I've argued before that the White House ought to focus on spending restraint in the months between now and election day. I know the President's credibility on this is not great, but I think people will accept a convert. He could start by saying that 'different times and circumstances demand different policy responses.' Now that we've been fighing the War on Terror for nearly 5 years, and now that the economy is booming, the time is right to shift to a greater focus on restraining federal spending.
To that end, the President could push for Congress to approve:
1) A Balanced Budget Amendment;
2) Enhanced Rescission Authority (also known as a line-item veto);
3) Earmark Reform; and,
4) a "Pork Database"
The Pork Database is a great idea, because as I've noted several times, it's almost impossible to eliminate earmarks. The reform advocated by Coburn, McCain, Carper, and Obama would ensure that the pork-barrel projects that survive any reform process (and there will be many), will at least be disclosed for all to review.
The great political benefit of a focus on spending reform is obvious: it is a sure appeal to the conservative base, which is proving... difficult to reach... through other approaches. Plus, given the current circumstances, there are no voters lost by it. Plus of course, it's the right thing to do.
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