This story was written by Frannie Boyle, Vanderbilt Hustler
With the recent economic crises, much of the speaking time during the past two presidential debates was dedicated to solutions for the country's financial troubles. Both presidential candidates, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, put forth vague solutions this past Tuesday, and they were also given the opportunity to point fingers at one another. One issue both tickets have tried to claim this campaign season is government spending.
Unfortunately for the Democratic ticket, both candidates have little accountability when it comes to handling taxpayers' money in a responsible manner, and they are up against one of the most frugal candidates the Senate has to offer.
According to the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Obama and Sen. Joe Biden have very low markings when it comes to taxing and excessive government spending. In 2007, Obama was given a rating of 10 percent, which contributes to a lifetime rating of 18 percent (the lower the percentage, the less defensive the candidate has been against frivolous government spending). In 2008, Obama let 53 earmarks slip by, coming to a total of $97.4 million. This large sum includes $1,648,850 for the Shedd Aquarium. Biden actually received the lowest possible rating last year -- a whopping 0 percent. He let $119.7 million dollars go by in 2008, including $246,000 for the Grand Opera House in his own Wilmington, Del.
It is quite ironic that Biden would not let Gov. Sarah Palin forget her initial support of the "Bridge to Nowhere" during their debate last week, because it was actually Congress that financed the project. In 2005, both Biden and Obama voted to support funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere" project rather than funding for more Hurricane Katrina relief.
Since taking office, Obama has asked for $740 million worth of earmarks for Illinois. Of that, $750,000 went toward a visitor's center and $713,000 of that went toward soybean disease research. Biden has requested $120 million in earmarks for Delaware, $2 million of which has gone toward oyster bed revitalization and $656,000 that went toward sprinklers for apartment complexes.
The list of what the Democratic ticket has wanted to do with U.S. taxpayer money goes on and on. McCain, on the other hand, is probably one of the best GOP politicians you could find when it comes to cracking down on excessive government spending. The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste gives McCain an 88 percent lifetime rating. He actually received a 100 percent in this past year because he did not request a single earmark. He has pledged to veto any bill containing earmarks that comes across his desk, and by looking as his past any voter can see that he will more than likely stick to his word.
During the debate on Tuesday night, McCain mentioned the importance of cutting down on frivolous government spending. Obama responded with: "Earmarks account for $18 billion in last year's budget. Sen. McCain is proposing -- and this is a fundamental difference between us -- $300 billion in tax cuts."
Yes, the fundamental difference is apparent through these words and through Obama's history: He believes he can make change by allowing the government to manipulate the people's money, while McCain believes he can make change by giving people the money that belongs to them.