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Republicans have ‘solemn duty’ to scale back government Print E-mail
by William Murchison    Tue, Nov 16, 2010, 09:59 am

The trouble with political campaigns –as Barack Obama learned to his sorrow – is that they always end. The time comes to govern. Governing means movement and action. It means, perforce, offending. All are specialties at which the cautious sort of politician balks, lest an angry electorate holds him accountable next election.

Well, that’s how it goes – you know? In politics you volunteer to get kicked no matter what you do. Better it should be for the right reasons, not the wrong ones,

 The solemn duty of Republicans in state government– if they have a brain cell working – is to do as best they can, and as intelligently and constructively, the things they were elected to do, and let the devil take the hindmost. Such a prescription will sound stiff for those whose political purpose is politics itself. It can’t be helped. Voters not just here but pretty much everywhere are in a foul mood: indisposed to let their representatives off the hook for reasons of strategy or, worse, pusillanimity. What’s the point of politicians who won’t do what they promised to do? Who needs such riff-raff?

Texas voters pretty clearly have expectations for the Republicans who campaigned for better education, fiscal responsibility, and non-expansive government. “Non-expansive,” Bubba – that means they don’t want no more government than they have right now, and maybe a bit less wouldn’t hurt.

As with any legislative session, there are big-ticket and smaller-ticket items. The former are the concerns to keep uppermost in mind, starting with cutting spending and abolishing programs in order to balance the budget, as constitutionally required. Why anyone actually wants the job of closing a deficit projected at 20-odd billions over two fiscal years is a very good question. Nor is there yet a roadmap, though that will soon come into being.

The unhappy choice is to make particular people mad by cutting spending or make others mad by not cutting spending. But that’s a liberating factor. It means if there’s to be pain, the sensible course is to make it count for something by getting rid of marginal or wasteful commitments; by finding better ways of doing things.

The alternative – raising taxes – doesn’t come into it: not with a Legislature indisposed to sock it to business and wage-earners, depressing, incidentally, the prospects for economic recovery. If anything at all is done about taxation, the measure most in need of attention is property tax reform that lightens the burdens of ownership while serving further notice – to public schools, especially – that the property tax system isn’t to be confused with an ATM machine.

And no gambling, thanks – a temptation for some Republicans. States shouldn’t corrupt the citizenry.

Some attention to illegal immigration is necessary, not just to keep government programs in line with the needs of actual citizens but to reassure those citizens that the orderly ways and means so necessary to life enjoy political backing, and so won’t be transcended. Willful flouting of the norms of residency in a place – starting with obedience to law – cannot in a decent society be allowed. One doesn’t know whether there are actually any “sanctuary cities” around – where illegal activity draws only winks. If there are such places, they need rebuking. Fast. As for requiring identification in order to vote – what’s the common sense principle that says, no?

Here, one would suppose, are the “big ticket” items for the next session. Those, and schools: more charters, better enforcement of academic standard, that sort of thing. The Texas Association of Business, which appraises well the damage that an under-educated, under-qualified work force can inflict on any state has a program of moderate reform that should commend itself for close and careful study (

Spending, immigration, and schools – enough topics, wouldn’t you say, to keep lawmakers busy. There’s always room for measures that protect unborn life, but other issues deserve just to lie on the floor – among them, the licensing of college students to pack heat on campus, on the infinitesimal chance of their encountering a mad gunman.

It all comes down to a single consideration. A political figure intent on doing as little as possible, in order to last as long as possible – it’s the wrong year, the wrong place, the wrong electorate.

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Comments (2)add comment
written by Buckmaster , November 16, 2010

I noticed the headline and that was all I really needed to see to reply to anybody carrying water for the business lobby suggesting in the same breath solemn duty when it all comes down to unrighteous greed. Nobody blames folks who try to make a buck but, when they suggest guys who
ran Wall Strt with names like "Blankfein" and "Madoff" who stole from the middle class is "God's work" well it just makes me wanna puke all over the newspapers that smart folks no longer buy, read or believe. When they say cut goverment, what they really mean is cut police from sending em to jail where the likes of Tom Delay is going and where Alberto the pet monkey should be.

written by rufuslevin , December 15, 2010

not happening yet!!

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