In an age where common sense is in scarce supply, especially among the political class in Washington, DC, it is more than refreshing to see what Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and the Republican-led House of Delegates have accomplished in the Old Dominion.
McDonnell inherited a huge budget shortfall caused by the irresponsible spending of his predecessor, Governor Tim Kaine, and his Democrat cohorts in the state legislature. Just two years ago the Commonwealth’s budget hole was $4.2 billion. That’s the mess that Governor McDonnell and his Republican team inherited.
Immediately upon the election of Bob McDonnell, The Washington Post (which, of course, supported a Tim Kaine clone, Creigh Deeds) intoned in a lead editorial that McDonnell would have to break his pledge of no new taxes. It was, in the Post’s view, the only possible solution to the budget shortfall problem. Big business leaders joined the Post in calling for new taxes. That’s a lot of pressure on a new Governor and there’s no doubt about it, raising taxes would have been the easy way out. But McDonnell and the conservative leadership in the state legislature did not take the easy way out. They put the citizens of Virginia first, not the government first.
Last week the Commonwealth of Virginia closed fiscal 2010 with a budget surplus of nearly $400 million. This is an amazing turnaround and a huge triumph for commonsense government. Some may point out that it was the state legislature that really led the way and that user fees were imposed in several areas. Even the Journal noted that it took a bit of creative accounting to balance the books. Nevertheless, McDonnell led the way. He inherited a nearly bankrupt state, but with the assistance and prodding of conservative leaders in the state legislature, put the brakes on spending, and thus put the financial house of Virginia in order.
As a citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I greatly appreciate such commonsense leadership. It’s the kind of leadership that is desperately needed in Washington, DC. Only a fool would believe that he can spend his way into prosperity.
Stimulus spending is an intellectual fantasy of the left. Where does the money that the government spends come from? It comes from hard working Americans, that’s who. Commonsense tells us that you can’t help Americans by spending their hard earned dollars on folly and foolishness. You can’t help them by bailing out irresponsible leadership in states like California. You can’t help them by bailing out state employee unions or by expanding government.
Out of control spending by Franklin Roosevelt exacerbated a Depression that was coming to an end in 1932. Out of control spending by Barack Obama can turn a mild recession into a replay of the Great Depression.
Ronald Reagan proved once and for all that the only way out of a recession (and he inherited a beaut from Jimmy Carter) is to put more money back into the hands of the people. It is only when you reduce the tax burden for all Americans, reduce the size of government, and cut government spending that you can expand prosperity.
There’s an important lesson in this. It’s a simple lesson. Liberal Democrats like Tim Kaine and Barack Obama are spendthrifts who always raise taxes and expand government. Conservative Republicans like Bob McDonnell and Ronald Reagan cut taxes and contract government. The liberal path always leads to less freedom and economic misery. The conservative path always leads to more freedom and greater prosperity for all.
Which path will America take in November?