Federal Spending: What would you cut? -
04-18-2010, 08:33 AM
So there is a lot of talk about government spending lately. Obviously the idea of a deficit budget is scary and unsettling to many people. Tax raises are pretty much a death sentence for any party / politician that even mentions the idea and so with tax raises pretty much being out of play, and because Republicans and TP'ers seem convinced is the real solution is tax cuts and spending cuts, I'd like to hear some ideas as to where you would cut spending from the federal budget.
Here's a chart for helpful reference:
And before everyone chimes in with the one word response WELFARE or something along those lines let's clarify the so-called 'safety net programs'.
Safety net programs: About 14 percent of the federal budget in 2010, or $482 billion, support programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship.
These programs include: the refundable portion of the earned-income and child tax credits; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including food stamps, school meals, low-income housing assistance, child-care assistance, and assistance in meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.
So if you support cutting them, please include what specifically you would cut, and by how much. Also, it's worth noting that these changes can't happen in a vacuum. Explain a little about how you would go about implementing your cuts where you and your party won't become pariahs and might actually stay in office.
*note that I left 'Interest on the Debt' off the poll on purpose, because theoretically it can't be cut but if you disagree go ahead and say so.
When I die I want to be cremated, dissolved in water, and then soaked up in a ShamWow!!
Social Security Medicare. Make it voluntary. Those that want out can get out now, and new employees have the option of enrolling in it.
Safety net programs, nice name, but they are redistribution of wealth. Someone should not get more back than they pay in, and while they are nice and altruistic, that isn't the role of gov't it is the role of charity.
Defense, Spend for defense of the homeland, we are not the worlds police force.Bring our troops home have robust capability to dicourage aggression against us, bring the full might of the military to bear in a conflick and utterly destroy any aggressor nation. No one will screw with us if it means they will be wiped from the face to the earth and their lands destroyed so no crops will grow in the field.
There's a good start.
I didn't vote in the poll because more than one selection applies.
Defense would be the obvious place to start. Let's forget about ordering aircraft that the military tells congress they don't want. And do we really need military bases in virtually every country in the world?
Why is the government in the energy business? We have several large energy companys located here who get government funds to design different kinds of facilities. Why not just let the market dictate what they produce?
How much money is wasted imposing various restrictive regulations on business?
If we didn't have an FCC, do you think the market would ensure we all had plenty of television, radio, cell phones, etc?
Do we need a department of education? Shouldn't education be left to the local communities, with state oversight?
Do we need to subsidize Amtrack? If there is a demand for train travel, won't someone figure out a way to provide it? They do it with freight...why not with passengers?
Has the post office outlived it's usefulness? With UPS, FEDEX, e-mail, fax service, etc, how much regular mail service is really required? And, if it's needed, why does the government feel they need to run it?
Of course, we could do away with the IRS and institute a simple flat tax.
How much do we spend on government administration? We pay our elected representatives to do a job. Why do we also pay for their staff to help them? If I was making 6 digits and needed help, I would have to pay for it out of my pocket. How much did it cost to send half of Washington to the "energy summit"?
There are very necessary services the government needs to provide. The problem is, they have grown beyond their core business, and have become extremely inefficient.
Washington seems to believe everything they do is a necessity. Nancy's flowers are not necessary. Senators do not need to have multiple offices in the capital. I would bet if these kinds of expenses came out of their own pocket, rather than the taxpayers, they would find a way to do without!
There are many ways we can cut the cost of government...but those who are in charge of spending seem to enjoy all the benefits they have given themselves over time.
The post from pooltchr touched on salient parts of expenditures which can be cut. With that in mind,we must go back to the initial responsibility of Federal Government as allowed by the Constitution. Federal Government has two roles. To insure for the National Defense and develop Trade between the United States and other Nations. There is no further application of power abrogated to the Federal Government from the Confederation of States. That is why the States and their elected National Representatives work on matters of creating Domestic Prosperity and aren't to be involved in matters of an external nature. Unless,a formal Declaration of War be authorized for the President to send troops,because the House holds the purse to pay for war on behalf of the American People. It has never been intended for the Federal Government to provide funds for any individual as a hedge between prosperity and poverty. It has never been designed to acquire from the American People money to be granted for aid to foreign countries,subsidize businesses,promote a social agenda,nor create a favorable opinion in the eyes of the world through wars of convenience. Every Part of the Federal Budget needs to be Slashed and Burned!Return the wealth to the people,and they will create a vibrant prosperous economy,which in turn,allows them to do good work. Elected representatives,who have never had nor lost jobs in their lives,are the ones deciding who gets your wealth. Every Incumbent Out!!!
