Distributed quarterly by mail and email, the Conservative Caucus of Delaware's newsletter contains relevant information and insights from noted leaders, authoritative stakeholders and like-minded members who demonstrate their passion for the truths we hold dear by putting pen to paper!
VOLUME 33, ISSUE 4
Delaware Stop Going Through the Motions
There has been considerable talk of late about the darkening budget picture for Delaware, i.e., growing deficits areprojected unless taxes are increased and/or spending is cut in some fashion (beyond the normal belt tightening, which has already been done). Most of the state’s political leaders want to increase taxes, and the groundwork has been laid by a “non-partisan” review of the state’s revenue sources.
Delawareans don’t favor tax increases, however, which according to the News Journal means they want to receive government services and benefits without paying for them. (So what else is new?).
Hard choices were avoided this year by using one-time funds from a legal
settlement to cover the budget shortfall, but no such windfall is expected in 2016. Election year or not, some unpopular decisions may be required. And critics have suggested that a review of government
expenditures should be conducted before addressing the recommendations of the revenue study.
Right on cue, Governor Jack Markell issued Executive Order 52 on September 25 to create a Delaware
Expenditure Review Committee. This body was to have 12 members: DEFAC (chair + 1), Controller’s Office (1), OMB (director), four nominees of the governor, and four nominees of legislators (Senate majority and minority leaders; House majority and minority leaders). And the very same day, indicating that everything had been worked out in advance, the 12 members of the DERC were
Fred Sears of the Delaware Community Foundation will chair the DERC. Other members are the four
designated officials, a former state auditor/county executive, a former state legislator, and representatives of DERC is tasked with conducting a “review of state government services to evaluate whether there are
opportunities to provide government services in a manner that is more efficient, more effective, or can be performed at less cost to taxpayers.” Due consideration should be given to “both the overall cost savings that might be obtained and the positive and negative effects of those
savings on the provision of services.”
Although DERC will remain in existence until June 30, its report is due to the governor and the Joint Finance Committee of the General Assembly by January 29,
including “any findings and any recommendations for the State of Delaware’s operations or budget.”
In sum, the background of the DERC members doesn’t suggest a strong motivation to shake up the status quo, their charter is broad but somewhat contradictory, and they will only have four months to do their work. If they come up with any recommendations of substance, it will be a surprise to all concerned.
I’m convinced that there are ways to significantly cut spending without reducing government effectiveness. Just think how much administrative overhead could be eliminated, for instance, simply by consolidating the school districts in Delaware (say from over 20 to half a dozen).
But Delaware politicians will never support real changes like that unless conservatives get engaged and demand action. What are we waiting for? ■
Spending to Blame for US Debt
By Robin Crossan
In Proverbs 22:7 it says, “ The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Our national debt is 18 trillion dollars and climbing. Proposals to balance the budget are more likely to involve tax increases than spending cuts. Even when we are told that someone has balanced the budget for a couple of years, it does not include off budget items that unbalance the budget, if included.
Now we hear proposals to cut taxes. The flat tax, the fair tax, the no tax on the poor have been touted by those who want our support. They claim to simplify the tax code, reduce loopholes, cut subsides, and be revenue neutral. “Revenue neutral” means we intend to collect the same amount of money but with fewer complaints about the tax code being unfair.
The United States does not have a revenue problem: we have a spending problem. The voters have learned that they can get money from the politicians by voting for the
candidates who promise to hand out the most “free” stuff. Instead of protecting us from enemies foreign and domestic our politicians have developed a system of buying votes and ensuring re-election by promising to entitle every voter block with some redistribution of wealth. If this wealth came only from the money collected each year by the Internal Revenue Service, we would not have a national debt; but the federal government borrows or prints wealth to keep the voters voting for them.
Margaret Thatcher once said that, “Socialism only lasts until it runs out of other people's money.” We ran out of money long ago, but this tsunami of debt will eventually come due as it has in Detroit. The politicians will never wake up until the voters wake up and call for the privatization of retirement, health care, and welfare for the poor and the
corporations. Unpopular as this may be, cutting spending is the only way to truly balance the budget and pay back our national debt. ■
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
The film recounts the events of September 11, 2012 in which a group of Islamist terrorists attacked the American diplomatic compound and a nearby CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed during the attack, U.S. Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign
Service Information Management
Officer Sean Smith and CIA
contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. Two of these men were members of a six-man U.S. Special Operations team made up of former U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA Operatives who rushed to defend the remaining Americans who were still alive.
The movie is based on the 2013 book 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff. It is produced and directed by Michael Bay. Bay is an action movie director and probably best know for the
Transformers series. 13 Hours is his most serious film to date. It is scheduled for release by Paramount Pictures on
January 15, 2016. ■