Resistance Begins at Ohm!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Budget is about choices

Why not just cut all the budgets by 20%? Because it means you do all that you do less effectively. Rather than do a mediocre job of everything, how about doing what you do well and quit doing the things that don't make as much difference?
Besides, what is fair about cutting medicare and social security by 20% while we continue to fund frog sex and send bazillions to Pakistan which has no income tax?
Congress needs to make choices. Not between across the board cuts of 15% or 20%; not between tax increases for 5% or 15% of the tax paying population. Congress needs to decide that we are going to stop doing a lot of things because they are less important than other things - and we can't just do 20 or 30% less of the important things (like border protection, security and veterans benefits). But we may need to do things like:
  • Cut the Congressional budget - especially staffing - by 25%. If we are going to shrink government, we don't need as many people on the hill working on all the assorted committees.
  • Stop subsidizing things like oil, farm products and recycling programs. Let the market do what the market does best. Instead of increasing the gas tax, cut the energy subsidies. If you want to ensure more stability, think about managing short term speculative investments, especially for commodities.
  • Get real about the cost of security vis-a-vis the benefits. Don't intelligence and identity matching make a lot more sense than random (strip) searches at the airport?
  • Encourage the activities that "produce" and cut off the activities that don't. If oil drilling results in revenue, then do more of it, not less of it. Parks are nice. But solvency is more important. Doing is productive. Not doing (like not planting corn, or not drilling, or not fishing) is simply wasting resources.
  • Quit spending the money overseas that is subsidizing corrupt and two-faced governments. 
  • Quite spending money domestically that is subsidizing corrupt and irresponsible state governments.
  • In addition to cutting budgets, cut the regulatory burden on business - especially small business - by 20%
  • Similarly, get out of state government business. Define the desired results, but not the methods. 
  • Look at more than just medical malpractice as part of tort reform. The lawsuit lottery has to end.
  • Consider this: if there isn't a reasonable expectation of reward, people are not likely to take risks. That includes the risk to begin businesses, invest in the market, make career decisions.
  • Quit creating and expanding all these agencies to collect data - it is incredibly expensive to collect and maintain data when you consider the privacy and security requirements as well as the "rent." For example, why is OMB collecting information on individual medical insurance claims? That cannot be a productive use of funds. I'm sure BC/BS is going to be a lot more resourceful managing fraud in their policies.
Just some ideas, I'm sure if you started a discussion with voting options for budget ideas, you could come up with a lot more.

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