Somewhere along the line actually requiring government spending to be paid for went out of fashion. Take the case of Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-KY) recent efforts to hold off another extension of unemployment benefits until Congress could lay out how it would pay for the extension.
Bunning’s efforts were at least temporarily successful, angering many lawmakers. A Fox News report quoted Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) lamenting Bunning’s actions by stating the following:
It is unthinkable, unforgivable that we would cut off unemployment insurance payments to these people, that we would cut off COBRA payments, which helps them to pay for their health insurance while they’re unemployed. … And yet, that’s what’s going to happen Sunday night. It’s because the senator from Kentucky has objected to extending unemployment insurance payments and COBRA health insurance payments for 30 days.
Bunning said he was concerned about the level of debt currently heaped up by the federal government. But those not phased by increased government spending (of money it doesn’t have) were fierce with their criticisms of the senator.
Take for example this segment from MSNBC making Bunning out to be little more than a heartless, bitter nut:
Personalities aside, it’s astounding to note the digression in respect for fiscal responsibility that has occurred in the federal government over the years. At one point, Thomas Jefferson noted the following:
The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.
Either today’s politicians don’t care about our mounting federal debt, or they … well, don’t care. Nothing else really makes sense at this point.