The Ripon Forum

Volume 0, No. 0

Dec 2006 - Jan 2007 Issue

A Note from the Chairman Emeritus

By on October 26, 2015 with 0 Comments

Earlier this year, there was a joke making the rounds in Washington. It went like this: 

Question: What do Republicans and fiscal conservatives have in common?

Answer: Absolutely nothing. 

The joke was not particularly clever. But, unfortunately, it was illustrative of part of the GOP’s election problem this year. In short, the party that had been elected to balance the budget had blown the budget completely off its hinges. 

Yes, there were some excuses. The war on terror costs money. The worst natural disaster in our Nation’s history is not cheap. But there was also a clear sense that the party’s commitment to fiscal discipline had come undone. And Republicans paid a price for it at the polls. 

In this issue of the Forum, we look at the mess that has been left and some of the solutions that have been proposed to get spending under control. We ask whether deficits really matter during this time of solid economic growth, and examine how the new Democratic majority may go about handling the situation. For more insight in this regard, we also hear how one Governor has successfully balanced the budget in his own state, and how one Mayor has charted a new course for his city that produced better services and a budget surplus to boot. 

We get things started, though, with an article not on federal spending but on another issue that contributed to the GOP’s downfall – ethics. Joel Hefley, who is retiring from the House after 20 years of distinguished service, shares his thoughts on the ethics process in Congress and how it can be improved. 

There’s a lot of food for thought in this issue, and a lot for Republicans to think about as they pick up the pieces and look toward next year.

Bill Frenzel
Chairman Emeritus

Ripon Society

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