“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion dollar debt because we spend too much.” – Ronald Reagan
Truer words have never been spoken. Why is this so hard for politicians to understand? Probably because they are politicians not businessmen. It is time for America to look itself in the mirror and decide what kind of country we want to have – a government run “nanny state” where individual freedom and success is “sacrificed” for the “greater good” or an America that allows individual success to be rewarded and a government that follows its’ constitutional role?
The ongoing debate between the Republicans and Democrats has become exhausting. The never ending media coverage of the bickering is enough to disenfranchise most Americans but what is worse is the out of touch tone of the debate. Republicans want to reduce taxes and cut spending. The Democrats want to keep spending and raise taxes on the “rich”.
Also let’s not forget those “Patriotic Millionaires” they want their taxes raised – I guess they feel guilty about their success. But why do we need to raise their taxes? They can give as much as they want – just add a check box to the tax form for anyone who wants to pay more just like we have for the presidential campaign fund.
Here is the real bottom line – everyone is missing the real opportunity. Before we even start worrying about what programs to change, eliminate or whose benefits to cut, let’s first focus on the waste from inefficiency and fraud that we know exists at every level of the federal government. Too simple? Maybe but remember there probably hasn’t been a serious attempt at operational efficiency or cost control in Washington in the last 100 years. In business this is part of a never ending cycle to stay competitive or perish. However, the government has no competition so there is no imperative to be financially prudent. We have all heard the stories of agencies spending their full budget every year to avoid having it reduced.
Is there anyone out there that doubts that in a bureaucracy the size of the federal government there is not significant waste that could be reduced WITHOUT cutting into the core entitlements and services currently being offered? But do you hear politicians or bureaucrats talking about this – of course not!
So let’s try a little math. Let’s assume an annual federal budget of $3.7 trillion and for sake of argument, let’s say we could find 15% waste due to operating inefficiency, sloppy procurement practices and fraud. This hardly seems like a reach but the result would be a spending reduction of $555 billion off the original $3.7 trillion. The President could make such a demand of all government agencies by simply telling his cabinet that he is holding them responsible for the performance of their departments. After all aren’t government employees supposed to be professionals in their various fields of employment? Shouldn’t they be held accountable to a standard of performance similar to that of employees in private industry? If these workers would like to change the stereotype of government employees, one would think that they would embrace this challenge! Also this should become an annual challenge just like in private business, every year we build additional cost reduction and efficiency gains into our operating budgets, why shouldn’t the government do the same?
“Government does not have a revenue problem; government has a spending problem. Government does not have a revenue problem; government has a priority problem. It is time that we begin to fine tune our focus and decide what the priority of government ought to be.” – Marsha Blackburn
Unfortunately, part of the problem with this is it would result in a reduction of the federal workforce. This would be fought tooth and nail by the various unions that represent government employees. It would take courage and leadership for our senior leaders (both Democrats and Republicans) to go after these savings because there would be negative political consequences. But the truth is they are not in office to protect government jobs. By the way these jobs are a drag on the federal budget not a revenue generator so our leaders should be driving efficient operations to free up money for meeting our national needs. This approach doesn’t even begin to address other opportunities such as consolidation of redundant services, elimination of programs that are no longer valid or reform of entitlement programs and the tax code.
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” – Ronald Reagan
So before we start talking about which programs to eliminate, whose benefits to reduce or whose taxes to raise, let’s start with the most basic of fiscal responsibilities; let’s manage the beast that is the federal budget just like a successful private company would. Let’s focus on operating efficiency, good procurement practices and reducing fraud. After all, this seems like a $555 billion opportunity that all sides should be able to agree on.
Wake up, America! We are being scammed by the politicians. It is time to hold them accountable. They must eliminate waste, inefficiency and fraud before they cut benefits or raise taxes. Let’s change the conversation – contact your representatives and let them know we are on to them. We want accountable action and we want it now.
Restore the Republic, Reject politics as usual!
“Governments don’t reduce deficits by raising taxes on the people; governments reduce deficits by controlling spending and stimulating new wealth.” – Ronald Reagan
To see more specifics on ways to attack the deficit, see my earlier blog – How to Balance the Federal Budget, http://wp.me/pv8jP-mQ