In the mid-1990s, Amtrak president Thomas Downs claimed that the perpetually taxpayer-dependent railroad was “on a glide path to profitability.” In reality, Amtrak was on a glide path to bankruptcy without continuing taxpayer subsidies.
The nation is facing a fiscal emergency. Debt is exploding and federal spending exceeds revenues by more than $1 trillion a year. To fix the problem, policymakers should pursue reforms on two paths.
A wage freeze for federal workers is the vote winner in the House Republican YouCut poll this week. YouCut is designed to gather citizen input online regarding which federal programs to cut.
Analysts across the ideological spectrum generally agree that the government’s regulatory bodies fail far too frequently. However, analysts seem to learn different lessons from this experience.
Paul Light, an expert on the federal bureaucracy, has written a thoughtful essay
in the Wall Street Journal
that examines several cost-cutting efforts the government should undertake. Light suggests saving hundreds of billions of dollars by trimming managerial fat, eliminating positions through attrition, and making government employees more productive. He also suggests eliminating duplicative functions and unproductive programs such as agriculture subsidies
Republican Whip Eric Cantor unveiled the GOP’s “YouCut” website
last week, which includes five possible spending cuts for citizens to vote on. The “winner” is then brought to the House floor for a vote. Although enlisting citizens to help Congress start cutting the bloated government is a good idea, the GOP’s cutting choices last week only amounted to 0.017 percent
from the $3.7 trillion federal budget.
In a slap to taxpayers present and future, the Senate recently voted down Sen. John McCain’s amendment to the financial reform bill passed yesterday that would have capped the cost of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. It would also have put them in the federal budget
in the near term and then wound down their operations. All Republicans voted for it, while all Democrats except Senators Russ Feingold (WI) and Evan Bayh (IN) voted against it.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reviewed the life of Phyllis McClure, who was an advocate for federal education spending in low-income neighborhoods.
House Republicans proposed some small cuts to the federal budget on their new YouCut website last week. I noted that the GOP cuts amounted to just 0.017 percent of the federal budget, and suggested that the conservative party in Congress could do much better. Below I’ve listed 10 terminations that would save about $380 billion a year, which is more than 10 percent of total federal spending.
House Republicans unveiled a bold strategy to cut 0.017 percent from the $3.7 trillion federal budget this week. Republican Whip Eric Cantor unveiled the GOP’s “YouCut” website, which includes five possible spending cuts for citizens to vote on. Mr. Cantor promised to take the favored cut to the House floor next week for members to consider.
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