With many Republicans having decided that the cesspool of Washington is actually a hot tub, it would be nice if Democrats seized the high ground and became the party of limited government. So it was very encouraging to see a column in the Wall Street Journal by Evan Bayh, a Democratic from Indiana. Senator Bayh makes a strong case for fiscal restraint:
America is on an unsustainable fiscal path that threatens our future. Changing course is imperative, and Democrats should lead the way. Last month the Office of Management and Budget predicted that the national debt will increase by $9 trillion over the next decade—$2 trillion more than forecast just four months earlier. Government net interest payments exceed $1 trillion in 2019, up from $382 billion this year. …Congress’s initial reaction to our fiscal peril has not been encouraging. The $410 billion omnibus spending bill passed in March increased domestic discretionary spending by 8% and included more than 8,000 earmarks. This year’s budget contemplates domestic discretionary increases of nearly 9%, three times the rate of inflation. If the past is any guide, it will include thousands of new earmarks. Any serious effort to control the deficit must begin with spending restraint. Efficiency and frugality, common virtues in the private sector, must be incorporated into government. …For the next fiscal year, assuming the economy has gathered sufficient momentum, we should freeze domestic discretionary spending, limit increases in defense spending to the rate of inflation, forgo pay raises for federal workers, and institute a federal hiring freeze.
Sounds great, right? The only problem is that Senator Bayh (like many of his Republican colleagues) is a fiscal fraud. When it doesn’t matter, he beats his chest about fiscal responsibility. But when he is on the Senate floor, he votes for big government. According to the National Taxpayers Union, he voted to protect taxpayers only 15 percent of the time last year, earning an “F” for his profligacy (and his highest grade since getting elected is a “D”). I realize that there is a problem with grade inflation in America, but there is no way that a politician who votes for big government more than 80 pecent of the time should be allowed to get away with blatantly false rhetoric about fiscal responsibility.