Sunday, April 26, 2009

Step Two.....

They say the first step in solving a problem is admitting that there is a problem.

I was happy to see so many Republicans taking part in the TEA Party protests that took place last tax day, complaining that government had become to expensive, just like I was happy to hear Cal Thomas proclaim that both Democrats and Republicans were guilty of overstepping and overspending.

I'll be happier if some of those protesters realize and admit that all of this overstepping and overspending didn't start with Barack Obama and the Democrats. If they realize and admit that that the federal debt doubled under the watch of George Bush, and that the doubling started when Republicans controlled both branches of Congress.

I'll be even happier if some of those protesters decide to take the second step, and actually do something about the problem. When they realize that electing more Republicans in the next election won't solve most of what they were protesting about.

I've heard people claim that a lot of the protesters didn't really have any ideas or solutions for solving the problem. I've heard claims they were just mad. That may or may not be the case, but it really doesn't matter. At least they've taken the first step, in admitting that there is a problem.

There are a lot of ways to trim government spending. Libertarians have been offering them for years. Here are some of the milder ideas. You can find more in the Cato Institute’s “Handbook for Policymakers, Seventh Edition.”

• Avert the oncoming fiscal crisis in Social Security by indexing initial benefits to changes in prices, instead of wages. Saves $47 billion annually by 2018. Without reforms like this, the program will go bankrupt or force trillions of dollars in destructive new taxes or borrowing.
• Turn Medicare into a block grant and freeze federal spending, forcing states to pursue cost-cutting reforms. Saves $227 billion annually by 2018.
• Eliminate the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, a $352 million corporate welfare program.
• Eliminate the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, another $369 million in corporate welfare.
• Eliminate the Energy Department’s nuclear energy research programs, $695 million in welfare that should be undertaken by nuclear energy investors.
• Turn Head Start over to private charities, saving $687 million annually. Since its inception Head Start has shown no substantive increase in inner-city literacy rates.
• Eliminate the Bureau of Indian Affairs, saving nearly $2.5 billion a year.
• Eliminate funding for the United Nations and other international programs, saving nearly $1.6 billion annually.
• Eliminate the Legal Services Corporation, saving $350 million annually.
• Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, $278 million a year in welfare for wealthy arts patrons.
• Eliminate the Small Business Administration, $530 million in welfare for businesses.
• Eliminate the $935 million a year in Postal Service subsidies and force them to further privatize operations.

Those are just a few cuts, which alone save taxpayers $282.3 billion. I'm sure many more will be suggested in the next four years. Hopefully some of those suggestions will come from mad Republicans. Hopefully some will come from voters who aren't all that mad, but still realize we have a problem.

Hopefully they will vote like they really want to solve the problem.

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