“The United States is spending itself into oblivion” – US conservative leader

The new 112th Congress was sworn in on Wednesday in Washington, with John Boehner taking over as the speaker of the House of Representatives.

A large number of House seats switched over to the Republican column after the party swept to power in November's midterm elections.

But despite the GOP’s newly acquired power, Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, said he does not expect that the Republicans will be able to make good on their promises.

“As a Libertarian I would like to see vastly reduced spending and taxes, but I don’t think Republicans are going to deliver that,” he said. “But if you look at the worst policies that Congress has delivered, most of them have been bipartisan for many years: the bailouts of the banks, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the deficit spending. A lot of healthcare programs were supported by both Republicans and Democrats.”

The party has vowed to open a legislative battle with President Barack Obama over the size of government and how much it spends.

“The alternative is to get serious about cutting military spending, to get serious about cutting entitlements like medical care and Social Security,” Benedict said.

“There was a bipartisan committee which made recommendations that would actually cut spending, but I don’t think the Republicans have the courage to implement those things,” he added.

Republicans have put up concerted opposition to the president in recent months, stalling the ratification of a key arms reduction treaty with Russia. Some experts are saying that the recently elected Republican majority in the House put the new START treaty with Russia in jeopardy.

Benedict believes that the Republicans might try to make noise about the issue in order to gain concessions on other legislative priorities.

“I would like to have peaceful relations with Russia, and all the other countries of the world,” he said. “I can’t say I endorse that treaty exactly, but if it results in peace throughout the world and less military spending by the United States and by Russia, I think it will be a great thing.”