Perusing social media over the past week or so, I discovered a number of Mississippians concerned about Chris McDaniel’s fiscal conservative views, namely an unsubstantiated belief that he will cut certain programs with little or no regard to the impact it might have on the state. One concerned citizen feared McDaniel’s radical budget cutting ideas might endanger Ingalls shipyard and the naval vessels under construction in that vital area of national security.
So, let’s examine Senator McDaniel’s fiscal conservatism and how he will conduct himself in Washington as a United States Senator.
I think we can all agree that our federal budget is out of control, something true conservatives have known for a long time. Hopefully it will soon become a strong priority for President Trump, who has indicated that he is finished signing bloated spending bills. Our current deficit is sky-high and might soar over $1 trillion before the end of this fiscal year on September 30.
But we can’t place all the blame on our Presidents; Congress deserves most of it. The people’s representatives, especially in the House, were given authority by the Constitution over the nation’s finances. And Republicans have controlled the House for 20 of the last 24 years, and the Senate for 16 of 24 years, a time period in which we have seen the National Debt climb from less than $5 trillion to more than $20 trillion.
And why do we have such massive spending? Because Congress believes that it can spend money on whatever it bloody well pleases, throwing constitutional restraints to the four winds.
The Constitution delegates authority to Congress in Article 1, Section 8. The authority to appropriate money for the military, including the Navy, is an enumerated power of Congress, along with a host of other powers. McDaniel supports constitutional spending and he is especially concerned that we have a strong national defense, including adequate naval forces. Funding for the Navy, and the contracts at Ingalls, are in no danger.
However, what he does not support is unconstitutional expenditures, like money for museums, hair-brained research schemes (such as the study of the gambling habits of monkeys), education, food stamps, or to earmark vast funds for fat cat friends at big corporations, that have no basis in the Constitution, something Establishment Republicans in Congress seem not to understand nor do they seem to care.
To be sure, Chris McDaniel understands the Constitution, the limited powers it contains, and the nature of our Union. He fully realizes, as James Madison warned us more than 200 years ago, that Congress cannot be allowed to continue stretching the meaning and understanding of the Constitution, namely the general welfare clause. For this is why we find our nation in such fiscal peril.
Consider what Madison said in 1792, “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”
Is this not an accurate description of the powers Washington believes it has today? Does not the federal government think itself the master of our affairs? Is Congress not complicit in this vast federal accumulation of power? The answers are obvious. And the only way to stop it is to elect true fiscal conservatives, who have respect and an understanding of the Constitution, to Congress in order to get meaningful reforms.
And Chris McDaniel is one of those reformers. To call him a fiscal conservative is to state more than the obvious. In his three-term career in the State Senate, he has cast more votes against bloated bond bills than anyone, and he has been roundly criticized for it. On more than a few occasions, he has been the sole voice of opposition to continued deficit spending and debt accumulation. No other public official in Mississippi, and very few across the country, has a record to match his.
Chris McDaniel can be trusted to fight against the federal fiscal rampage and has a record to prove it. His plan calls not for a massive cut in year one but a gradual phase out of a number of unconstitutional, fiscally-irresponsible spending programs, like food stamps, until we gain control of federal spending, balance the budget, pay down the debt, and Mississippi can return to fiscal self-sufficiency.
In his “Contract with Mississippi,” Senator McDaniel has vowed to support Rand Paul’s “Penny Plan” while in the US Senate, which “reduces Federal spending by one penny on the dollar year after year until the budget is balanced without touching Social Security.”
McDaniel’s proposals are reasonable. We can elect him and begin to climb out of our current fiscal hole, or we can continue down the road we are headed and that is the path to national bankruptcy.