Monday, January 23, 2006

On DeWine's Record of Spending

There was a Warren County Central Committee meeting in Lebanon last week that had nearly 100 in attendance. I had an opportunity to speak and the response was very, very favorable. Along with the introduction, I spoke of my positions regarding small business, education, and the national debt.

I told the group that I was troubled by recent campaign literature in which Senator DeWine stakes his bid for re-nomination on the monies he has brought to the State as it perpetuates the belief that our government has an endless supply of financial resources to be distributed among the populace. The premise is simply not true. It took six years for the national debt to grow from $5 to $6 trillion, two years to increase from $6 to $7 trillion, and only one year to surpass the threshold of $8 trillion.

A candidate running against an incumbent usually does not direct the voters to visit the opponent’s official government website, but I encouraged them to visit the “Press Release” section of Senator DeWine’s website because it shows more than 410 entries in the last 50 weeks which flaunt the grants flowing into our State from federal coffers. I ask that you do the same, and as you look through the listing, ask yourself if it represents the responsibilities our founding fathers envisioned of a central government. I think you will agree it does not.

I do agree with the Senator that the average of 8 new grants per week represents a very impressive number, but I ask that you consider who is paying this extravagant bill. Mike DeWine has not, and neither have any current taxpayers. The fact is that it has been “charged” to your account, your children’s account, and your children’s children’s account. For the foreseeable future, Americans will be making interest only payments while leaving the principal amount for some future generation to pay. At the meeting the other evening, I saw a lot on nodding heads in agreement - I think people are fed up with pork.

Today, interest payments on the national debt total more than $26 billion per month, and represent the third largest expenditure in the federal budget – soon to be number two. China owns $448 billion of this debt and its benefit in our economy is growing at an annual rate of more than 15% per year. That means American taxpayers are making interest only payments to the Communist government to the tune of $2.5 to $3 billion per month – and it is growing. Furthermore, future generations will continue to face this debt until Congress can control its spending habits, pass a balanced budget, and use surplus revenues to pay down the debt rather than continue the practice of buying votes at the expense of our national security.

The legacy we are leaving for future generations is a legacy of extravagance. It will be necessary, and possible, to explain to future generations that the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security required great financial resources. On the other hand, it will be quite difficult to explain to them that the debt burden they carry was created to build two “bridges to nowhere” in Alaska, to assist families in the purchase of digital converter boxes for better TV reception, to keep the price of milk constant, and the myriad of other items which fall under the category of wasteful spending. Congressional spending far removed from the Constitutional requirement of “common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”

The culture of extravagant spending must cease; and simple, every day business practices of balancing expenses to revenues must become the norm. Businesses and our own personal family budgets require it and government should be no different. But it is not going to happen until “we the people …” demand it to happen, and that is only going to be accomplished when Americans let their voices be heard at the voting booth.

On the Wednesday before Christmas, the US Senate passed, after Vice-President Cheney’s tie-breaking vote, a $39.7 billion dollar budget reduction bill which must be viewed as a very small, albeit a very necessary, down payment in fiscal responsibility. The actual bill included a $30 billion in reduced spending and nearly $10 billion dollar in new revenues. Had it been a single year’s reduction it would have been far more noteworthy, but the budget reductions are spread over a five year period.

As impressive as that number may seem, it is insignificant when compared to the overall national federal budget of $2.5 trillion or $2,500 billion dollars. Suddenly $6 billion out of $2,500 billion is not quite such an accomplishment. In personal terms, which are always easier to wrap our minds around, the numbers become truly unimpressive. For a family with a $50,000 annual income, a budget reduction of $120 per year is an equivalent accomplishment. That is $10 per month – not much more than a movie ticket for one patron.

Senator Mike DeWine was one of five Republican Senators to vote against the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. His stated reasoning was “[t]his bill was, unfortunately, very detrimental to poor children with regard to health care.” He went on to cite cuts in funding for child support enforcement, foster care, and Medicaid health insurance for the poor.

In reality, the $30 billion reduction out of a projected $14.3 trillion (or $14,300 billion) in federal spending over the next five years amounts to less than one-half of one percent. And, it is only a one-half of one percent reduction in the current 5.4% rate of growth – not a cut from current spending levels.

It is for that reason I ask that you support my candidacy to the U.S. Senate. I would welcome the opportunity to join a threesome of new maverick Senators – Coburn (OK), DeMint (SC), and Ensign (NV) – all of whom are entrepreneurs and small business owners, and have push back against the “old guard” with the belief that our Nation’s business must be conducted differently for a prosperous and secure future. They have stopped “pork” from being added to Katrina relief funds, changed Senate rules to highlight “pork” buried in legislation, and have challenged the Senate leadership to end the culture of extravagant spending. My added voice and efforts would certainly energize the much needed change.

William G. Pierce


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