Government & Politics

Long Past Time to Rid DC Sty of Federal Pork

Balancing the budget is a simple as one, two, three.

Louis DeBroux · Jul. 6, 2016

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.” —Thomas Jefferson, 1802, Letter to Thomas Cooper

Our federal government is an all-consuming, gargantuan parasite growing ever larger with each passing day. Under the rubric of providing for our every need from cradle to grave, it consumes more and more of our labor. It is, to quote Reagan, “like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

Yet one organization has a blueprint for making this ocean of red ink recede — Citizens Against Government Waste. CAGW has compiled a list of wasteful government spending each year since 1983, and the incorporation of some of its recommendations for the federal budget has resulted in spending cuts of $1.4 trillion.

A short sampling of potential taxpayer savings from this year’s report, Prime Cuts 2016, includes:

  • Reducing improper Medicare payments by 50% over five years ($4.3 billion). “Medicare is plagued with the highest reported amount of improper payments of any federal program,” CAGW says. “Because of its chronic vulnerability to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, the [Government Accountability Office] has for 20 years designated the Medicare program as ‘high risk.’”

  • Eliminating federal subsidies for Amtrak ($1.4 billion in one year, $7.1 billion in five years). Amtrak, a government-run railroad, has been in operation for 45 years at a cost to taxpayers of more than $40 billion. It has never turned a profit and now costs taxpayers almost a billion dollars a year, leading Amtrak’s founder to call it a “massive failure.”

  • Eliminating the so-called ENERGY STAR program ($52 million), which supposedly identifies energy-efficient products, yet a GAO audit found 20 made-up products were submitted for certification, with 15 approved.

  • Other recommendations include privatizing the fiscally endangered United States Postal Service (USPS), which lost $5.1 billion last year; eliminating the Market Access Program, which would save $1 billion over five years; eliminating sugar, dairy, and peanut subsidies, which would save a combined $12 billion over five years; replacing the $1 bill with a $1 coin, which would save $730 million over five years; preventing the Federal Communications Commission from increasing regulations on the Internet; and, increasing the use of software asset management,” according to a press release from Citizens Against Government Waste.“

If fully implemented, CAGW’s recommendations would cut hundreds of billions of dollars in annual federal spending and would balance the federal budget within five years, a feat not accomplished since 1998, when Newt Gingrich-led Republicans forced Democrat Bill Clinton to sign off on four straight balanced budgets.

In 1792, James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution,” wrote in a letter to Edmund Pendleton, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”

It should be obvious by now that the Democrats (ever-expanding welfare, ObamaCare, etc.) and even many Republicans (Ex-Im Bank, a corporate welfare slush fund) have no great desire to control government spending. We have a national debt of nearly $20 trillion dollars, an unfathomable amount, and we are adding a half trillion dollars or more each year to that amount. Unless Americans citizens stand up and demand fiscal responsibility from Congress, it won’t be long before we see America make the Greek disaster seem minor by comparison.

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