May 20, 2010

SHOCKED AND APPALLED

By Idaho Senator Mike Crapo

The most common question I am asked by Idahoans, over the past eighteen months, is something like, "What can we do to fight back against the massive growth and indebtedness of the federal government?" This is commonly followed up with something like, "What can we do about the unresponsiveness and seeming indifference to our concerns?" These questions and concerns are completely justified.

The federal government has spent taxpayer money with abandon and grown to an unprecedented size, and in the past year and a half it has grown with unprecedented speed. In response to this massive growth and growing indebtedness, a large majority of Americans have become increasingly alarmed. The federal government has often shown only indifference to these legitimate concerns, which, in turn, raises even more concern and alarm. My conservative colleagues and I are simultaneously alarmed at the spending and offended by the indifference shown to the American people by the congressional majority and the Obama Administration.

On top of all the spending, bailouts and the so-called stimulus bill, and despite opposition from a majority of the American populace, Congress and the President forced through a massive health care bill with questionable backroom deals and false claims of bipartisanship. This new law moves us far down the road toward government control over the health care economy, with over a trillion dollars in new spending, hundreds of billions in new taxes and hundreds of billions in cuts to Medicare. Americans are right to be concerned with the federal government's continued irresponsibility. Massive government spending and indebtedness leads down a road to where the country of Greece recently arrived. We don't want to travel down that road.

That is why I have opposed every one of the bailouts, stimulus packages, and bloated spending proposals of the past two years---including both the Bush and the Obama bailouts and so-called stimulus bills, the Cash for Clunkers program, the AIG takeover, and the Chrysler, GM, and bank bailouts. I also supported the proposal (which the U.S. Senate inexplicably rejected!) to end the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been the biggest cause of taxpayer losses in this financial crisis.

Conservative newspaper columnist Tony Blankley recently wrote that the American public is currently split among three groups. He estimates that about one-third agree with the current direction of the federal government, about 40 to 50 percent are "shocked and appalled" at the current direction, and about 15 to 30 percent are concerned, but not too worried. Count me as one of those who are shocked and appalled with the current direction of the federal government.

For the past year and a half, my answer to the question of what to do about the massive growth of government has been to (1) contact your elected representatives and tell them how you feel, (2) contact everyone in your circle of influence---your family and friends, your Christmas card list, your email contacts, your Facebook friends, etc.---and encourage them to contact their elected representatives and (3) vote. It may not seem that your efforts are working, but if we keep it up, it could have a great effect now and in November.

This Congress must get the message! And hopefully the next Congress will have a stronger will to be fiscally responsible. Nevertheless, I will continue to work to change the direction of our government, make it more responsive to the people, stop the massive spending, reverse the growth of the federal government and the national debt and return this great nation to the limited government philosophy of the Constitution.

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