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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Libertarian Outlook

Monday
November 22, 2004

In the 1980s, when the Democrats controlled Congress and Republican President Ronald Reagan was in the White House, the complaints heard from many self-titled conservatives were that the Democrats wanted out of control spending. And, for the most part, those complaints were accurate. Defecit spending was pushed by many old-school style, tax-and-spend (and spend more) Democrats. For those who didn't believe in a government knows best system, and who wanted our country to exercise the same fiscal responsibility that its citizens have to hold in their own lives, this was seen as a major problem.

Fast-forward now to the modern day political world. This past week, President Bush signed into law a bill that raised the limit on the U.S. national debt by $800 billion (yes, billion with a B). That provides a ceiling of $8.18 trillion (T) of national debt that we could incur.

What in the world is going on here? What happened to "cut spending first" and balanced budgets? Is this what happens when one party has control of Congress and the White House for too long?

I suppose that crazy spending would be enough, but the erosion of personal liberties seems to be relished by both parties. The bi-partisian support of the misnamed "Patriot Act" is proof positive of that (and also that, when motivated by the opportunity to take advantage of a stunned American public, the typically slow-moving government can move at warp speed to make things happen.

Now keep in mind that from my point of view, I grew up as a Republican; I was a member of the "Young Republicans" in high school, and I had been a registered Republican from 1995 until earlier this year. That's when I switched my affiliation to Libertarian.

Politics is kind of like religion in that neither one is appropriate for "polite conversation" (unless you're damned sure that everyone is of a like mindset, and even then it's risky; there's a reason that many barkeeps from back in the day would have a "no politics, no religion" conversation policy). But the sad reality is that you have what seems like an oligarchy forming at the top of the two-party system, and now in many ways you have the two parties blending together in many ways to where you can hardly tell one side from the other.

Think I'm wrong? Look at what happened just this weekend: there was an attempt to slip a provision into a spending bill that would have allowed two Appropriations Committee Chairmen to view the tax returns of any American. Guess who put that in there? Representative Ernest Istook... a Republican from Oklahoma.

And I haven't even broached what is the issue that I find more repulsive among many Republicans: the "holy roller" factor. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas (who is, you guessed it, a Republican) in particular is the perfect case-in-point of this country's puritanical roots showing. Brownback is a Catholic with five kids, which he isn't shy about talking about ad nauseum. He tried his hardest to get the FCC per fine limit raised before the 2004 election (even going so low as to attempt attaching it to a defense spending bill, which is a complete insult to our troops).

If you agree with me that an out-of-control spending spree by your government is not best for you or the country, that a religious state goes against the very core of what America stands for (as the land of the free), I strongly urge you to give strong consideration to the Libertarian Party and what it offers you. LP.org has the answers...


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