Thursday, February 28, 2013
finding the deficit hawks
Its a tricky thing being a deficit hawk... it means being willing to tighten the belt, cut funding to programs that people like, but are unwilling to pay for. From a thousand feet, most seem to agree that it is important for our nation to live within it's means, but when it gets down to voting for which programs get the ax, it means lost votes and lost elections. Its hard to lead in that frame of existence. So I went out today to try and figure who on the right and the left have shown the fortitude to actually put their reputations on the line.
A list like that is actually surprisingly hard to come by. Some meaningless interest group lists claiming to represent fiscal responsibility don't take seriously the issue of the federal debt, and instead present a ballot card that reads like a party election mailer. So I will start by giving credit to the group of elected officials who participated in the Simpson Bowles commission.
Two names poke out at me... Paul Ryan, who's Vice Presidential candidacy was characterized by his willingness to stand behind a plan (however unpopular) that addresses the long term fiscal responsibility, represents many of the qualities I look for in a deficit hawk. On the left, I'd point out a candidate who's district is just a few miles down the road from me, Xavier Becerra. While I don't know much about his positions, I do know he served both on the Simpson Bowles commission and the Super Committee that sought middle ground solutions in a bipartisan manor.
Since I think creating a single list of candidates would be hard to remove party biases from, I'd instead to prefer to keep a separate ranking of republicans and democrats for their relative merits. My intention is to eventually have a list of candidates I can best justify supporting, and a list of candidates who should be challenged either in a primary or a general direction.
Holding our leaders accountable for their lack of leadership on the federal debt is the only way we will ever get meaningful reform.