I’m truly astonished by the number of self-professed conservatives who now sing a wholly different song in support of Sen. Thad Cochran.
Their one-note tune is that he’s good at bellying up to the federal trough. “Fiscal conservatism be damned; we’ve got to get ours while the getting is good,” they seem to say.
“More for Mississippi” is now a campaign theme.
Cochran fans offer, without a hint of shame, an article about “10 States Most Dependent on the Federal Government,” then laud Cochran for playing the lead role in that dependency.
It’s glorious, by their thinking, that Mississippi gets back three times what its citizens pay in federal taxes and that some states lose money on their “taxpayer investment.”
One supporter claimed, “If you flushed a toilet today, you should probably thank Thad Cochran” – pointing to a $17.7 million sewer grant for wealthy south Madison County. Without Sen. Cochran’s influence, apparently, all Mississippians – including owners of half-million-dollar houses – would be using outhouses.
“Free money” for sewers reflects the same entitlement mind-set that gives us multigenerational dependence, crony capitalism, farm subsidies for the rich and $1 trillion in student debt.
It’s the mind-set that forces people in Okolona to pay taxes for Oxford’s bike paths and lets Chambers of Commerce make decisions on national defense. It’s wealth redistribution with “conservative” labels.
Cochran supporters don’t want to discuss deficits, debt or $100 trillion in unfunded federal liabilities – Cloward-Piven come to life.
Their standard responses are disappointing:
• It’s the big, bad liberals’ fault.
• Chris McDaniel would leave Mississippi bleeding in a ditch.
• Thad Cochran is a conservative.
Thad Cochran is a genial man who’s made a career of making constituencies happy with federal money, but to suggest he is a fiscal hawk is disingenuous. (Harsher words could apply, but I’m addressing friends.)
It’s also disingenuous to use the scare tactic that Chris McDaniel’s election would instantly dry up all federal funds flowing to Mississippi. That’s almost as laughable as President Barack Obama’s claim to slow the rise of the oceans.
No one’s claiming Chris McDaniel can lower the deficit by himself. If he can do anything, it’s to help form the critical mass of determined legislators necessary to sober up Congress from its money-drunk ways.
We’ve got to start somewhere, folks.
If we Mississippians are so concerned about getting all we can of whatever the government is handing out that we cease to care that we’re ever-so-politely spending ourselves into bankruptcy, we deserve what our grandchildren are going to get.
Errol Castens is a reporter for the Daily Journal and the Oxford Citizen. Contact him at (662) 816-1282.