5; RLK; nunya bidness; Donald Stone; OKCSubmariner
Who stated the following:

"Government ought to have a policy that helps people with a downpayment."

A. - OR - B.

Answer

You are not hallucinating, he really wants to have the government provide downpayments.


What Has Bush Done For Conservatives Lately?

How Conservative Is President Bush?

Regulatory Spending Escalation

Darkness By Design


Bush has been increasing real federal domestic expenditures by 8.7 percent per year, a faster rate of growth than under any previous president since John F. Kennedy.(2) Since 1989 Bush has also run up bigger deficits, both in dollars and as a percentage of GDP, than any other post-World War II president. If massive growth of government and multi-billion-dollar deficits were the solution to America's eco-nomic problems, the nation would be basking in unprecedented prosperity, and Bush would be widely acclaimed as an economic miracle worker.

Despite the fact that the Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives, and 30 governorships, the nation is now in the midst of the biggest government spending spree since LBJ. Incredibly, the domestic social welfare budget has expanded more in just two years ($96 billion) under George W. Bush than in Bill Clinton's first six years in office ($51 billion).


What is Free Republic's Mission?


The Humor Section:

The War On Pork - "Who will join President Bush in his fight for fiscal sanity?

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

The election is coming


There's No Place Like Home,

There's No Place Like Home
There's No Place Like Home

6 posted on 09/05/2002 2:02:25 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5
House Opens the Way for Fourth Straight Raise in Pay
"The only lawmaker to speak against the raise was Rep. James Matheson, D-Utah. "We can't afford it, last year's government surpluses are long gone, we are swimming in red ink, we are fighting a war. We shouldn't be asking the taxpayers to pay us more,"
7 posted on 09/05/2002 3:01:07 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5
180 Degrees of Separation
8 posted on 09/05/2002 3:09:23 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: RJCogburn
This is exactly why I think the tax cut "issue" is so stupid.

If the sheeple demand spending increases of 8%/year (and if Congress is stupid enough to do an Rx benefit, it'll be a lot more than 8%), then taxes have to go up-fast.

Anyone who campaigns for "tax cuts" because you "deserve it", while also campaigning for more and bigger government programs is both a fool and a liar.

In other words, the main unifying and vote-getting issue of the GOP, which brought it out of the wilderness, elected Ronald Reagan, captured the Congress in 1994-is over.

9 posted on 09/05/2002 3:23:20 AM PDT by Jim Noble
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To: RJCogburn
Excellent article, Thanks for the post.
10 posted on 09/05/2002 3:39:03 AM PDT by WhiteGuy
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To: Jim Noble
Jim, my friend, I do hope you have donned your flame-proof jammies. You doth speaketh blasphemy, and will probably be smitten by the wrath of the vengeful 'Bots for your sins...
11 posted on 09/05/2002 3:42:47 AM PDT by Lord_Baltar
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To: Lord_Baltar
Yes, I've heard from them before on this matter...

But seriously, if the GOP is going to grow the Federal government faster than Clinton, why should we care who wins the majority? Here in NH, all the candidates for governor run ads which have 2 halves-first, how much they will cut taxes, second, how many new programs they will "give".

I mean, c'mon, there must be some limit to mass stupidity, mustn't there?

12 posted on 09/05/2002 3:50:03 AM PDT by Jim Noble
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To: Jim Noble
>>>I mean, c'mon, there must be some limit to mass stupidity, mustn't there? <<<

No.

13 posted on 09/05/2002 3:54:55 AM PDT by OwenKellogg
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To: Lord_Baltar; Jim Noble
LIMITED GOVERNMENT


President George W. Bush - Biography

SOURCE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html

"George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. Formerly the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, President Bush has earned a reputation as a compassionate conservative who shapes policy based on the principles of limited government,..."


DON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN

14 posted on 09/05/2002 3:59:28 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
After 4 years of X41, I wasn't fooled to begin with...
15 posted on 09/05/2002 4:01:05 AM PDT by Lord_Baltar
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To: Lord_Baltar
Thank goodness. You must read lips. 8-)

"Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes,"
George W. Bush - SOURCE.

16 posted on 09/05/2002 4:05:37 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
Well Uncle Bill, it wouldn't be prudent for me to comment on that. As you know, I was, and have been out of the loop on such things.

But let me assure you, that will not stand....


BTW, just as an asside, did you see they are bringing back Family Affair, with Tim Curry playing Mr. French.
17 posted on 09/05/2002 4:10:32 AM PDT by Lord_Baltar
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To: OwenKellogg
More Limited Government

18 posted on 09/05/2002 4:16:15 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; RLK
Bush asks for new aid for Israel, Palestinians - $250 Million - "These amendments continue my commitment to provide necessary resources to enhance...the people of the West Bank and Gaza, and to fight the growing pandemic of HIV/AIDS among developing countries..."

More "Limited Government" by Bush.

19 posted on 09/05/2002 11:57:02 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; RLK
BUSH - License To Spend - The Washington Times

George W. Bush - "The tax-and-spend candidate,"

Bush Wants 11.5% Increase in Education Spending

Now, Look Americans, I Told You I Was A Socialist "Before" I Was President, Don't Look So Shocked

Bush Says Gore Spending Would Cost Families $20,000 and well Bush's Spending Spree Costs Americans $20,000 Per Household

Bush's budget said increases would be made to boost spending on stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS globally and improving primary education in Africa

Yes, He Really Said This - "The problem is, some of the folks in Washington are used to spending orgies,'' Bush told a crowd packed shoulder to shoulder in steamy aircraft hanger. ``Those days are over. We're going to bring some fiscal sanity to the budget."

President Bush will veto any annual spending bill that costs more than he wants, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday


Slouching Toward Servitude - by Robert L. Kocher

20 posted on 09/05/2002 1:00:17 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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