The Bush White House has upset conservatives on many issues but a lack of spending control is at or near the top of the list of complaints. In an article for TownHall.com, Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani draws on his experience in New York to suggest that if he gets into the White House there'll be a lot more fiscal conservatism:
"Washington needs a hefty dose of fiscal discipline. To restore accountable and effective leadership to America, government needs to run more like a business. That is what I did in New York*. My administration inherited a $2.3 billion deficit. We responded by imposing fiscal discipline. We cut programs. We cut taxes. And we got results. We turned the deficit into a multibillion-dollar surplus. We cut bureaucracy by 20,000 workers - while increasing cops on the street and teachers in the classroom. And we cut taxes 23 times, all while working with a Democrat-dominated city council. Every year - in good times or bad - I required city commissioners to propose cuts in their own budgets. I wanted to keep my managers focused on saving taxpayers' money, while spending it more effectively."
Mayor Giuliani goes on to promise that his prosperity agenda will be built on "four pillars":
- Reduced spending growth: Without sacrificing his priorities of greater energy independence, homeland security and "a stronger military to win the war on terror or, as I call it, "the terrorists' war on us"", he adovates a smaller, smarter government and US$21bn annual savings in wage bills by possibly "permanently retiring just half of the potential retirees" from the federal government.
- Lower tax rates and "the dealth penalty" for the death tax.
- Regulatory reform must be a priority and "heavy-handed regulators, laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and an environment of hyper-litigation and shareholder lawsuits" must all be pruned.
- Sound monetary policy: "The Federal Reserve Board is the ultimate, independent arbiter of monetary policy. It is essential that its appointees are highly qualified individuals who understand that stable, low inflation is an input - not an impediment - to durable economic expansion and stronger economic growth."
A commitment to fiscal discipline is just one of the ways in which Mayor Giuliani is appealing to conservatives. Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal noted that his views on climate change have been "quite sensible": "He has questioned the extent to which global warming is caused by man-made activity, saying the science "is not in" on the issue, and has advocated nuclear power as a means of creating clean energy."
* "That is what I did in New York' - voters will be hearing that message a lot from 'America's Mayor' as he promises a return to competence.
BritainAndAmerica.com will be posting later on John McCain's major speech on Iraq.