Why Republicans Tend Not to be Good at the Budget

Disclaimer: I am hardly a political expert, and never will be. For all I know, I could be completely wrong here. I don’t vote, and not only because I don’t have the ability to as a non-citizen. I am just commenting on a few observations I made just now. You can debate me, but chances are I will reply with poor rebuttals.

Random thought of the day. Right now, there’s a giant squall line capable of producing 80 mph winds in NW Missouri. Northern MO is in a notorious radar hole – basically an area where no radar was ever funded, making the meteorologists’ job to issue appropriate warnings that much harder. If severe damage occurs tonight and no warning is issued, constituents will be pissed off at the Weather Service, who in turn might be able to counter that “well, we didn’t have the radar to scan the lower elevations of the atmosphere, so we couldn’t see how bad the threat would be.”

Such a thing did happen earlier this month, in Springfield, MA. Western portions of the city didn’t receive a single minute of warning, because the nearest radar site (near Boston) was relatively far away and there were some issues resolving the data. Forecasters couldn’t pull up data from the next closest radar site because the Weather Service there apparently have bandwidth issues when dealing with data from more than one site.

Springfield was lucky. The tornado intensified more to the east. Three people were killed by the tornado, two within the Springfield region.

[[ Meanwhile, residents in rural NW Washington state just received a new weather radar, ahead of schedule, courtesy of earmarks. ]]

This brings up a point though. Residents of Springfield might just ask for a new radar now that a tragedy has occurred in part due to the lack of one. Same with residents of northern MO, if something bad happens tonight without warning. They might get their Congressman or Senator to do something about it. They might not, but that’s not the point. The point is that if something does not exist in an area, but which exists elsewhere, constituents will always tend to want that which does not exist. Stuff like weather radars, but that’s a very trivial example used for illustration. There’s a lot more out there that people could want. And it usually involves adding something which did not exist before. That requires money. Subtracting stuff only happens when there’s a budget deficit.

Republicans, are of course, anti-spending. They don’t like adding stuff. But here’s the catch. If your constituents really really want a new weather radar, what do you do if you’re a Republican? If you don’t do anything, your chances of getting reelected go down. People are never reelected for doing nothing when there’s a want out there. If there isn’t a looming budget crisis out there, chances are, you’ll do it. But…but… wait… what about anti-spending? Whoops.

This is why Republicans have a difficult time of balancing the budget. The nature of democracy requires that representatives do what constituents want. The ideal of the Republican entails lower taxes and smaller government. But if your representatives want stuff that costs $$$, you have no choice but to do it, because you want reelection. On the other hand, you’ll also lower taxes, because people like that too and you’re a Republican. Okay, maybe you spend a little less by cutting some unnecessary programs and spending, but it’s not going to be much because of the reelection problem. The reduction in revenue will be much more drastic, and over time, you will accrue a deficit. In my opinion, overall, democracy itself tends towards a higher-spending, bigger government over time, though the powers are spread out between branches, bureaucracies, etc. Denying that may be shooting yourself in the foot with budget problems later.


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