Deroy Murdock‘s latest column urges congressional Republicans to get serious about putting forward plans to address the federal government’s overspending problem.

These constant, French Army–style retreats are beyond maddening, especially since the American public looks ready for fiscal responsibility.

Asking, “Is government spending being managed carefully or out of control?” a January 15–17 Fox News poll discovered that 83 percent of registered voters replied “out of control,” up from 62 percent in April 2009. Only 11 percent answered “managed carefully,” down from 22 percent in April 2009.

This survey also found that 69 percent of respondents said the debt limit should be raised “only after major cuts.” Just 23 percent disagreed, calling it “reckless not to.” (Margin of error: ±3 percent.)

If Republicans cannot lead, perhaps they should follow public opinion.

From the Emancipation Proclamation to supply-side tax cuts to reversing Communism to welfare reform, the GOP has been the party of big ideas (like them or not). But Republicans now look brain-dead on fiscal discipline.

Why can’t they identify, say, one dozen antiquated, duplicative, or destructive federal programs and terminate them? Do we still need the 1935 Rural Utility Service, now that it has delivered electricity to Appalachia and currently stays busy by wiring farms with broadband Internet? Also: Kill the sugar and ethanol programs already.

Why not implement zero-based budgeting, so every agency must justify its outlays from the first dollar, rather than receive fresh money atop last year’s allocation?