Polls and commentators keep reminding us that Watergate has caused the American people to lose faith in their government leaders. But this dark cloud has one bright silver lining. The public’s loss of faith in government officials has been accompanied by a loss of faith in the liberal dogma that government can solve all our problems by spending more money. This is one of the most promising developments to come out of Washington.
Starting with the Franklin Roosevelt Administration, the big government spenders have urged us to “soak the rich” with high taxes to finance all sorts of cradle-to-the-grave welfare and education projects. The key to political power and popularity was Harry Hopkins’ famous slogan, “Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect.” We were solemnly assured that Federal deficits were good because “we owe it to ourselves.”
After 40 years of such nonsense, the American people are finally realizing that government money doesn’t come out of somebody else’s pocket—it comes out of their own pockets. The working man and woman, the thrifty middle Americans, are hit the hardest by the twin blows of high taxes, and the sky-rocketing inflation caused by deficit spending.
The average American now spends two hours and 38 minutes out of each eight-hour working day to pay his Federal, state and local taxes.
The current budget presented by the Nixon Administration calls for $304 billion in Federal spending, and a deficit of at least $9 billion. Most experts believe the deficit will go much higher. This means that the Nixon Administration will have added more than $120 billion to the national debt in five years of office.
The American Conservative Union recently compiled statements from 35 members of Congress calling for a reduction in the Federal budget. These statements show that the spendthrift policies of the Nixon Administration are badly alienating conservatives of both political parties. Barry Goldwater was quoted as saying: “I believe it is a political mistake with the greatest kind of overtones for the welfare of my country.”
But it isn’t only conservatives who are disenchanted by this galloping fiscal insolvency. Congressman Ed Young recently showed that 90 percent of the voters are demanding a halt to these costly Government runaway welfare programs. He sent his constituents a questionnaire asking: How much personal inconvenience are you willing to bear in order to balance the Federal budget? Only 10 percent said “none”; 76 percent said “some,” if equally shared; and 14 percent even said “a great deal.”
The politicians are way behind the public in facing the fiscal facts of life. The politicians who want to get elected this year should promise a spending cut rather than more handouts.