John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


10 Ways to Cut Spending

Posted on April 2, 2010
Everyone talks about cutting spending, but nobody does anything about it.  Undoubtedly, government continues to get too big and it spends too much, just as government services seem to worsen and public infrastructure nears collapse.

There are a lot of things government needs to do but isn’t doing very well at the moment.  The Washington D.C. Metro system seems to have a crash at least once a week.  The D.C. bus system kills somebody once a month.  Bridges are either falling down or seem to be close to falling down across the country.  Our sewer systems (especially in New York and other big cities) were built more than a century ago, and they are nearing the end of their shelf live.  The water situation in the West is becoming toxic and needs a major investment.  In the Southeast, the levee system in New Orleans is still not fixed, and the Everglades needs a huge investment or it will be lost.  Our highway system needs to be a long-term investment to keep up with population growth.  We need a new broadband super-highway so that we can continue to keep up with exponential cyber-growth.  And of course, our military needs to continue to invest in the newest technologies, to not only to be able to fight the terrorists, but also to be able to compete with the Chinese.  We need to modernize our nuclear weapons and we need to invest critical resources in fighting cyber-crime.

All of this takes money…a lot of money.  And we don’t have it right now.

We have two choices.  We can raise a lot of taxes or we can cut spending on things that aren’t essential.  As we near a fiscal crisis, we probably shouldn’t put a tax increase off the table forever (it is better than losing our AAA rating, for example), but let’s just focus on spending cuts for the time being.  Here are ten ways we can spend less money, at the federal, state and local level:

1) Raise the retirement age to 75.  People shouldn’t be unproductive for the last 20 years of their lives.  And playing golf in Florida is not productive.  It might be fun.  But it isn’t productive.  Social Security was supposed to kick in at 65 when life expectancy was 67.  Well, life expectancy is now around 90.  Raise the retirement age and keep people active.

2) Make government pensions defined contribution, not defined benefit.  Let the government match the contributions of the employees, but not pay out ungodly sums of money to people who already were able to work thanks to the taxpayers for 30 years.  Most corporations have already gone this route.  The government should follow suit.

3) Cut farm subsidies.  Farm subsidies make rich farmers richer and make food more expensive.  They are non-sensical.  They should be cut back dramatically.

4) Repeal the President’s health care plan.  We can’t afford it.  Let’s repeal it.

5) Repeal the prescription drug plan and allow drugs to be imported from Canada.  Let the free market work when it comes to drugs.  I like the plan, but we can’t afford it.  Sorry.

6) Make the Congress live under a balanced budget.  A balanced budget will help with our interest payments, which will help with our debt payments.

7) End all of the export promotion programs and get rid of most of the Department of Commerce.  Business would be far better off with a lower corporate tax rate than it would with government mumbo-jumbo.  Get rid of it.

8) Have the Department of Education focus only on higher education and get them to figure out why college costs too much.  All of the other stuff is a huge waste of time, effort and money, and should be done by the states anyway.

9) Require that anybody who get a welfare check take continuing education courses, require that anybody who has a child out of wedlock take a parenting course, and require that anybody whose offspring spends time in jail have their wages garnished to help pay for their incarceration.

10) Make it a general law that nobody shall get more cash from the government than they actually pay to the government.  The government should provide for the general welfare of the people, not the specific benefit of a few lucky persons.

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