The Tea Party Debt Commission, a project of the FreedomWorks organization, is working on the same goal as the Congressional debt commission [sic], that of devising a means of reducing the nation’s debt. Rather than playing small ball, the way the Congress’ commission is, though, the TPDC is looking for a $9 trillion reduction over the next 10 years. Further, the TPDC, unlike the Democrats on Congress’ commission, is looking to do this without raising taxes.
In support of this goal, the TPDC polled “activists across the country,” says The Daily Caller, for the top 10 sources of budget cuts, and they got these:
1. Repeal Obamacare
2. Reduce duplicative purchases of Pentagon supplies
3. Eliminate the Department of Education
4. Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
5. Reduce discretionary spending to 2008 level
6. Block grant Medicaid
7. End ethanol tax credits
8. Sell needless federal buildings
9. Eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development
10. Reduce Medicare teaching subsidies
Naturally, I have my own view, and I have a bit more than 10.
1. Repeal Obamacare
2. Repeal Dodd-Frank
3. Privatize Social Security and Medicare
4. Push the States to privatize Medicaid, and block grant Medicaid’s Federal transfer payments, reducing each State’s payment by 10% of the 2010 total transfer to that State each succeeding year until the block grants are gone
5. Open insurance to interstate sales on free market principles
6. Eliminate the Department of Education
7. Eliminate EPA
8. Eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
9. Eliminate HUD
10. Eliminate all “green” and all oil and gas subsidies
11. Cap Federal tax collections at 20% of GDP
12. Cap Federal spending at 95% of the average Federal tax collections over the preceding five years, with the excess collections going directly to paying down our national debt.
13. Cap Federal borrowing at 20% of GDP unless the President declares a national emergency and both the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader concur.
14. When the current national debt falls to that level, re-cap Federal tax collections at 95% of that prior limit.
While it’s useful to reduce Defense spending—and the spending by all the other Departments as well—through efficient-izing the Department’s spending through eliminating duplication, i.e., rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse, in general, this is easier said than done, and we need something done now. The same difficulty applies to “needless” federal buildings. It’s always a good idea to get rid of excess, to a point. Maybe it’s better, though, to keep real estate in the government’s back pocket against future need, and lease the excess, instead.
Privatizing our health and retirement accounts, in addition to saving all those expenditures, leaves the tax money that isn’t funding those programs, anymore anyway, in our hands. This both gives us the wherewithal to fund our own needs, and it leaves that money in the hands of those who are, empirically, better equipped and more skilled to do intelligent investing than our government has shown itself to be.
On eliminating all energy subsidies, neither “green” nor hydrocarbon energy sources need them. The oil and gas industry will still make money without the subsidies, especially if impeding regulations also are eliminated. If the “green” industry can’t compete in a free market without subsidies (and without impeding, or facilitating, regulations), that merely demonstrates that “green” technology isn’t ready for prime time. In addition to which, the American people are fully capable of making our own decisions, via our free market, concerning our energy needs; we don’t need to be told what to do by government subsidy or EPA diktat.
We don’t need to privatize the FMs. We need to eliminate them. If our free market wants a means of “securitizing” mortgage loans—if there really is a market niche for this—the appropriate businesses will start with the appropriate entrepreneurs. Besides, given the shenanigans of the FMs, there would need to be a 100% replacement of management all the way down to the secretarial pool (to date myself) supervisor before those two institutions could be trusted again.
Reducing discretionary spending to 2008 levels is a nice start, but it doesn’t address the long-term problem of too much spending—unless the pollees want discretionary spending permanently capped at 2008 levels. There are two reasons such a cap, temporary or permanent, is insufficient, though. The first is that a fixed, hard number doesn’t take into account future unforeseen, or future economic growth. It would be better to cap at a percentage of GDP. Also, capping discretionary spending only addresses a relatively small part of Federal spending; it ignores entitlement spending (which is a terribly indicative name for that category of spending, but it’s what we have). “Entitlement” spending needs to be severely curtailed, also.