Friday, January 29, 2010

Drunken Sailors, Republicans, and College Kids in Vegas

Joe Scarborough. Rome Wasn’t Burnt in a Day: The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America. New York: Harper Paperbook, 2005.

The author warns that the growing Federal debt is creating long term threats to the national economy. He warns conservatives in Congress to stop protecting their own spending projects which only contribute towards the growing debt. There has been an increase in the use of rhetoric in Congress. The result is an increase in bitterness between opposing political parties in Congress resulting in only a few attempting to find solutions.

The Federal budget balanced in 1998 due to a number of factors, according to Scarborough. The 1993 tax increase brought in more revenues, the 1995 decreased spending reduced outflows, and the IRS aggressively collected trillion of more money. Thus, fraudulent business owners, especially in Internet and telecommunications businesses, paid their due taxes which helped balance the budget.

The Gingrich Revolution, the author states, ended when the Republican majority in Congress compromised and accepted President Clinton’s policies. Many Republican members of Congress fought for their budgetary pork spending programs. Instead of reforming Congress, Republicans began using political power to advance themselves rather than their reform agenda. Voters thus didn’t see much difference between the two political parties.

Scarborough is upset at how political and the media works. He recalls how he gave a reporter a story. After the reporter died, a political enemy spread a rumor the reporter got the story from a gay affair. Scarborough called to correct the rumor.

A problem that members of Congress face is their need for large amounts of funds for their reelection campaigns. It takes party leaders to raise the large amounts. The leaders then give these funds in return for loyalty to the leaders’ causes.

Scarborough argues that members of Congress and Congressional staffers should be banned from lobbying Congress for five years after leaving Congress. He also proposes that campaign contributions should be immediately disclosed.

Scarborough calls for pay as you go spending and for balanced budgets. He would place ½ of 1% of tax revenues aside for emergencies.


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