Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

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25 May 2012

Does Party Make a Difference in Fiscal Responsibility?

It is very common for libertarians to claim that it makes no difference which party is in power in Congress.  The Club for Growth makes an annual evaluation of the actual voting record of members of Congress on matters of fiscal responsibility such as votes for lower spending, lower taxes, and less unnecessary regulation of business activities.  Unlike some ratings, this one is based on numerous votes because Congress is constantly voting to spend more money.  Let us examine these ratings for the Senate and the House of Representatives for 2011 to see if it makes a difference which party is in control of the House and Senate as far as fiscal responsibility is concerned.

I have combed the Club for Growth ratings for those Republican Senators and Representatives who have percentages below 50%.  I have also culled it for those Democrats or Independents who scored 20% or higher.  I then created a table with the lower rated worst Republicans and the higher rated best Democrats for the Senate and for the House.  It turns out that almost all of the Democrats earned scores below 20%, while the Republicans mostly range from 40% to 100%.  One wishes that the Republicans were as clustered between 80% and 100% as the Democrats are between 0% and 20%, but such is not the case.  Nonetheless, a Republican with a disappointing 40% rating is still right about twice as often as a Democrat with what for them is a good rating of 20%.

Only three of the 51 Democrat and 2 Independent Senators scored a 20% or higher rating, while only two Republicans were wrong more often than right on their votes on matters of fiscal responsibility.  Both Nelson and McCaskill are under some pressure in their states for their poor fiscal voting records.  Claire McCaskill of Missouri actually improved her score in 2011 compared to her average score of 18%.  Ben Nelson of Nebraska has a lifetime score of 32%, so his 2011 score is very little different.  Since he is retiring rather than run for re-election, he avoided the pressure to change his spendthrift attitude.  As much as Sanders is an avowed socialist, it came as a surprise to me that his voting record was actually among the best compared to the majority of Democrats and Independents in the Senate.  Of course, he is only wrong four times for every time he is right!  The worst Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Scott Brown of Massachusetts, are both from very leftist states, yet they are right about three times as often as the average Democrat and were better than the best of the Democrats.

The 2011 House of Representatives has 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats.  The following table shows that 38 Republicans were wrong more often than right in their voting records, yet only LoBiondo of New Jersey was beaten in the scoring by two Democrats.  The best Democrat was Dan Boren, whose 42% score was much better than the next Democrat.  Despite that, he matched or beat out only 9 Republicans.

There was another surprise for me here.  Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are both lunatics, yet their ratings of 20% were exceeded by only 8 of the 193 Democrats in the House.  This is a really telling metric of just how otherworldly awful the Democrat Party voting record is with respect to a fiscally responsible and sustainable federal government.

Another surprise was that Allen West of Florida, who talks so impressively about smaller and more limited government, only scored a 64% rating.  On the other hand, there were nine Republican heroes with 100% scores:

Amash, Michigan
Chaffetz, Utah
Flake, Arizona
Franks, Arizona
Graves, Georgia
Huelskamp, Kansas
Jordan, Ohio
Labrador, Idaho
Lamborn, Colorado

Generally, the worst of the Republicans are better than the best of the Democrats.  The parties are measurably different and the Republicans are clearly the more fiscally responsible party.  This is why I will be supporting only Republican candidates in the 2012 election.  Some of them fall very short of my own standards, yet they are so much better than the Democrats in these trillion dollar deficit times that it is very important to have Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

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