WASHINGTON – Democrats desperately want Americans to believe that their party is the real guardian of the nation's purse strings.
Almost daily, these congressional spendthrifts are giving overblown, sanctimonious speeches claiming that the administration's deficits are wildly ballooning a national debt that will take generations to pay back.
They sound sensibly frugal and righteously worried about all the red ink – but it is, of course, utterly phony and patently hypocritical. They are, as Winston Churchill once described a hated adversary, "sheep in sheep's clothing."
These critics of President Bush's fiscal policies never seem to complain about a spending bill being too fat or too profligate. They offer no memorable cost-cutting amendments to eliminate the pork-barrel projects they quietly slip into the big-money bills. They rarely, if ever, vote "no" on any appropriations bills. (They privately reacted with horror and are bemoaning House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's latest directive to cut 1 percent out of all upcoming spending bills.)
What Democrats are offering are fallacies about how Bush's tax cuts feed the deficit. If we repealed the cuts, they argue, the government could keep that tax revenue right here in Washington where it belongs and bring those deficits down lickety-split. But after they finish their deficit-denouncing speeches, they typically begin calling for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending.
Since Bush took office in 2001, Senate Democrats have proposed 29 amendments to budget bills that called for spending a total of $1.92 trillion, according to congressional budget officials and a vote-by-vote tally by the Congressional Quarterly.
Like-minded Democratic spenders don't seem the least bit interested in controlling the deficit. What they want to control is more of the money earned by hard-working Americans.
When Bush was running for president in 2000, he repeatedly reminded voters of three fundamental truths about government spending, contrary to the lines Democrats are toeing:
1. The money we earn is ours, not the government's.
2. People spend their own money much more prudently than the government will.
3. The only way to control the government's colossal appetite to tax and spend is to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn to spend as they choose.
In the past three years alone, Senate Democrats, who say they want to reduce the deficit, have tried to add nearly $2 trillion to the budget bills – more than all of Bush's tax cuts combined. Imagine how much more they would spend if the tax cuts were repealed.
The good news is that the Democrats' attempted spending binge in this year's budget battle builds the strongest possible case for accelerating and expanding the president's tax cuts. The more money we leave in the paychecks of the people who earned it, the less chance the spenders and bureaucrats will have to squander it.
Copyright 2003, United Feature Syndicate, Inc.