Politics or Public Service?

By John Lumbard . 

“In a June Washington Post/ABC News Survey, only 29% of Americans said that they were inclined to support their House representative in November . . . . .

The American people are looking for candidates and parties that champion fiscal discipline, limited government, deficit reduction and a free market, pro-growth agenda.”      —  Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell, pollsters for Presidents Clinton and Carter, respectively, writing in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

In this election year, candidates will be well served if they demonstrate their commitment to fiscal discipline by making concrete promises.  It’s not enough to say that you’re against earmarks;  pledge to eliminate earmarks by prohibiting the practice of adding irrelevant amendments to spending bills.  Don’t offer us a mushy promise that you’ll work for balanced budgets;  tell us that you will support lasting and durable solutions including a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a 20%-of-GDP cap on spending, and a line-item veto. 

The system is broken.  It’s not enough to talk vaguely about balancing the budget in 2013, and it’s hard to take seriously a candidate whose idea of fiscal discipline extends no farther than his opposition to all tax increases.   We’ve had plenty of time to watch that sort of politician in action, trying to win yet another re-election with the help of special interest groups that want more spending and bigger tax breaks.  In 2010 the voters need to look deeper, and do a better job at picking principled leaders who are working to help the country rather than help themselves.

If you know of a candidate who is making concrete promises along the lines of our Pledge of Fiscal Responsibility—including such ideas as a prohibition on earmarks or a sunset provision for all new legislation—please let us know.  You can leave a comment on this page or on the “contact us” form provided, or contact me at (800) Lumbard.    http://www.lumbard.com  


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