The real test of the Tea Party and the new conservative majority in Congress is how committed they are to cutting the expenses of government. It is foolish to think it can be cut by a meaningful amount without cutting the big and popular entitlement items like Medicare and Social Security. It will likely require cutting popular pork barrel spending on farm programs and other programs that have long outlived their usefulness and purpose.
Every program has a constituency that can justify their program in isolation. It is considering the programs in context of the total that requires a decision. It is the duty of our elected officials to say “no” to worthwhile programs we can no longer afford.
The cuts must be broad and should affect everybody, but inevitably some will be hurt more than others. Those that have benefitted the most from excess government largesse will probably feel the pain the most.
Congress will be tested by the onslaught of lobbyists and special interests. But lobbyists are a byproduct of excess regulations. And excess regulations favor established large enterprises over small and startup companies, because the regulations often require an extensive infrastructure that small businesses do not have.
It is not enough to just cut government expenses, though that is critical. The regulatory environment must be streamlined to allow new companies from the private sector to find profitable solutions to issues that this government thinks only they can solve.
We keep hearing that citizens want more from their government, but the question is rarely raised while the cost is included. Asking what they would want from the government without telling them what it will cost is worthless wishing.
The new Congress must face the hard reality that a lot of programs must be cut and must respect that more voters, who are now more aware of the cost, are willing to do without. The test will come when they must get clear and specific about meaningful cuts.
Until then it was all just more campaign rhetoric.