Federal Spending: A View from the States

GETTING FEDERAL SPENDING under control is essential to the survival of the Republic. Congress can best control spending by enacting legislation that requires the specific enumerated Constitutional power to be listed in every spending bill and eliminates all earmarking of funds and instead requires a bill with a direct appropriation. In addition, Congress should give the President line-item veto power. —Bob Williams, Evergreen Freedom Foundation (Washington)


GETTING GOVERNMENT SPENDING UNDER CONTROL at every level—this is a key philosophical issue. Every elected official either represents the taxpayer to the government or he represents the government to the taxpayer. If he represents the taxpayer, he votes to control spending and taxes and keeps government lean and focused. If he takes the government side, he favors more spending, more taxes, and more government. There are no compromises possible. He has to decide. Our job is to help him decide and keep him on the straight and narrow. —Richard Rowland, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii


WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO VIEW tax and spending policies as separate issues. Our level of taxation is a reflection of our spending, and spending is a reflection of the rate of taxation. We must bind both hands of government: the one that takes money from our wallet, and the one that spends it. We ignore one or the other at our fiscal peril. —Brooke Rollins, Texas Public Policy Foundation


ROLLING BACK RUNAWAY GOVERNMENT spending is more than an economic necessity. It is a moral imperative with sweeping implications for the future of American society. Government at all levels, as a percentage of what we produce, consumes four to five times what it did at the turn of the last century.

We must put the perpetual spenders on the intellectual defensive, not by arguing with them about the amounts they want to spend on every new program they cook up, but by demanding they deal with the big picture and answer some compelling questions: Why is government, at four or five times the proportion of our lives it was a century ago, not yet big enough? How much more do they want? Sixty percent? Ninety percent? Do they want it all? At what point might they concede that something actually belongs to those who earned it in the first place and that the individual’s ability to plan for his family diminishes with each additional dollar taxed away? —Lawrence Reed, Mackinac Center for Public Policy (Michigan)


THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS should immediately freeze federal government program spending and establish a Grace-type commission to review and uncover waste and mismanagement while identifying and setting ranked priorities and program spending limits. The Congress should pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment making it unconstitutional for the federal government to spend more than it takes in using the prior fiscal years actual revenues. —Richard Olivastro, Citizens for Change! (Connecticut)