Friday, April 02, 2004

What Happened to Conservatism? 

Today, the National Review Online has an editorial. It begins:
Representative Zach Wamp apparently has a short memory. He was elected to Congress in 1994, and has already forgotten why he came to Washington.He was elected to Congress in 1994, and has already forgotten why he came to Washington.

Back then Wamp ran as a conservative, with some silly populist ideas like paying members of Congress the same as a lieutenant colonel and making them live in officer housing, according to The Almanac of American Politics. Now, Wamp has grown in office and instead advocates silly establishment ideas, like instituting new "paygo" rules that would make it almost impossible to extend the Bush tax cuts.
Perhaps it is the NRO that has lost its ideological way since 1994 and the Contract With America which, among other things, promised (a vote on) a balanced budge amendment: in other words, a Constitutional Amendment preventing Congress from running a deficit. With certain exceptions, Congress would have been Constitutionally prevented from ever passing a tax cut or spending increase that would leave the budget out of balance.

The outrageous PayGo rule is a far less radical step - one that would require a Congress already running a budget deficit to simply avoid adding to it with any spending increases or tax cuts. (See the definition in C-Span's helpful glossary: "The PAYGO or pay-as-you-go rule compels new spending or tax changes to not add to the federal deficit. New proposals must either be "budget neutral" or offset with savings derived from existing funds.")

Again I ask: who has betrayed everything the Contract With America stood for?
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