- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rep. Darrell E. Issa is on to something as are D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown and several of his colleagues.

The latter would force lawmakers to replace savings that were severely depleted by the previous administration.

When Adrian M. Fenty took office in January 2007, the District had $1.6 billion in reserves, council member Jack Evans pointed out for the umpteenth time Wednesday, but the money is gone.

Mr. Brown wants to use half of the money in new revenue projects to restore reserves for a rainy day.

Meanwhile, a proposal by Mr. Issa, California Republican, calls for D.C. officials to develop an annual budget sans federal funds.

Together, the Brown and Issa proposals, if adopted, could go a long way toward exposing the true costs of running the city.

As things now stand, education, health and human services chew up most D.C. budgets but produce lousy outcomes for youths, families and struggling adults.

At the same time, effective public safety and public works are usually afterthoughts, although these are the very services that visitors and commuters from near and far are paying taxes to preserve.

The nation’s capital and its elected leaders shouldn’t be allowed to forsake one group of taxpayers for the other … though they are trying.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and most D.C. lawmakers want to raise taxes on retirees, athletes who play in Washington and individuals who make more than $200,000 a year to appease safety-net preservationists.

D.C. spending is more than likely way out of sync with actual costs, much of it because of ineffective social policies, collective bargaining agreements and the sundry breaks for organizations that thrive mightily on government giveaways without accountability.

Here’s what Mr. Issa said at an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill: “We want the District to spend its own money and to spend it wisely.”

The Issa proposal would force city hall, Congress and the White House to take off the blinders and answer a question not considered since Newt Gingrich ran the House and Bill Clinton occupied the White House: How much does it cost to efficiently and effectively run the District of Columbia?

Keep Memorial Day honorable

On Monday at high noon, Americans everywhere - even pacifists - should take a moment to remember that were it not for our armed service members here and abroad, the America we relish today would look far different.

Our ancestral blood was shed on our behalf.

Respect that, honor the fallen and thank God almighty that he continues to bless America.

In response

A Manassas reader of The Washington Times sent me this email in response to my May 23 column on a new abortion-rights initiative.

“The War on Drugs was a failed LIBERAL policy? Where have you been, under a rock for 30 years? The War on Drugs was coined by Ronald Regan [sic], and has been championed by every … Republican since he was in office.”

Sorry, Dear Reader, but I’ll get the rock out of your way.

1) President Richard M. Nixon coined the phrase “War on Drugs” in the early 1970s as part of his national strategy to combat the production, distribution and use of illegal drugs.

2) Every president - Democrats and Republicans - has piled on ever since.

3) Provide solid empirical evidence that the war has been successful and your next latte or ginseng tea is on me.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com

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