Jonathan Bydlak on Spending Tracker

Taxation watchdogs like Grover Norquist have sought to hold politicians accountable to small-government philosophy using “starve the beast” logic, i.e., assuming that a lower level of taxation will force government to shrink its big-spending agenda. However, in an age of money printing and short-sighted thinking, merely arithmetic constraints like a balanced budget have been brushed aside. Jonathan Bydlak of the Institute to Reduce Spending and the Coalition to Reduce Spending takes a different approach to accountability, channelling Milton Friedman’s aphorism, “To spend is to tax.” Want to know who’s really responsible for your looming IRS bill? Bydlak urges citizens to look at how much spending their representatives are voting for. The next time a Republican politician tells you to read his lips, be sure to check his rhetoric against his voting record, using – a new project of the Institute to Reduce Spending that uses big data to rank the worst culprits (the “spenders”) and allows for comparison with the relatively virtuous “savers.” Unsurprisingly, you’ll find “Rs” at the tops of both the "spender" and "saver" lists. Jonathan returns to the show to explain how this new tool can increase government accountability where it really matters.