What Fiscal Responsibility Looks Like

Politico is reporting that Senator Rand Paul(R-KY) has returned one-half million dollars to the treasury unspent.  This was roughly 16% of the allocated operating budget for his Senate offices, and it represents an unusual act in terms of ordinary government practice.  In most government operations, every last dime is spent, right down to the penny, in order to justify a demand for even more in the budgeting process for subsequent years.  The freshman Senator from Kentucky, and son of Texas Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul said the following at a news conference in Louisville, presenting a symbolic check to the tax-payers:

“I ran to stop the reckless spending. And I ran to end the damaging process of elected officials acting as errand boys, competing to see who could bring back the biggest check and the most amount of pork.”

He continued:

“I hope this sets an example for the rest of government – at all levels,” he added. “We can carry out our duties in a fiscally responsible way. Government can be both smart and efficient. We are proving that – and trying to convince the rest of Washington.”

That’s fantastic. If we could only get the rest of Congress to match this, we could save something in the range of a quarter-billion dollars.  Of course, I won’t be holding my breath and neither should you.  There is talk of Paul possibly seeking the presidency in 2016, but that’s been speculation.  In any event, it is nice to see at least one Senator is living up to his promises to cut federal spending, and while the amount is trivial in the context of a $1.5 trillion federal deficit, it’s also true that it’s another half million that our children won’t be forced to repay someday.  Of course, this is a symbolic act in terms of the news conference, but I think it’s a positive development that for a change, a member of the Senate took the notion of making cuts even when it hits their own operations budget.

This stands in stark contrast to a FoxNews report that Barack Obama has requested an additional $1.2 Trillion in money we don’t have.

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