OpEd: rediscovered fiscal probity when Obama wanted stimulus
The first steps by the government to deal with the financial crisis had been promising and necessary. In 2009, within six weeks of taking office and in the midst of a deepening recession, President Obama and the new Democratic Congress assembled a
package of measures intended to boost the economy. The emergency measures culminated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which cost $831 billion, divided between new spending and tax cuts aimed at the middle class. This was a necessary
investment in our economy, and even though not all of the money was well spent it was a classic case of ramping up investment at a time of national need.
But all of this immediately became a lightning rod in a renewed debate about the nation's
economic priorities, as Republicans rediscovered a commitment to financial prosperity now that there was no longer a Republican in the White House. To some, the emergency measures served as a symbol of out-of-control government spending.
When appropriations bills are not enacted, Congress resorts to a stop-gap measure, called a continuing resolution. It also allows the executive branch to act with great latitude. Only if Congress passes individual spending bills covering discrete
functions of the executive branch can the people truly regain control of their government.
Proposal: Pass all annual appropriations bills.
Mandatory spending, which does not require annual congressional action, has grown over time to constitute
2/3 of the $3 trillion annual federal budget. Congress must return to passing annual appropriations bills. Passing individual bills is far superior to using a catch-all omnibus. Oftentimes, resorting to an omnibus disenfranchises rank-and-file Members
that have not had an opportunity to offer amendments to or vote for or against individual appropriations bills. When Congress puts together an omnibus bill, on the other hand, the administration has much more leverage over the negotiations.
A sound monetary policy is critical for maintaining a strong economy. Inflation diminishes the purchasing power of the dollar at home and abroad and is a hidden tax on the American people.
Moreover, the inflation tax is regressive, punishes those who save, transfers wealth from Main Street to Wall Street, and has grave implications for seniors living on fixed incomes.
Source: 2012 Republican Party Platform
, Aug 27, 2012
Audit the Federal Reserve; bring more transparency
Because the Federal Reserve's monetary policy actions affect both inflation and economic activity, those actions should be transparent. Moreover, the Fed's important role as a lender of last resort should also be carried out in a more transparent manner.
A free society demands that the sun shine on all elements of government. Therefore, the Republican Party will work to advance substantive legislation that brings transparency and accountability to the Federal Reserve, the Federal Open Market
Committee, and the Fed's dealings with foreign central banks. The first step to increasing transparency and accountability is through an annual audit of the Federal Reserve's activities. Such an audit would need to be carefully implemented so that the
Federal Reserve remains insulated from political pressures and so its decisions are based on sound economic principles and sound money rather than on political pressures for easy money and loose credit.
Balanced Budget Amendment & super-majority for tax increase
Republicans have repeatedly tried to reform the budget process, in particular by voting for a Balanced Budget Amendment, following the lead of 33 States which have put that restraint into their own constitutions. We call for a Constitutional amendment
requiring a super-majority for any tax increase, with exceptions for national emergencies, and imposing a cap limiting spending to the historical average percentage of GDP so that future Congresses cannot balance the budget by raising taxes.
Source: 2012 Republican Party Platform
, Aug 27, 2012
Shrink the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a primary cause of the housing crisis because their implicit government guarantee allowed them to avoid market discipline and make risky investments. Their favored political status enriched their politically-connected
executives and their shareholders at the expense of the nation. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be wound down in size and scope, and their officials should be held to account.
The Federal Housing
Administration (FHA), tripled in size to more than $1 trillion under the current Administration, has crowded out the private sector and is at risk of requiring a taxpayer bailout.
It must be downsized and limited to helping first-time homebuyers and low- and moderate- income borrowers. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to bail out borrowers and lenders by funding principal write-downs.
OpEd: If spending is a problem, identify & eliminate waste
Everyone in Washington wants to do the right thing--govern in a fiscally responsible manner that helps Americans fulfill their aspirations--but their behavior, sadly, tells a different story. Republicans almost uniformly say the problem is spending, but
only very few members participate in the actual work of identifying and eliminating wasteful and low-priority spending. Most Republicans prefer to spend money and try to get reelected. Cutting spending, therefore, is a nominal value, not a real value.
Democrats have the same problem. Democrats aspire to values like economic justice, equality, and protecting entitlement programs; but their behavior says something else. Instead of fixing the programs upon which the poor depend, many Democrats support
policies that will bankrupt those very programs. With Democrats, economic justice is often a nominal value, not a real value
At the end of the day, our $15 trillion national debt is a monument to Washington's real values--self-preservation & careerism.
The Republicans, driven by the new members of the Tea Party, wanted to cut $61 billion from the budget, while the Democrats were willing to cut only about 1/6 of that amount. Both Democrats and Republicans have strayed so far from the path of
responsible financial policy that the concept of balancing the budget is foreign to them. I believe many of them simply cannot grasp the concept of only spending what you have. I do understand that making budgetary cuts will be painful,
but it will not be nearly as painful as going bankrupt!
Knowing how Washington works, I can already predict that our Democratic president and the rest of the Democratic Party will claim that the Republicans want to cut programs that benefit children,
the elderly, and the infirm and that they want to stifle medical research and programs that will create economic growth. The Republicans will claim that the Democrats are addicted to spending and couldn't stop if their lives depended on it.
End executive overreach; impose limits on spending.
Party signed ending executive overreach; impose limits on spending
Put a stop to executive overreach. Subject agencies to more scrutiny from a Congress that writes clear laws and enforces clear lines of authority, a judiciary that expedites legal action against the executive branch, watchdogs that have more tools to root out fraud and abuse, and a public that knows what it has a right to know.
Rein in the regulators. Rewrite old laws so that regulations better reflect the will--and the input--of the people. Let's make the bureaucrats jump through more hoops--and spend less money--for a change.
Impose new limits on spending. Give Congress and the people the most say--and the final word--over who is spending their money, what it's being spent on, where it's being spent, when it's being spent, and why it's being spent.
Increase transparency for taxpayers. Make the government catch up with the times by publishing more data about how it does the people's business. Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.
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