March 10, 1934 - Editorial - The Spender Family, by George Lorimer

Most of our lawmaking gives us very little concern. The average voter may feel a personal or business interest in two or three measures a session passed by the state legislature, in three or four current issues before Congress, and in a few ordinances affecting local conditions. The great mass of our new laws goes on the statute books unstudied and unconsidered, except by those whom it personally affects.

If the makers of these laws saddle us with foolish or burdensome legislation we can repeal it, and the harm done is only temporary. If they dissipate millions at the state capitol in ill-considered public activities, or billions at Washington in grandiose projects, the money is gone. There is no way of repealing an appropriations act after the money has been spent. There is nothing to do about it. We are without recourse and without appeal. Measured in terms of importance, 10% of the activities of our representatives in office are devoted to making laws and 90% to spending money.

The word "lawmaker" is essentially vicious, for it covers up and camouflages the appropriating power that resides in those responsible for our legislation. "Spender" is the word that should take the place of "lawmaker" in our thought and speech. If we could effect that simple change of attitude, we might save ourselves at least two billion dollars a year in the cost of government.

If we thought of the holder of every elective office who has a voice or vote in appropriating money, as a spender, empowered by us to make such outlays in our behalf as will give us the best and most effective public service for the least money, we should choose them more carefully and, having chosen them, should watch them much more narrowly.

Isn't it just about time that we began - in our own minds, at least - to call members of the Spender Family by their right name and by the one that most sharply reminds us of what they are doing to us? (pg. 22)

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