Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia received some violent criticism the other day when he claimed that any money spent by the federal government in recovery from Hurricane Irene should be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.
And then those same critics came after our Congressmen Steve Scalise and Jeff Landry who agreed with him in wanting to keep our federal finances in order even when emergencies occur.
One newspaper columnist even claimed that their willingness to climb aboard Cantorís bandwagon gives us reason to question their allegiance.
So if we are resolved to keeping the budget in balance even in times of emergency, we are un-American? A government of the people, by the people and for the people does not allow for balancing the budget in a way that will allow for emergencies?
Sure, there may be times when a huge emergency such as our entry into World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor presents a problem in our finances. But most emergencies, such as Hurricane Irene, can be expected and planned for. And our national budget should allow for that.
The number-one concern of our lawmakers should be to preserve the lives and freedom of our people. And they should build our government around that objective.
The many other functions which the federal government tries to serve should come after those objectives, if at all. And if we cannot afford them, those functions - not the emergency expenses - should be cut.
Our congressmen did not mean we should not pay for expenses such as those caused by Irene. They meant we should cut non-emergency expenses to allow for what is necessary.
But sometimes politics gets in the way of what our public officials say.