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Jim Worth Headshot

How To Make Government Smaller

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Let's get Big Brother off our backs and out of our bedrooms!

The Republican mantra of smaller government may play well in Peoria but not in places where concerned and observant people gather.

Since I can remember, Republicans have been screaming about shrinking government -- making it small enough to drown in the bathtub. It's a good talking point and seems to get their followers frothing at the mouth. But saying you want to do something does not make it so. And Republicans reducing government? Sheer fantasy!

Reality is something quite the opposite.

Republicans have dramatically grown government and added to the deficit every time they've been in office since 1974.

Though somewhat benign through the Ford and Carter administrations, the national debt began to accelerate in 1980 with President Reagan and continued to rise through President Bush's term. Yearly deficits began to decline during Clinton's eight years then exploded under the second President Bush -- Bush Jr.

The Republican myth of smaller government is nothing but a hypocritical talking point. Spending surged under all three GOP presidents.

The national debt increased by $1.7 trillion under Reagan, tripling our debt in just eight years. It climbed nearly $1.5 trillion under George H.W. Bush, and over $4.3 trillion under Bush 43. Not a good testament for smaller government. Though the deficit increased by $1.6 trillion during Clinton's term it declined from $347 billion his first year to a miniscule $18 billion in his final year.

Once again, Republicans are screaming for smaller government, this time blaming President Obama for the yearly increases in the national debt caused by their blatant deregulation and overspending: two wars, Medicare Part D, the banking crisis, the dot com bubble, huge corporate bankruptcies, an explosion in lost jobs, and a housing bubble that still hasn't begun to recover.

Though they are wholly responsible for all these things Republicans never take responsibility for anything!

The cost of these huge failures has been mostly borne by hard-working Americans.

It's not just the deficit that determines the size of government. But, where the private sector has failed government was forced to step in to prevent complete collapse.

Most everyone would like a smaller more efficient government no matter where they are on the political spectrum. But, the question is, how do we achieve that without throwing the country into chaos?

Republicans believe we can accomplish small government with austerity; cutting programs and agencies that aid the poor, disabled, children, single moms, students, and the elderly -- those they feel are a drain on the economy!

They pound relentlessly on 'entitlement' programs; Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, despite using the income from Social Security as a piggy bank for other programs. Congress owes the Social Security Fund 2.6 trillion dollars. It's like spending your grocery money on a 52" flat-screen television and then complaining that there isn't enough money to eat.

Pushing austerity is not the answer, evidenced by the declining economies in Europe; a Europe that has officially slid back into recession and is destined to fall further.

There is pain in austerity. Republicans continually espouse shared sacrifice -- never asking their rich benefactors to share any of the burden.

So how do we make government smaller and more efficient?

The answer is obvious. Eliminate the useless and intransigent politicians who know nothing about good policy or how to rebalance this country, and even less about the Constitution.

Start with the worst -- Minnesota Representative, Michele Bachmann, then eliminate other Representatives and Senators that subscribe to destructive and unyielding ideologies, including: Representatives Steve King (Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Allen West (Florida), and Joe Wilson (South Carolina), and Senators like the disruptive and intransigent Mitch McConnell (Kentucky), Jeff Sessions (Alabama), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and don't replace retiring Senator, John Kyl, leaving Arizona with one inept Senator. Those are just a few who should be culled from the decision making process.

Olympia Snowe, moderate Senator from Maine, is calling it quits after 34 years in the House and Senate due, in part, to the very intransigence of her party. The loss of her reasonable and intelligent voice is cause for introspection.

Unlike Senator Snowe, many from her party in both houses of Congress have forgotten or never understood their role as a representative of 'the people.'

That is why some of the deadwood should be eliminated reducing the House to around 320 members and the Senate to around 78 members. And, let's require them to take a test on the Constitution, government, world geography, and political science, before they are allowed to do 'the people's' work. That should disqualify many of them, especially freshmen like Roy Blunt, Joe Walsh, Tim Griffin, and Nan Hayworth.

Of course the Constitution does not allow for that, despite a demeaning 10 percent approval rating.

We're paying a very steep price for red states electing narrowly focused, myopic Republicans into office. The damage they've done over the past three decades is immeasurable.

It's time we cleansed government and it begins with you.

This country -- the world -- cannot afford to go back to the dark ages of Republican failures.