- The Washington Times
Thursday, May 23, 2019


When Republicans and Democrats snipe at each other over spending, the hype is par for the discourse in Washington.

More so when one party controls the House, which controls appropriations priorities, and the other party occupies the White House.

Refresh your memories, if need be, with Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton, then reboot with Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump.

Now imagine yourself a taxpayer residing in the nation’s capital and smack in the middle of not merely a political row, but a battle between liberals and conservatives.

That’s who’s stirring the caldron in City Hall.

There’s no Republican leading D.C. politics.

There’s no conservative minding the purse strings.

There no bean counter with a backbone stiff enough to hold the reins.

Mrs. Pelosi’s House leaves D.C. to move like a slug.

As a consequence, the city’s elected leaders are raising taxes and fees to cover the costs of their liberal spending habits.

Again, the caldron bubbles over for fiscal 2020.

Herewith is a taste of D.C.:

An increase in fees to drive and park in the city.

An increase in costs to run a business in the District.

An increase in the soda tax.

An increase in property taxes.

An increase in vehicle ownership fees.

An increase in the tobacco tax.

An increase in the gas tax.

That’s where some of the money will come from. Here’s where some of it will go:

Free bus rides.

Free needle exchange programs.

Free condom giveaway programs.

Free dog parks and dog park sprinkler programs.

Free permission for citizens to ticket parked vehicles.

Free parking for the mayor and the 13 members of the D.C. Council.

Here’s what might lose out:

A bolstered Metropolitan Police Department.

Tighter security of D.C. Jail.

A safer and more secure mass transit system.

An education system that runs on autopilot.

Where, oh where, are Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Clinton when the nation’s capital needs them?

In the mid-1990s, when the city was drowning in red ink, their bipartisanship created a control board that corralled and restructured the city — from top to bottom.

Much of what was accomplished, however, has been lost of partisan sniping instead of bipartisan goals.

For example, government efficiency is but a pipe dream, and government effectiveness can be easily called the primary sluggard in reform.

The proof is in the fact that unlike the control board, the leaders in City Hall chiefly focus on but three well-worn issues: homelessness, affordable housing and raising the cost of living in the District — the latter being needed to cover the costs of the former.

Nothing is free. Not mass transit, education, housing or public safety.

And the thing is, every taxpayer in America helps pay for what happens in City Hall — literally — with their tax dollars.

Federal and local laws determine how the city spends money and mandates its savings.

Sniping and bickering are fine. It’s what politicians do.

However, when the House, the Senate and the White House aren’t paying attention to D.C. affairs, as the Constitution instructs, they aren’t holding the city’s elected leaders accountable.

The nation’s capital is a nonpartisan issue, and oversight of its affairs begins with, ahem, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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