Read “them” as both state and federal legislators, but let’s talk about Congress now. There is much talk presently about reductions in federal spending, and much talk about not being able to get cuts through both houses and past the President’s veto. Read the article excerpted below (and browse the other budget analyses on the Heritage Foundation site) and then call your Congressional reps and senators. This article talks about the spending and resulting deficits on an annual basis. Keep in mind that each annual deficit adds to the national debt — now projected at $14 trillion. People often confuse or become confused by references to the annual deficit versus the debt. Further confusing is the fact that most spending (or revenue) projections are made as to what will happen, cumulatively, over 10 years. This article discusses what is possible in one year.
Table 1 (not copied in this excerpt) sets forth $343 billion in available spending cuts for the new Congress to consider when it takes up the federal budget for FY 2012. Many of the cuts fall into six areas:Empowering state and local governments. Congress should focus the federal government on performing a few duties well and allow the state and local governments, which are closer to the people, to creatively address local needs in areas such as transportation, justice, job training, and economic development.Consolidating duplicative programs. Past Congresses have repeatedly piled duplicative programs on top of preexisting programs, increasing administrative costs and creating a bureaucratic maze that confuses people seeking assistance.Privatization. Many current government functions could be performed more efficiently by the private sector.Targeting programs more precisely. Corporate welfare programs benefit those who do not need assistance in the American free enterprise system. Other programs often fail to enforce their own eligibility requirements.Eliminating outdated and ineffective programs. Congress often allows the federal government to run the same programs for decades, despite many studies showing their ineffectiveness.Eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. Taxpayers will never trust the federal government to reform major entitlements if they believe that the savings will go toward “bridges to nowhere,” vacant government buildings, and Grateful Dead archives.
That is over 1/3 of $Trillion annually that can be cut. That can make a serious dent in recent fiscal follies. Over the past two years, Congress has added $2.7 trillion to the national debt (id.). Against a $14 trillion debt, that translates to a twenty-four percent increase in the national debt in only two years.
Go to the referenced article, read through Table 1 presented there, and see if there are any cuts with which you disagree. I am confident you won’t find many.
This article is a couple of months old now, and the new Congress (at least a large portion of the Republican majority in the House) is hard at work on finding ways to cut the budget. I am even somewhat optimistic that they all know that cuts are needed, but are without the personal and political courage to make the drastic decisions that appear to be needed.
Encourage them, pray for them, and then vote out the ones who don’t participate!