How about we work on a balanced budget annually and have a federal sales tax and no income tax. That way if you buy it you pay tax on it and we capture some tax from drug sales and other illegal income. If we balance the fed budget annually we can decide how generous we want to be to entitlement programs every year. I guess this is too simple though. If I spend too much money and print some I do federal time in prison.
Raise them tenfold to attract people who might actually be qualified and then make it an imprisonable offense to take anything more valuable than a hotdog from a private citizen/individual.
Another key element to actually fix things would be a repeal of the 17th amendment.
The COTUS was set up so that power rested in only 1 of 3 places:
1 - The federal govt which had small and well defined power.
2 - The states.
3 - The people.
Our congress was setup so that for something to become law it had to:
1 - Pass the branch which represented the people's interests ... the house, whose members were selected by popular vote at the local level.
2 - Pass the branch which represented the state's interests ... the senate, whose members were selected by the separate legislatures of the states.
3 - Pass the executive branch which represented the federal government itself ... the POTUS.
4 - Pass the judicial branch which represented the COTUS itself ... the SCOTUS ... should any challenge be brought as to the legitimacy of the law.
Today the house still represents the people, and the senate rapes the states severally and individually by legislating unfunded mandates ... knowing full well that the states will have to take the heat back home by raising taxes to pay for them while the senate brags about how they "GAVE" the people back home something.
This change to the COTUS in 1913 haas gamed the system horribly.
The POTUS will seldom in a first term stand up to a congress who is "GIVING" something to the people ... and conspires more often than not with the senate to load the SCOTUS with people who aren't about to put an end to the national robbery.
"Whether or not its a lie is irrelevant."
"LWW is one of the truly great thinkers of the 21st century."
"I'm guessing the Democrats will be stupid for many years to come."
"I hate whitey!"
"I have high hopes that you (LWW) and your sympathizers will be led to the gallows."
An immediate 8% cut across the board with an additional 8% in 9 months.
Eliminate any odds and ends departments, that is, items below 3%
Provide best calculation for retirement of government employees, who leave within 4 months. Congress, Senate, Staffers would have the option of a government pension or a lump sum of 5 times last 12 months salary without any extra compensations considered. The deal would be very good initially, and gradually decrease to the point where is not worth staying on.
Decrease government salaries of all levels on a 15 year straight line basis. Senators and Congressmen would have the same only over an 8 year basis.
Final salaries would be a constant $50k and departing salary would determine any retirement benefit. Salaries after 20 years would be $1 per year.
Cut congressional staffs to 15 for leaders of committees and 7 for the remainder. Cut judicial staffs to half.
Initial salaries of congress, the courts and staffers would starting in 2012 would be approximately 5 times current levels to attract the best talent.
Cut foreigner welfare 80%.
Eliminate any and all special plans for government workers. No separate retirement, medical or other programs. If it is good enough for the rest of us, it is yours also.
State citizens to be taxed on how the congress passes bills. Your man votes yes your state pays more. Your man votes no, your state does not pay. The citizens and companies of states that elect the biggest spenders would pay the highest tax. No free rides for states. Your man votes no, you do not receive program benefits.
Provide an alternate minimum tax on every dollar earned of 15% gross, that is without exemptions. No tax free people. You have an income, you pay something. Eliminate the progressiveness of the tax structure over a 3 year period.
Cut the number of departments to 8.
States to collect all taxes and pass to the Federal the feds share. Eliminate the money trail to Washington then back to the chosen.
A decade ago, Oldsmobile went. Last year, Pontiac. Saturn, Saab and Hummer were discontinued. A thousand GM dealerships shut down.
