On Sunday, the United States Federal Government will run out of money. It won’t, however, stop spending.

April 26 is “Debt Day” –- the day on which federal spending for the 2009 fiscal year reaches the end of the available revenue and begins to finance itself with borrowed money. Money borrowed against the futures of our children and grandchildren. Money borrowed from countries like China.

Congress just passed a budget that exacerbates the problem – adding an estimated $13 trillion to the federal debt over the next ten years. Just months before, after billions in federal bailouts, Congress passed an $800 billion so-called stimulus package that was sold to the American people as a “jobs” bill. Unemployment continues to rise. In fact, the only sector that gained jobs last month was the government.

ADVERTISEMENT
I’m proud to report that I voted against them all.

Spending in Washington, D.C. is out of control, and folks in Montana are fed up. On April 15, many of them from across the state took to the streets in protest of this reckless spending and the increased taxes that must follow. For many, this was the first time in their lives they were motivated to activism.

In the battle against reckless spending, we should beware of the temptation to label all sides equally at fault and to ignore the historic spending impulses of Speaker Pelosi’s majority. In truth, Montanans have profound choices in spending philosophies between the parties. The suggestion of equal culpability is a dangerous oversimplification that turns a blind eye to history. It’s like giving a designated driver a DUI because his passenger is intoxicated.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Republicans deserve some criticism for the spending that happened on our watch, but it’s a mistake to ignore the spending alternatives supported by many Democrats during those same years. While criticizing irresponsible Republican spending on campaign trails, many Democrats routinely proposed and voted for alternatives that doubled and tripled spending for the same programs. Their annual budgets called for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending and established massive new government programs.

For more than a decade as the minority, Democrats fought to expand government spending. At most turns their spending habit was checked by the Republican majority, but now that has changed, they are in power, and all bets are off.

As Montana’s Congressman, I’ll continue to fight to bring some of Montana’s fiscal values to Washington, D.C. Montana never has a “Debt Day” because the Montana Constitution requires state government to balance its budget. Similarly, Montana’s families don’t spend more than they make, and there’s no reason Congress can’t do the same.

Cross-post from RedCounty.com.