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Posted: December 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Not fiscally fit

It has been a while since I had a column appear here in The Covington News. I spent the spent the last five months working for Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee and former United States Representative. It was a great experience and I will miss it.

A lot has happened over the last several months. The biggest news, of course, is that Sen. Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in the presidential election.

He is the first African-American president in our country's history. That is quite an accomplishment and we should be proud of it, but it does not mean that we have to agree with policies, proposals and the philosophy of our president-elect.

Another big story is the near $1,000,000,000,000 bailout of Wall Street. I know, I know...they call it a "rescue" and they said it was $700 billion, but with all the pork and special interest giveaways, it will come closer to a trillion by the time it is all said and done and it is let's not kid ourselves, that money is gone.

By the way, the total cost of federal bailouts now stands at $2.063 trillion or $6,800 for every man, woman and child in the country. This includes Bear Stearns, AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Lehman Brothers, the first (hopefully only) American auto industry bailout and every other intervention since January.

And, of course, we fortunate souls here in Georgia get to spend the next week or so watching the back and forth between Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. The two face off in a runoff on Dec 2.

Chambliss was not able to defeat Martin and Allen Buckley, the Libertarian Party's nominee, outright in the general election on Nov. 4. Georgia law requires the winner to take at least 50 percent plus one in order to win an election.

Georgia has become a battleground for a filibuster-proof Senate depending on what happens in Minnesota, where the incumbent is in a very tough race where a recount could determine who wins. Chambliss has managed to bring out Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, Republican talk show host Neal Boortz (let's face it, the man is no libertarian), and the cult of Fair Tax to support his re-election. Martin is bringing Bill Clinton, global warming alarmist Al Gore and a host of Obama staffers.

Chambliss has no one to blame but himself for his problems. Many fiscal conservatives either did not vote or voted for Buckley, who spent the election hammering the abysmal fiscal record of his Republican counter-part. During one debate Buckley told Chambliss that he is "not fiscally fit to serve in the United States Senate."

Buckley was absolutely correct. Despite all his claims, Chambliss is no small-government conservative and had his record even come close to resembling that, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been re-elected without a runoff.

During his time in the Senate, Chambliss voted to add $9 trillion in unfunded liabilities to Medicare, a program that already faced more than $40 trillion in unfunded liabilities. He helped push through the wasteful and bloated farm bill. The farm bill is packed with subsidies and pork that prop up the American agriculture industry. Studies have shown that these subsidies only drive up prices for consumers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as Chambliss is concerned. The only truth about Chambliss is that he is a tax cutter; however, the fiscal implications of his votes will result in massive tax increases in the future. My question to Chambliss and his supporters is what good is a tax cut if you are not cutting spending?

I am not claiming that Jim Martin would be any better. He calls himself a "proud progressive" who, according to Project VoteSmart, wants to increase taxes on incomes above and below $75,000. Martin is also silent on a number of issues that the next Congress will take up, such as "card check" and trade.

While Martin may be much better than Chambliss on civil liberties, history teaches us that single party rule is not exactly a good thing for taxpayers.

If you are still trying to figure out who to vote for, allow me to make a suggestion. Don't vote. I am not joking. There are two very bad candidates running in this runoff; neither one is really worthy of your vote.

And if you don't pay attention to anything else I have written, please pay attention to this. Do not cast your vote based on fear. The privilege is too precious to be scared into voting for or against a candidate.

Jason Pye writes a blog about Georgia politics. Visit his blog at www.jasonpye.com.


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