Monday, May 15, 2006

Good government reform

Amo Houghton, a former congressman from western New York, now is president of the Reform Institute. He writes about the need for re-districting reform here:
One of the most distasteful, partisan practices in modern American politics can be found within closed-door meetings of state legislatures. That's where party leaders carve out legislative and congressional districts that protect incumbents and solidify their power. The losers in these gerrymandered deals are the voters, who are left with little choices at the polls. Fortunately for voters in New York, a bill in the state Senate presents an opportunity to change that.

Marie Cocco writes about a proposal for budget reform here:
Restoring budget rules that would force lawmakers to offset any spending increase or tax cut with spending reductions or tax hikes. Democrats, Pelosi says, will once again force Congress to pay as it goes.

It was, in fact, budget policy beginning under the first President Bush in 1990 and continuing through the Clinton years. The result of this rule and other tough choices on spending and taxes was that Reagan-era deficits eventually were erased, Clinton surplus materialized.

The pay-as-you-go rules were circumvented between 1999 and 2002, then dropped altogether by the Republican Congress (and approving White House) determined to have its runaway tax cuts and its runaway spending, too.