By Frank Hill
Or at least a good song that stays in your head forever it seems.
'We could cut the federal budget in half...and still have a great military defense system, social safety net to take care of every poor person who needs it and help build the infrastructure and educational system we need to remain the greatest nation on earth'
You don't believe it?...
Go to this great CBO website, 'Reducing the Deficit' and call us in the morning. You will at least be one of the maybe dozens of people who have ever read this publication in its entirety.
Excluding incumbent Members of Congress, Senators and the President. Because apparently, they really just don't seem to care one whit about reducing the deficit, spending or ever balancing the budget.
The truth hurts, doesn't it?
We are willing to make this 'outrageous' claim simply because we have read every single page of this budget document backwards and forwards at least 4 times. If you have never read one single page of this document, then you really do not know what you are talking about, with all due respect. You are sort of like the people in the medieval days who listened to the Catholic priests give sermons and sing hymns in Latin...and you couldn't speak one word of Latin yourself.
Read it yourself. We had one person dispute our contention before we gave them the link to the budget and just recently, they came around to say: 'Both the Obama and the GOP budgets are sort of out of whack with reality, aren't they?'
'Good for you! Go to the head of the class!' was all we could say beaming with pride.
America is not great because of the size of our government and federal spending. We are 'great' because of the freedom and liberty we have to lead our lives as we see fit to pursue our dreams and ingenuity of our people and universities and business enterprises.
We need to reduce the impact of federal government on our lives and unleash the energy that got America to the place it was before we almost destroyed it 4 years ago in 2008. America grew strong when the size of the federal government relative to GDP was about 1% for most of our history and under 10% at the end of FDR's New Deal expansion.
It is close to 25% of GDP today.
We have been making the argument for these past 3 years now, as hard as that is to be believed, that the problem we have in Washington, and in most state capitals and local governments around the nation, is the unceasing proclivity of our elected officials to continue to spend money on programs they like and which they think will keep them in office forever...without ever having to raise taxes or cut spending elsewhere to pay for it.
Apparently, they were not educated in basic arithmetic at the very early stages of childhood because we all know that 'you can't get something for nothing'; 'balance is better than imbalance in most everything in this world' and 'we did not fall off the last turnip truck' so 'you can't fool all the people all of the time' as Abraham Lincoln once said.
Here's our contention: Every single federal program needs to be completely reviewed inside-and-out by Congress and evaluated for its efficacy and impact on the national good as a whole.
If it fails to meet strict criteria for performance and 'success', it needs to be eliminated.
If it meets some standard of success, it then needs to be examined for possible savings and reforms. Perhaps it needs to be modernized; many programs we now still fund were created between WWI and WWII and surely have become out-moded, unnecessary or inefficient in some manner of speaking.
Here's our proposal: Congress will take an entire session, two-years, starting January 2, 2013 and dissolve into the Committee of the Whole (meaning everyone in Congress has to sit through these sessions in the chamber with CSPAN lights and cameras on all the time) and go through the entire federal budget (cut-in-half above) and discuss it line-by-line in excruciating detail.
If it doesn't pass muster and 50%+1 don't vote for it, it is gone. Next item.
Once the entire budget is combed through, a Member can ask for a 're-do' and go back to revisit whether or not the Mohair Program in West Texas is important enough for national security to support with taxpayers dollars. One chance. If it fails again, it is gone completely.
Now, we all know that the biggest driver in the federal budget is the same thing driving up costs at home and in business: escalating health care costs. CBO has already said that the Obama Federal Takeover of our health care system is going to cost twice as much as previously predicted (big surprise there, huh?) and we all know how much more we are paying for health care now versus a decade ago, even if your employer is still paying for 50%+ of your health care premium.
We would propose that a Special Double-Secret Committee be formed to deal with the real cost-drivers in health care and report back to the Committee of the Whole with its recommendations to break the upward cost spiral in health care once and for all....and then have Congress vote on it in toto, up-or-down, right there on the floor of the House and Senate for all the world to see.
Defensive medicine, tort reform, liability insurance reform, duplicative medical practices, excessive paperwork, illegal double-billing by Medicare/Medicaid providers (up to 20% of all billings according to one auditing firm we know that does this sort of work on a daily basis), incentives for wellness, getting people to stop smoking, start exercising, quit drinking and over-eating so much that we are in danger of becoming the fattest, most unhealthy generation of human life forms that have ever walked this earth.....the list goes on forever it seems.
But is all has got to be done. January 2, 2013 would be a good time to start. NO recesses; no work periods back home; no junkets, no golf tournaments.
Just grind it out like the Founders did for 4 hot smelly months in Philadelphia, 1787 when they gave us this gift of freedom in the greatest nation ever established at that point in time.
Two years to clean up the mess the current and past incumbents have inflicted upon us as a nation doesn't seem to be too much of a sacrifice to ask, does it?
Elect people who will do this in the fall elections. Ask anyone of them on the campaign trail if they will do this or not. If they will, vote for them. If they won't, don't vote for them...they are not serious about facing the greatest problem we face today: fiscal disaster.
You'll feel better for having done so.
(Editor's Note: Frank Hill's resumé includes working as chief of staff for Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Alex McMillan, serving on the House Budget Committee and serving on the Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He takes on politics from a fiercely independent perspective at the blog Telemachus).