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Letter to the editor
Its up to us to stop U.S. spending
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Forsyth County News
“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, 1821

Tax-and-spend is habitual in Washington, just like congressional representation.

Most current congressmen were congressmen when George W. Bush was president. Many called Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Reagan and Carter “Mr. President.” A few survived the Nixon years. Two hailed Kennedy chief.

Entrenched politicians spend our money carelessly. Since October 2008, Congress has passed major legislation adding $1.937 trillion in costs to the federal budget — without increasing revenue or cutting existing programs.

Here’s the rundown. Last fall, under President Bush, Congress appropriated $700 billion of our earnings to rescue badly managed businesses. This winter, under President Obama, it confiscated $40 billion to expand S-CHIP and approved a $410 billion omnibus spending package with over 8,000 pork-project earmarks.

It also rushed a $787 billion stimulus act through both houses so fast that no one had time to read it — hardly exemplary behavior for the world’s greatest deliberative body. Stimulus funds were supposed to ignite consumer spending, but great chunks of money are designated to inflate budgets in numerous federal agencies.

To pay for these programs, Congress borrowed money from foreign rivals like China and Japan. But ultimately, the bill for these trillions, plus billions more in interest, comes to us and several generations of future taxpayers.

Congress has two more major items on its agenda for this year: climate change legislation, an energy tax that would devastate our national productivity and living standards; and health care reform, a trillion-dollar-plus proposal that congressional members admit they haven’t read and don’t understand.

Despite presidential turnover, irresponsible spending remains customary in Washington. It’s up to taxpayers to “prune” spendthrifts from Congress and replace them with citizens who understand that resources are limited. It’s our responsibility to study all primary election candidates, especially incumbents, and choose people who balance political idealism with reality and fiscal constraint.

In 2010, let’s elect honorable, capable contenders who pledge to “prune” federal government back to the limited form our Founding Fathers intended.

Heather Kolich