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“We must push to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington”

By Fred Tausch, New Hampshire Union Leader

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

LIKE MOST Americans, I’ve always believed hard work, self-reliance and integrity are all you need to succeed in America. We don’t believe government owes us a living, just the opportunity to succeed or fail by our own initiative, hard work and talent.
We want a government that shares our convictions; that does its work, not ours, and does it competently; that manages its budget as responsibly as we manage our own budgets; a government that doesn’t play favorites or use our money to reward the failures of others; a government that earns our trust by trusting us and leveling with us about the cost and performance of its programs.

All we ever seem to get, though, is a government that increases its own prerogatives and power rather than the liberties and opportunities of the people it serves; a government with little accountability and less transparency; a government that tries to do things it was not intended to do and has no idea how to do. And many of the things it must do, it does not do well.

The Republican Party is the party of fiscal discipline, the party that trusted Americans to make their own decisions about how to use their money to build their dreams.  But, when Republican leaders lost their way, they lost me. I voted for George Bush in 2000 because I believed he would be a careful steward of our prosperity. Instead, he and Republicans in Congress turned a budget surplus into a huge deficit. They cut taxes but didn’t make the spending cuts necessary for the government to live within its means. They spent record sums on a bailout of the financial industry that I knew from the outset would be an expensive failure, without giving us any clear idea what the money could be used for and how it would be paid back.

Barack Obama promised to change that, and I hoped he would. He promised to put government on a budget that didn’t exceed its revenues, to be as careful with our money as we are and to take the best ideas from both parties and offer new solutions to the challenges of our time. But as soon as the applause at his inauguration subsided, he began to break his promises.

In only a few months, he proposed more spending as a percentage of GDP than any President in modern history. He spent $800 billion to stimulate the economy, much of it on pork barrel projects, and some of which won’t be spent until after the economy recovers. He sent Congress a $3.5 trillion dollar budget, a third of it borrowed from Chinese bankers and other financiers of our skyrocketing debt. He signed a $400 billion appropriations bill that’s a perfect example of the irresponsible Washington spending that has angered Americans for years. He put government bureaucrats in the banking business, the insurance business and now the automobile business.

He decided the federal government should protect business executives from the consequences of their own mistakes and greed, no matter how high the cost to the rest of us. He promises to spend $1 trillion or more on a risky scheme to change the way health care is provided. He searches constantly for new ways to tax us and still falls far short of paying for the immense growth in government he envisions.  

And how does he intend to keep his promise to be a fiscal conservative? He instructed his Cabinet to cut less than one-tenth of one percent from a $3.5 trillion budget and told members of Congress they’ll have to figure out some way to pay for all his massive new spending.

President Obama ran on a message of change, but his policies represent the oldest Washington conceit of all – trusting the wisdom and competence of the government more than the common sense and initiative of the American people.  

I’m more than disappointed. I intend to fight it. I registered as a Republican and committed myself to helping return the party to its ideals of low taxes and fiscal discipline.  I started Steward of Prosperity to identify, motivate and mobilize other fiscal conservatives, Republicans, responsible Democrats and independents disappointed by the Obama administration’s spending excesses. Our goal is to make government heed the common sense of the American people, serve our interests, share our values and keep this country the same land of opportunity for our children that it was for us. I hope other disappointed Obama voters and concerned taxpayers across the New Hampshire will join us. 

File: Fred_Op-Ed.pdf

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