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Letter to the Editor: Cutting spending is the key to better government

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

In order to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C., you have to “starve the beast.”

That's what the new tax policy looks to do – drastically cut the amount of money available for the politicians to spend in Washington. In effect, the diminished tax revenues starve the beast. Politicians love to spend tax dollars. It's their stock-in-trade. Tax dollars are referred to as OPM, which stands for other people's money.

The same politicians who enjoy spending OPM so wildly are actually very judicious with their own money. They tend to be frugal with their own money. Surprised? You shouldn't be. It's human nature.

Elected officials love to fund their own pet projects.They especially love to send tax dollars, OPM, back home to fund military bases, infrastructure – the building of bridges, tunnels and so forth and government jobs.

By sending tax dollars back home, the political class is able to carry favor and clout with their constituents.

Jokes have been made throughout the years about former U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. He funded so many projects with OPM in his native state that some suggested calling the state “Robert Byrd” instead of West Virginia.

It was never intended to be this way, of course. The idea from the outset was for a weak central government, not a grand one.

For instance, there is no provision in the U.S. Constitution for military bases. Today, we have military bases and military installations all over the country, from sea to shining sea.

OK. So does the newly legislated tax reform bill go far enough?

Probably not, but at least it's a decent start.

We need to be about shrinking government (especially at the federal level), and not growing the government sector. The operative word here is shrink. In order to drain the swamp you have to starve the beast.

ROBERT PEELE

Rocky Mount

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