Thomas has written extensively about political issues and he supports, among other things, many American positions related to Israel.
He has written 10 books, including Blinded By Might, that discussed, among other things, the role of the Moral Majority in American politics of the 1980s. Thomas was vice president of the Moral Majority from 1980 to 1985. He is an evangelical Christian.
Cal Thomas’ latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” is available in bookstores now. (c) 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Shortcomings never hinder government
In the film “Girl, Interrupted,” the character played by Winona Ryder is watching TV in a psychiatric hospital. There is a news report about a demonstration, and the narrator says: “We live in troubled times. The institutions we once trusted no longer seem reliable.”
As I begin the laborious process of doing my income taxes, I am again reminded — thanks to withholding and other payments I must make to the government — that I am paying for so many things that aren’t working. The D.C. that follows Washington could easily stand for “dysfunctional city.”
What other institution, or business, could long survive with such a record of failure? Only the federal government.
Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., noted in 2011, “Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25 percent for domestic government agencies — an 84 percent increase when you include the failed stimulus.”
If the Republican presidential candidates want to capture voters’ attention in this turbulent and unpredictable election season, they should compose a new contract with voters. Every federal agency and program either has a charter that established it and/or authorizing legislation in which its purpose is stated. Heads of those agencies should periodically be required to come before Congress and justify not just their budgets but their existence.
Are they living up to the charter or legislation that created their agency? If not, at least three options present themselves: (1) Downsize the agencies and reduce their budgets to the size commensurate with whatever success they are having, (2) privatize the agencies, or (3) eliminate them.
There remains a strain of the Puritan ethic in most Americans that begins with parents telling their children to eat their food because there are starving people in the world who don’t have access to such nourishment. Not wasting money is also a part of that ethic.
First, though, we must get beyond the notion of “entitlement” and back to what our ancestors taught about personal responsibility with government as a last resort, not a first resource. That is going to take something akin to a spiritual awakening because government is not about to shrink itself or give up the power it has over the lives of its citizens.
Perhaps a good starting point would be to consult the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, who Democrats like to claim as the first Democrat. In a letter to Thomas Cooper, dated Nov. 29, 1802, Jefferson wrote: “If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”
During what has been described as a “revolutionary” campaign season, the pitchfork brigade might consider among their demands chopping off the heads of a lot of unnecessary and costly government agencies. — Cal Thomas is a columnist with Tribune Media Services. Reach him at .