The President Finally asked the Question

At yesterday’s press conference, President Barack Obama finally said something I have been waiting for any politician or leader to ask. One of the shared beliefs between the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement is that they want a smaller government. While that sounds nice, he finally asked, “What will you cut?”

It’s one thing to say “I want lower taxes and smaller government” but no candidate today has really come out to tell us what they intend to do. On the local level, two of Fairfield’s three state representative districts have Republican challengers whose rhetoric comes straight from the GOP playbook. They have both decried the budget deficits in Hartford but are calling for smaller government and lower taxes without once enumerating what they would do to solve either problem.

As it is the Tea Party is a cause in search of a structure so some members of the party have advocated eliminated the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Energy and Education. The Tea Party, at least some chapters, strongly belief in state’s rights and want management of these areas returned to the state level.

One question I think should be asked of every candidate who says they want smaller government is exactly how small? One reason the federal government has grown so large (and yes bloated in spots, cumbersome in others) is because state shave proven ineffective at managing.

After all, one example I can use is the Race to the Top. The White House dangled millions in education aid, but only if states raised the bar on educational standards and demanded better accountability from the faculty. Our country’s children will benefit as a result, but the states didn’t decide to do this for themselves.

Would the Republicans and Tea Party advocates really want the government to stop testing drugs before they go to market or inspecting farms before produce is sold to consumers? Should manufacturers and financial institutions really have to conform to as many as 50 different state standards of conduct? What would that wind up costing us?

On the subject of taxes and the deficit, I have yet to hear our state rep candidates or federal politicians actually present plans to deal with the deficit (and the looming time bomb of social security).

How on earth can a voter properly decided between candidates if all they hear is lower taxes? Sure it sounds good, but dig deeper. Ask the questions they hope you won’t because then they have to commit themselves. Here in Connecticut, Senatorial candidate Linda McMahon (of the WWE empire), has told the press she didn’t want to get into specific programs during a campaign so we have no idea how to judge her positions against her opponent, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

Wherever you live, please, ask the questions and don’t let them sidestep you. Get them to commit so they can be judged, and if elected, held accountable.

4 comments

  • Matt

    Social Security is not a “looming time bomb” — even under the most pessimistic scenarios, it is projected to be in the black for decades to come, and modest fixes (such as eliminating the cap on taxed income) will fully fund the program indefinitely. Conveniently — or inconveniently, depending on your perspective — the projected long-term shortfall as a share of GDP is identical to the value of the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year.

  • Peter David

    What’s a little frightening is that some of the Tea Party types have already listed a few things that they want to cut: Obamacare. Medicare. Social Security. They want to shut down the EPA and, if I recall correctly, the department of education. Pretty much any Democratic initiative going all the way back to FDR that benefits the commonwealth.

    PAD

  • My belief is in the need to find principled candidates. A lot of people in government on both the Democrat and Republican sides of the aisle are too beholden to special interests and the lure of money and power to care about what is good for the country and what their constituents want. If laws like Obamacare are voted on without a full grasp of what exactly is in the legislation, there’s a problem. While there needs to be reform, it shouldn’t come at the expense of saying yes to something that we don’t know the full extent of just because the people pushing it are the ones in power.

    You’re right about finding out what each candidate is about when it comes to the issues. One example is Scott Brown of Massachusetts. A lot of conservatives bought into the idea of him being a conservative that would take over the Ted Kennedy Senate seat and be on the side of the Right. Instead he’s voted with the Democrats on a number of bills that conservatives were against. Sometimes when we choose candidates, we choose between the lesser of two evils, but this is why we have elections. When the next election comes around, we can vote their ass out if they don’t do a good job.

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