Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bilbo's Recommendations for Budget Cuts or Plus Ups

Is Congress still in recess? It's hard to tell, as it's difficult to tell if they're actually doing anything, anyhow. I assume it's still in recess because the level of ad hominem attacks and useless finger-pointing is somewhat lower than usual. And the President may still be in Florida playing golf, who can tell? Actually, we may be better off with everyone out of town. I need to think that one over.

Anyhow, one of the things that frosts my knickers about the ongoing ass-clownery in DC is the fact that everyone seems to agree that the government spends too much money. This is true. You and I, and other Real People, would be in jail or the poorhouse if we spent money like the government does. Of course, we are not able to generate money by levying taxes ... most of us actually have to have jobs. You remember those, right? Where you do work and someone pays you for it, as opposed to Congress, where you do nothing and get paid for it ... by people who have no jobs.

Something's wrong here.

The big issue is that while everyone agrees that the government spends too much money, and that "the budget needs to be cut," nobody in a position to do the cutting can agree on what should be cut. In broad, general terms Republicans want to cut things like entitlement programs, science, and education and plus up defense, while Democrats want to cut defense and plus up entitlement programs, science, and education. Unfortunately, nobody wants to get any more detailed than that, because it would gore the ox represented by some important voting bloc.

Enter Bilbo, stage slightly right.

Here are some of the things I would cut*, and some of the things on which I would increase spending:

Part 1 - Cuts:

Foreign aid of any kind to any country in which a US Embassy is attacked by a mob. They clearly don't need us, and we need them like submarines need screen doors.

Subsidies to any industry that exports jobs to other countries. Why reward companies which don't support the larger economy by giving people jobs?

Subsidies to the oil and gas industries. When you get record profits, chances are you don't need tax advantages and subsidies.

All tax advantages and shelters for persons with a gross income in excess of a million dollars.

Withdraw all military forces from Europe and close all bases there. I had three wonderful assignments in Europe over my career, but I doubt that we really need those bases any more.

Close embassies in smaller countries and consolidate diplomatic representation in regional embassies covering two or more countries.

Eliminate all free public services for persons in the country illegally.

Part 2 - Plus-Ups:

Block grants to public schools and libraries. Let them decide how to spend it based on their needs.

Student loan programs, because an educated electorate is vital to a democracy. Of course, an educated electorate is anathema to both major political parties, so we'd be in for a fight on this one.

Health care programs. People who are sick don't generally work, pay taxes, and contribute to the economy (other than to the health care industry). Programs that provide affordable (not free) health care should be thought of as a long-term investment rather than a short-term cost.

Infrastructure repair and upgrade. Many of our schools, highways, bridges, sewers, water purification facilities, and similar infrastructure elements are in dire condition. By spending money to fix them, we can also put construction workers and the workers who supply them back to work.

Okay, these are a few of my suggestions. Are they practical and politically do-able? Maybe. But I've at least put some ideas on paper. Or electrons. Whatever.

What are your ideas? Leave me a comment.

Have a good day. More thoughts on Thursday.


* This is a short, visceral-level list, and I recognize that as it stands, it won't cut nearly enough to help fix the current mess. It is, however, relatively specific and draws a line in the economic sand ... which is more than I can say for either party. 


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Why not have a special tax penalty on companies that outsource jobs?

End subsidies for ethanol, tobacco, and other agricultural products like that.

Tax incentives for owners of hybrid cars; and a tax on gas guzzlers.

I really like the idea of closing embassies in country that riot in front of U.S. embassies, and withdrawing troops from Europe. Let the EU shoulder the load.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I'm still for paying congress the minimum wage. I'm also for making them pay for part of their health care like most Americans do.

Duckbutt said...

Maintaining and repairing the infrastructure, both government- and privated-owned, is very important and ultimately a savings in thelong run. Unfortunately, some states have been neglecting this.

Why not use incentives and penalties to channel Congress's behavior? And why not cut back on congressional staff?

Banana Oil said...

I like the idea of federal money going to states but not being too specific as to how the money should be spent. I think that locals are in a better position to judge actual needs and wants than is some outsider in Washington.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

People who are sick don't work or pay taxes? REally you believe that? Hmmm.....

And we do now have affordable health care. $385 a month we pay for our health care that is offered through our govt. We do work and pay a shit load of taxes and are sick. Thankfully they didn't agree with you on that one.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

oops - that is $385 for one sick person a month.

Mike said...

1% surtax on every form of income to pay for the latest wars.

allenwoodhaven said...

I LOVE the idea of congress getting paid minimum wage. That is inspired.

I would cut Defense spending by stopping programs that even the military doesn't want, and reducing bases around the world, especially Europe. I would end subsidies to any industry that is posting profits or sends jobs overseas. I would end agricultural subsidies for those huge farm companies and give them only to small farms. I would also end tax breaks for those making over a million a year.

I would spend more on traditional and technological infrastructure, education, health care, and state/community block grants.