In February, Congress passed, and President Obama signed a bill known as PAYGO legislation. The intent of this bill was to end deficit spending, by ensuring that every new piece of legislation approved by Congress must have a source of revenue to pay for it.
The president announced that now, our federal government would have to spend money responsibly, just as American families are forced to do, by living within their means. Sounds great, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, it was just more hot air from a federal government on an out-of-control spending spree with our money.
Just days after PAYGO was signed into law, a Kentucky member of the U.S. Senate decided to put it to the test. Senator Jim Bunning singlehandedly held up a bill extending funding for federal unemployment benefits and transportation programs on the basis that there was no money to pay for these extensions.
In other words, passage of this bill would further enlarge a federal budget deficit which already exceeds $10 trillion, and which is certain to bankrupt our children and their children in years to come.
Liberals screamed bloody murder! They accused Bunning of everything from planning the starvation of American children to throwing granny out onto the streets to live over a steam grate. That, in itself, was nothing out of the ordinary. This kind of hyperbole has become commonplace in "the world's greatest deliberative body."
What was really appalling, though, and sickened many Americans, was the way Bunning's Republican "allies" headed for the tall grass when the going got tough. When the chips were down, Bunning was thrown under the bus by his fellow Republicans.
Why would Republicans turn their backs on a colleague when he needed them most? Because they could not withstand their portrayal as heartless by a media, which, for the most part, believes in unlimited entitlements for all Americans.
Delve a little deeper, and you can see that being re-elected is the crucial goal of most legislators, who see their government sinecures as a comfortable lifetime career. If there was ever a convincing argument for term limiting legislative careers, this is it.
The system is broken. Those legislators who will stand up for the American taxpayer at the risk of their seats in congress are in the distinct minority. Good citizens enter public service and are seduced by the glamour and perks of the jobs they hold. They lose sight of the fact that they work for us, and not the other way 'round.
We must hold them to a higher standard, and if term limits are found to be unconstitutional, then we will term limit them with our votes. No more lifetime careers in our congress!
Edmund W. Bender
Berks County Patriots
Special to The TIMES NEWS