Monday, July 19, 2010

Size Matters

Over at National Review Online, Kevin Williamson offers a useful reminder for when we cast our votes this fall. He warns that when it comes to spending, or rather, over-spending, the GOP has no better record than the Democrats.

Fair enough. Heck, I'd go even farther and say that to blindly trust any politician on any issue is foolhardy. That's not cynicism, by the way, it's realism. But it's not the same as saying that, between the parties, there is really no difference.

First of all, there are a host of other issues to consider besides fiscal responsibility. On many, on most, of those other issues, the parties clearly divide and those divisions are important. But even if we limit our comparison to their records on taxing and spending, there is still a very important distinction to be made.

Unfunded spending, or debt, is troublesome to say the the least. To lack the political will to properly fund government spending is irresponsible and politicians who refuse to demonstrate that will should be held accountable by the voters.

But there remains still a very important, an essential distinction between the parties. To shortchange the funding of a relatively small government, one properly understood to be limited in scope and reach, is one thing. But to underfund a huge government, one that in principle knows no limits, is another altogether. It is possible, even if admittedly often ineffective, to remind, to scold, to shame a Republican politician that the government for which he is authorizing spending, if not funding, is out of bounds. But it is in principle impossible to make the same argument to a Democrat.

Now that is something to remember this fall.

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