- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says, “We’ve been on a binge of debt in government, in business and in consumer markets. So we need to get a fiscal handle on all three sectors” (Inside the Beltway, Wednesday). Does he expect me to believe Congress has suddenly “found Jesus” when it comes to spending habits? Nice try, but I’m not buying it!

In 1981, Mr. Hoyer’s first year on the House floor, Congress spent $678 billion, or $1.55 trillion in 2007 dollars. Last year they spent $2.73 trillion, or an annual, inflation adjusted expenditure growth of almost $44 billion per year. The total federal outlay per capita in 1981 was $2,956, or $6,743 in 2007 dollars. Last year it was $9,073. That’s a $2,330-plus rise in spending for every man, woman and child in this country.

In the 27 years Mr. Hoyer has been in Congress, federal spending has gone in one direction - up! I wouldn’t call 27 years a binge. I’d call it a bad spending habit. The last time Congress spent less than the preceding year was 1965, when they shaved $300 million off 1964 expenditures. Ironically, that was the same year the Great Society began.

Congress needs more than a handle on spending. It needs a total change, a change we can live with, a change we can afford.

PATRICK MCGINN

California, Md.

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