It’s time to foreclose on big government

Hon. Ernest Istook Former Republican Congressman
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The biggest foreclosure yet may begin on November 2nd, as voters start foreclosure proceedings against big government.  It’s run up more debt than we can afford to pay.

The paperwork has been validated.  It’s found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, duly approved and signed by our Founding Fathers.

Previous proceedings went awry.  President Bill Clinton’s 1996 pronouncement that “The era of big government is over” proved to be empty words, as demonstrated by the subsequent free spending of Congress and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

So what’s different about today?  The Tea Party movement, for one thing.  It’s here to stay, as noted in an approving op-ed by Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, and documented in the new best-seller by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen.

No foreclosure is painless.  Millions of Americans are suffering the grief and indignity of losing their home.  Millions more will suffer from the stupendous new debt heaped on their families by runaway spending.  Add the extra tax burdens scheduled for January 1st and the job-crushing mountain of more federal regulations.  These are raising costs of consumer transactions, energy, and more.  And don’t leave out the heavy expenses of Obamacare.

A foreclosure of big government will bring pain, but it won’t be evenly felt.  It won’t please those who champion giant bureaucracies that they then milk for billions.  One prime example is massive subsidies for ethanol, wind and solar; only subsidies keep them afloat because they create low-yield, high-cost energy.  But fewer subsidized jobs means major growth in self-sustaining jobs in affordable energy like nuclear and clean natural gas.  A burst of work is also available if we open up more areas to responsible drilling.

Public employees who milked the system for high pay and higher benefits will be unhappy to see their numbers diminish when government is reined-in.  But who can defend average federal compensation of $123,000 per employee?  The private sector provides more productivity at half the average cost per worker.

The best boost waiting in the wings is almost $2 trillion of genuine economic stimulus — private funds now held back in cash reserves by companies that need only a business-friendly environment.  That ready cash is primed to go as soon as expansion and new hiring become affordable rather than stymied by high taxes and regulations.  Unlike government projects, these private sector funds need not be delayed and siphoned off by a tangled maze of bureaucracy.

An economic surge is awaiting America if elections force Washington to change its ways.  The signs are good.  Obama’s campaign tactic of blaming businesses for his unpopularity is backfiring.  So is his team’s endless bashing of the Tea Party movement.  Obama’s rhetoric is energizing his political foes more than his political friends.

Election Day is but a first step to foreclose on big government.  Citizens must constantly watch and speak up.  The next step is to require that Congress changes its internal system.  After we change the people who make the decisions, we next must change the way Congress works.  Only then can we expect Congress to produce better results — and less government.

It’s time to foreclose on big government.

This article first appeared at www.foundry.org.

Ernest Istook was a U.S. Congressman for 14 years and is now a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.