President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was given the seemingly impossible task of crafting a budgetary blueprint to head off the country’s looming debt crisis in a way both Democrats and Republicans could accept. The commission’s final report was therefore predictable — with elements Republicans and Democrats could both like and dislike.
A year ago I discussed problems that the Federal Aviation Administration was having in trying to implement an overhaul of the nation’s air traffic control system. The “NextGen” overhaul would replace old-fashioned radar technology with modern satellite-based GPS navigation.
President Obama’s Fiscal Commission has produced a serious and sobering analysis of the government’s budget mess, and it provides some of the needed solutions. Three of the report’s main themes are on target: the need to make government leaner, the need to cut business taxes to generate economic growth, and the need to impose tighter budget rules to discipline spending.
An indicator of the incoming House Republican majority’s seriousness about cutting spending will be which members the party selects to head the various committees.
The disability insurance component of Social Security was created in 1956 to provide income support to individuals aged 50 to 64 who were permanently disabled. As is typical with government programs, eligibility and benefits were greatly expanded over the subsequent decades.
The Obama administration is supporting a two-year freeze on federal pay. I haven’t seen the details yet, but this appears to be a good start at getting excessive government pay under control.
In October, I speculated that the upcoming elections could be the nail in the coffin for the Obama administration’s plan for a nationwide system of high-speed rail. Indeed, some notable gubernatorial candidates who ran, in part, on opposition to federal subsidies for HSR in their states proceeded to win. However, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made it clear in a recent speech to HSR supporters that the administration intends to push ahead.
The Office of Management and Budget was recently pleased to announce that the rate of improper payments made by federal agencies decreased from 5.65 percent to 5.49 percent last year. There’s just one problem: the total price tag increased by $15 billion to $125 billion.
Chris Edwards has released a Plan to Cut Federal Spending and Balance the Federal Budget.
The ban on spending earmarks adopted this past week by Republicans in the House and Senate represents a Round One victory for the tea party over a GOP establishment that took pork-barrel spending to a new high (or perhaps low) during the Bush years. Congressional Democrats – still reeling from their electoral pummeling – are about to find themselves largely alone in maintaining a practice that represents corruptive policymaking at its worst.