Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm on board - mostly...

I Can Balance the Budget
John Stossel

Aside from the war on drugs and the troop withdrawals from Japan, Germany and Britain I'm on board. That is not to say that we could either get more for the $47 billion we spend on the war on drugs (i.e., they waste probably 1/2 that if they are a typical government department) and lord knows we could cut $150 billion from the military without anyone noticing, just by providing a little oversight and accountability. I would add that we could abolish the IRS (or about 95% of it, anyway), simply by instituting a "Fair Tax" and at the same time light a fire on investment in the U.S. the likes of which has never been seen. Maybe Stossel could calculate that savings.

Of course, the Fair Tax , especially when combined with a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would strip all the power from Washington. Suddenly, legislators would not be able to create sweet heart deals and tax loop holes for their big donors. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Oh, I'd also:

1) Raise congress person's & senator's salaries to $500,000 & $1,000,000/ yr annually;

2) Limit congress people to 3 terms and senators to 2 terms and no congress person or senator could serve in either capacity consecutively;

3) Strip them of all their benefits (i.e., government pension, house gym gets privatized and must make a profit, along with the cafeteria, the barber shop, et. al....) and make them pay all their own expenses for travel, etc..

4) Cut their staff budgets to 25% of current levels. After all, once the Fair Tax is in place and all those other departments Stossel recommends closing are gone there won't be much left to do anyway.

5) They should also be banned from returning to Washington as a lobbyist for 6 years after leaving office.

6) Legislators would have to give absolute transparency to campaign contributions regardless of how large or small, as well as, make their meeting schedule available for public viewing.

6) While we are at it, how about mandating they could only spend 90 days in any year in session and only another 90 days having hearings. That ought to cut down on the creation of more stupid laws....

Other than that, I believe Stossel nails it...

His conclusion:

As the bureaucrats complain about proposals to make tiny cuts, it's good to remember that disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year. But even a timid Congress could make swift progress if it wanted to. If it just froze spending at today's levels, it would almost balance the budget by 2017. If spending were limited to 1 percent growth each year, the budget would balanced in 2019. And if the crowd in Washington would limit spending growth to about 2 percent a year, the red ink would almost disappear in 10 years.

As you see, the budget can be cut. Only politics stand in the way.

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