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Congress is in the middle of the pre-election silly season, and cutbacks or tax increases are not in the offing. Attracting votes through demagoguery, by all appearances, is the lawmakers’ complete focus now.

The post-election lame-duck session, if history is guide, will be more of the same. Not much of substance will be handled before year’s end.

But thereafter, with perhaps dozens of Tea Party activists in Congress, fiscal responsibility will again be on the agenda. If the polls are an indication of what occurs on Election Day, Tea Partiers will be able to wield real clout because of their numbers on Capitol Hill.

Their language will seem strange compared to the rhetoric of status-quo politicians, but their principles will have an impact.

Like families, the government cannot keep spending without matching income, they will say. A simple truth, no doubt, but it’s also a bit of wisdom that a democratic form of government is allowing our leaders to hear.

They should listen.

Jeffrey Birnbaum is a Washington Times columnist, a Fox News contributor and president of BGR Public Relations.