BRAC to balance the budget!

With all the debate these days over the debt ceiling and the need to cut spending, I’ve been pondering new, innovative, and relatively politically-palatable ideas for cutting federal spending. I can’t help but to keep coming back to the Base Realignment and Closure Commissions (BRAC) that have saved hundreds of billions of dollars for taxpayers by shutting down unneeded military bases.

I’d be interested in readers’ thoughts, but I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a more effective tool for cutting spending than BRAC. So, why not use similar commissions to build political support for (and overcome regional and special-interest objections to) spending reductions.

Specifically, I’m thinking that something along these lines could easily be used to sell off and dispose of federal lands and buildings and to close unnecessary military bases overseas. I also wonder if something similar could be used by the US Post Office which — although theoretically private — is still very much burdened by federal rules and regulations that cause it to lose billions of dollars annually.

I’d be very interested in reader input on this issue. I think it could be a real winner, but I’d like to hear thoughtful suggestions from all sides. What other areas of the federal (and state) budget could this procedure be used for? I’m thinking higher ed and closing branch campuses, but am open to other ideas.

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2 Replies to “BRAC to balance the budget!”

  1. Great idea Paul.

    You’re right the BRACs over the years have done a great job reducing excess military installations. Unfortunately they are subject to political pull thus delaying or keeping open more bases than necessary. We saw this with Cannon AFB and the “tacos” at Kirtland. And unfortunately, BRAC has not gone far enough. Why America keeps a large military presence in Europe is beyond me. I can understand a few “hubs” but nothing more.

    You have hit on property. It would be great to see full disclosure of all properties (developed and undeveloped) for all government agencies. I think we would all be surprised. A BRAC type commission would bring visibility and I’m sure demand to reduce its footprint.

    The post office is difficult given the Constitutional mandate. Seems though Congress could give it authority to stand on its own with Congressional oversight as they have done with the Fed.

    Speaking locally, have you ever seen a list of all university owned properties? I know that UNM owns property in strange places. There is an American Legion on Central Ave and Elizabeth. Behind the legion hall is a vacant lot owned by UNM. Why.

  2. First thing I would like to see is some “Shared Sacrifice”. Here is a suggestion for Congress:
    All elected officials receive a 20% cut in pay.
    All appointed officials receive a 15% cut in pay.
    All other federal government employes receive a 10% cut in pay.
    Excluded from these cuts are all uniformed sevice members of the rank E7 and below and O3 and below.

    This program could be extended to State, County, and City employees if the exclusion is extended
    to law enforcement and public safety employees on hourly pay.

    Nuff said there. Problem with BRAC is the NIMBY’s. Just like getting in a dump, oil well or some other “unfavorable” project, we get the “Not In My Back Yard”
    folks. If we started using federal lands as the reusable resources they are, we could increase “investments” aka tax revenues. Originally the Forests were to be used for grazing, lumber, and mineral resources now they are protected until they “clear cut burn”, overgrown and poorly managed. We really have some non productive military installations that could be reduced, especially in foreign lands where we are not welcomed.
    As for the postal system, it really is federal, the Fed is federal in name only and they are not even listed in the blue pages of any phone books. A friend of mine told me his dad worked for the Fed in KC and I had him ask his dad some questions and sure enough, he came back and told me I was correct. The dad did not work for the government.
    Last I heard, the property Winrock was/is on is owned by UNM.
    Big bag of worms you are opening, but it needs to be opened.

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