May 24, 2010
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.
Citizens obviously want bigger cuts than the GOP is offering them, and that’s why they choose the largest item to cut in week one: a $2.5 billion welfare program. Unfortunately, a floor vote to cut the program failed by a count of 177-240.
This week voters are offered choices amounting to .065 percent of the budget, so a little larger than last week. They can choose:
1. Robert C. Byrd Scholarships ($42 million in savings): Named for the pompous and long-winded Democratic Senator from West Virginia who has littered his home state with pork projects named after himself. In the world of federal higher education subsidies, the Byrd Scholarships amount to chump change, but it would be a start.
2. Eliminate the Proposed Federal Employee Pay Raise ($2 billion): Federal worker pay is out of control and needs to be cut. A freeze would be a start. If voters choose this one it will be the second week in a row that they’ve picked the option with the biggest savings.
3. Suspend Federal Land Purchases ($266 million): Uncle Sam owns almost 30 percent of the land in the United States. Not only should federal land purchases be suspended, federal lands should be sold off to help pay down the deficit and allow the private sector to put the land to better economic use.
4. Terminate Funding for UNESCO ($81 million): The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization represent big global government and isn’t the sort of outfit taxpayers should be forced to fund. Being forced to fund our own big government is bad enough.
5. Eliminate Mohair Subsidies ($1 million): Mohair subsidies were created in the 1950s to help provide warm clothes for troops in the Korean War. The subsidies were actually eliminated in 1995, but the program returned in the 2002 farm bill. In the world of federal agriculture subsidies, this cut represents chump change. So Republicans: you can’t fool us—we know you are not serious about restraining the budget until you put subsidies for wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton on the chopping block.