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A Failure to Execute in Washington D.C.

Thursday August 10th, 2017   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:15am PDT   •  

Earlier this week, MyGovCost celebrated the termination of a wasteful spending program that would save $10 million a year.

That success however must be measured against Washington D.C.’s projected $4,100,000 million ($4.1 trillion) spending, where a $10 million reduction is not any more than the barest amount of nibbling around the edges.

Part of the problem is that when politicians get to Washington D.C. after getting elected, they prove incapable of following through on their campaign promises to rein in wasteful spending. It’s not that the idea is wrong, instead it’s a failure to execute on delivering the promise of the idea.

In the words of popular author Sue Grafton: “Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.” And we sure do have an awful lot of goats on Capitol Hill these days.

Writing at Reason, Veronique de Rugy explains what that means in 2017 after years of promises to put the U.S. government onto a fiscally sound path.

An amazing thing happened, though, when Barack Obama was elected and the Democrats regained control of Congress. Republicans suddenly remembered the horrors of federal overspending, mounting debt and the endless intrusion by the federal government into every aspect of our lives. Republicans lambasted the notion that Keynesian-style big-government spending would boost the economy. They decried Obamacare and the Democrats’ love for “socialized medicine.” They bemoaned continuous growth in federal debt and conveniently laid the problem at Obama’s feet.

Then another amazing thing happened: Donald Trump was elected, and the GOP was once again in charge. Almost immediately, Republicans began touting increased military and infrastructure spending to create jobs and spur the economy—the very Keynesian-inspired policies they attacked when advocated by Democrats. Even the small number of federal program terminations proposed by the Trump administration were too much for congressional Republicans. Nope—when it comes to the federal budget and yet another looming brush-up against the federal debt ceiling, Republicans reveal that they’re content to maintain an untenable status quo, despite all the lip service paid to the dangers of big government over the years.

It is not terribly surprising that today’s members of Congress aren’t proving capable of delivering on their major campaign promises to restrain government spending. It’s a sad thing that the best constraint that we’ve seen to achieve that result to date is a government where control of the various branches are divided between political factions. About the best news we have is that gridlock has survived, which may limit the damage.

But we still have the age old problem of what to do about all the goats.

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August 2017