Spending Cuts and Conservatives

Mike Dennison has an interesting piece in the IR this morning about the impact of Colorado’s passage of TABOR–and its potential impact on Montana, with CI-97. Others have more thoughtfully commented on the likely results for our state, but the article raises one of the issues that drives me crazy: the appeal of the idea of ‘spending cuts’ and ‘freezes’ in general terms by conservatives. When it comes to specifics, though, the support becomes pretty half-hearted.Eric Feaver, head of the Montana MEA/MFT, asked the appropriate question at the meeting, calling ‘on the backers of SOS to identify where Montana is overspending, and what services they would restrict if the measure gets on the ballot and passes.’

Of course, supporters of the measure don’t have an answer. And the conservatives never do. Sure, they’ll throw out generic answers like ‘social programs’ or offer up a sacrificial lamb like government support for the arts, but there is rarely a comittment from the Right to actually legislate the cuts they advocate as rhetorical weapons. I guess they see that as more effective than their real agenda–not paying taxes to support the needs of society.