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Column: Democrats should restrain government spending

Marcus Bowen

Feb. 16, 2009

Earlier this week, Congress devoted most of its deliberations to the stimulus package, and in my opinion, never before has Congress taken so few days to spend so much money and accomplish so little.

President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package passed the Democratic-controlled Congress earlier this week. On Sunday, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill was "better than nothing." Democrats across the Sunday talk shows said the bill was necessary to guarantee financial solvency in state budgets.

Earlier this week, The Kansas City Star reported Gov. Jay Nixon would need nearly $1 billion to prevent a crisis in the state's budget. Because a large part of the state's general revenue comes from sales tax, it is understandable the state might come up a little short when the economy is in recession. During this recession, tax revenue just isn't rolling in like it was a few years ago. With less income and an equal amount of expenses, the budget crisis appears to be just another happening of bad economic times.

Things are not always as they seem. Even though Nixon's office has publicized there is a discrepancy between income and expenses, it hasn't told us exactly why. As the Kansas City Star reported, "Nixon is banking on $809 million in federal funds to balance Missouri's 2010 budget and expand health care for the poor." Pay particular attention to the part where it says "expand health care." The discrepancy between income and expenses stems from the governor's desire to offer socialized medicine to the poor. The Missouri budget crisis is not a factor of a failing economy but of a failing ideology.

I am proud to be a Missourian. We are taxed at some of the lowest levels in the nation. All tax increases are subject to statewide popular vote. We have freely chosen to keep more of our own money and make more of our own purchasing decisions. Some among us can afford to drive very nice vehicles and live in lavish homes. As for me, I can't afford those luxuries. I have to budget more wisely and only buy what I need. Just as I don't think I have the right to the best house or the best car, I also don't have the right to the best hospital. I have the right to have what I can afford.

Our government should offer us helping hands, not handouts. Former Gov. Matt Blunt recognized thousands of Missourians continued to reap Medicaid benefits after their eligibility had ended. Blunt identified unqualified recipients, and he was right when he released thousands of Missourians from state-controlled medical care. Ensuring only truly qualified and needy Missourians received Medicaid benefits was one of the former governor's greatest accomplishments. His work was a true testament to government accountability and fiscal responsibility. By expanding state-controlled medical care, Nixon is jeopardizing the long-term the financial stability of our state and destroying Missouri's record of small, accountable and responsible government.

Earlier this week, political pundit Dick Morris said the stimulus bill "represented the culmination of 40 years of liberal ideology." From the billions of dollars for green energy to the millions for condoms and contraception, every draft of this bill has put ideology first and economy second. Democrats have taken Obama's election as a blank check for big government and big spending. Democrats in Jefferson City and Washington need to start practicing a little more restraint.

Marcus Bowen is a former vice president of the MU College Republicans and currently serves with the Jackson County Republican Party. He can be reached at mbowen@themaneater.com.

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