American Elephants

Milton Friedman Explains: Soaking the Rich Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

A good spat over economics always inspires me to reach for Milton Friedman. He explains so clearly, with such good humor.

A $14 Trillion Debt Prompts A Bipartisan Effort to Cut Waste! by The Elephant's Child
March 14, 2011, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Politics | Tags: ,

Bipartisanship at work.  Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mark Udall (D-CO) have proposed a new congressional committee focused specifically and only on eliminating duplicative and wasteful government spending. This is one of the rare moves by a Democrat, a moderate one, to embrace spending cuts.

The federal government has made at least $125 billion in improper payments in the last year.  It spends $25 billion every year, maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.  Washington DC runs 342 economic development programs, 130 programs serving the disabled, 130 programs serving at-risk youth, and 90 early childhood development programs.

Government excels at creating new programs, but they seldom eliminate one. Democrats, who are impervious to evidence, are loath to end any program, and their inclination when faced with a faltering program which was created with good intentions, is to simply appropriate more money.

The bill would create a committee modeled after the successful “Byrd Committee” that cut domestic spending in the 1940s to help finance World War II.  This committee would regularly produce legislation to eliminate government waste.  Waste reduction bills would be given ‘fast-track” authority, guaranteeing a congressional vote that could not be filibustered.

Nearly all congressional committees make it a priority to protect their turf from spending cuts, and such a committee would provide a counterbalance.  Cutting waste is important, but isn’t going to balance the budget.  Waste cut from existing programs means fewer dollars that have to be cut from more essential programs. A common sense way to protect taxpayers.

And beyond that, it would impose a discipline on Congress, reminding them that their excesses were being monitored, and might well end up being designated as “waste.” Something that would occupy a prominent spot in the opposition’s campaign ads.  Sounds good to me!

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