NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 1, 2006

Splitting up the swag ("booty, money, valuables") seems to be what the congressional Republican Party is about these days, but this is a habit it needs to break, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Thanks to a Republican Congress, government expenditures have reached $23,760 per household, domestic discretionary spending has increased 7.6 percent per year, education spending is up 139 percent, energy spending has doubled and the Bush Medicare prescription drug bill will add $33 billion a year to federal expenditures, says du Pont.

So how can Republicans retake the reins on federal spending? The answer lies with the American people, says du Pont:

  • The president must be persuaded to reduce congressional spending and use his rescission authority to force Congress to vote on rescinding some $15 billion.
  • He needs to veto spending bills that exceed the requested budget spending levels, and he also needs line-item veto authority.
  • Finally, Congress needs to establish term limits for Appropriations Committee members so that the congressional political establishment cannot go on swag-splitting forever.

Now comes the hard part, says du Pont -- a long-term solution to control the congressional spending process. Republicans have tried and failed to launch a constitutional balanced budget amendment; however, there are two alternatives that could change congressional spending habits:

  • A flat tax would eliminate political manipulation, raise government revenues and save taxpayers much of the $150 billion and six million hours it costs Americans to comply with the current tax code.
  • Congress should also repeal the McCain-Feingold campaign spending law that supposedly protects incumbents but actually violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.

Even though none of these changes will be easy, a paradigm shift is needed to control spending excesses and restore the economic conservatism that has long been the core of the Republican Party's election victories, says du Pont.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Dog the Swag,", April 26, 2006.

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