To those who grew up in a “GM family,” where buying a Chrysler was like converting to Islam, what happened to GM was deeply saddening.
Yet the amputations had to be done — or GM would die.
And the same may be about to happen to the American Imperium.
Its birth can be traced to World War II, when America put 16 million men in uniform and sent millions across the seas to crush Nazi Germany and Japan. After V-E and V-J Day, the boys came home.
But with the Stalinization of half of Europe, the fall of China, and war in Korea came NATO and alliances with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and Australia that lasted through the Cold War.
In 1989, however, the Cold War ended dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the retirement of the Red Army from Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union and Beijing’s abandonment of world communist revolution.
Overnight, our world changed. But America did not change.
As Russia shed her alliances and China set out to capture America’s markets, Uncle Sam soldiered on.
We clung to the old alliances and began to add new allies. NATO war guarantees were distributed like credit cards to member states of the old Warsaw Pact and former republics of the Soviet Union.
We invaded Panama and Haiti, smashed Iraq, liberated Kuwait, intervened in Somalia and Bosnia, bombed Serbia, and invaded Iraq again — and Afghanistan. Now we prepare for a new war — on Iran.
Author Lawrence Vance has inventoried America’s warfare state.
We spend more on defense than the next 10 nations combined.
Our Navy exceeds in firepower the next 13 navies combined. We have 100,000 troops in Iraq, 100,000 in Afghanistan or headed there, 28,000 in Korea, over 35,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany. By the Department of Defense’s “Base Structure Report,” there are 716 U.S. bases in 38 countries.
Chalmers Johnson, who has written books on this subject, claims DOD is minimizing the empire. He discovered some 1,000 U.S. facilities, many of them secret and sensitive. And according to DOD’s “Active Duty Military Personnel Strengths by Regional Area and by Country,” U.S. troops are now stationed in 148 countries and 11 territories.
Estimated combined budgets for the Pentagon, two wars, foreign aid to allies, 16 intelligence agencies, scores of thousands of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our new castle-embassies: $1 trillion a year.
While this worldwide archipelago of bases may have been necessary when we confronted a Sino-Soviet bloc spanning Eurasia from the Elbe to East China Sea, armed with thousands of nuclear weapons and driven by imperial ambition and ideological hatred of us, that is history now.
It is preposterous to argue that all these bases are essential to our security. Indeed, our military presence, our endless wars and our support of despotic regimes have made America, once the most admired of nations, almost everywhere resented and even hated.
Liquidation of this empire should have begun with the end of the Cold War. Now it is being forced upon us by the deficit-debt crisis. Like GM, we can’t kick this can up the road any more, because we have come to the end of the road.
Republicans will fight new taxes. Democrats will fight to save social programs. Which leaves the American empire as the logical lead cow for the butcher’s knife.
Indeed, how do conservatives justify borrowing hundreds of billions yearly from Europe, Japan and the Gulf states — to defend Europe, Japan and the Arab Gulf states? Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billion annually from China — to defend Asia from China? Is it not a symptom of senility to borrow from all over the world in order to defend that world?
In their Mount Vernon declaration of principles, conservatives called the Constitution their guiding star. But did not the author of that constitution, James Madison, warn us that wars are the death of republics?
Under Bush II, conservatives, spurning the wisdom of their fathers, let themselves be seduced, neo-conned into enlisting in a Wilsonian crusade that had as its declared utopian goal “ending tyranny in our world.”
How could conservatives whose defining virtue is prudence and who pride themselves on following the lamp of experience have been taken into camp by the hustlers and hucksters of empire?
Yet, now that Barack Obama has embraced neo-socialism, Republicans are about to be given a second chance. And just as Rahm Emanuel said liberal Democrats should not let a financial crisis go to waste, but exploit it to ram through their agenda, the right should use the opportunity of the fiscal crisis to take an axe to the warfare state.
Ron Paul’s victory at CPAC may be a sign the prodigal sons of the right are casting off the heresy of neoconservatism and coming home to first principles.
I'd be satisfied if we had two political parties that valued work instead of dependency.
That alone would solve our debt problem.
Plus Marxism would finally crush under the weight of it's immorality...
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