Taking on the federal budget

The Rio Grande Foundation primarily handles state and local issues, but if Washington doesn’t get its act together, we’re all in trouble. Now that Paul Ryan and President Obama have staked out their parties’ respective positions on the issues, I have my own analysis about what needs to be done and where the sides can work together.

Read the full article at NMPolitics.net.

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One Reply to “Taking on the federal budget”

  1. WHAT IS MISSING FROM INITIATION OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY? What is missing is — line item editing of the budget. For example, Foreign Aid. How many countries receive US foreign aid, and is it true that appropriation of foreign aid is an “all or none” vote of the Congress? If we want to send aid to Biafra, why should we be compelled to send aid to China as well — or more importantly Pakistan? Why is there no “oversight” on how the foreign aid money is spent and whether, over specific time intervals, there is no re-evaluation of “quid pro quo” in the form of friendliness toward the US? Why has our foreign policy become “words oriented” instead of results oriented?

    The US has become a “patsy” to the rest of the world — the proverbial Paper Tiger. We have developed a “proud history” of supporting world despotic leaders such as Battista, Aliendae, Marcos, Hussein, etc. (I’m not going to take time to look up the spelling of names), and now Obama has the gall to proclaim that Arab countries MUST end despotic rule and open their arms to democracy. It’s small wonder that we have earned a reputation for hypocrisy at home and around the world. We need to mind our own business (for a change) and not squander our money on ungrateful tyrants and “hopeful allies” such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. We are (I understand) sending foreign aid to Russia — our new friends since the proclamation of the end of the Soviet Union. And in return, what do we get? Respect — doesn’t seem to be happening. Alliance — what do we support (not just lip service) that they demonstrably support with us? (And just a few years ago we were covertly defending the Afghani tribesmen from them.) It’s time to cut the US money-umbilical with them and with a lot of other “ungrateful bastards” who have been “playing us like fiddles”. WE ARE DROWNING IN DEBT WHILE CONTINUING TO THROW MONEY TO TWO-FACED FRIENDS WHO ARE LAUGHING UP THEIR SLEEVES.

    And the President has the choice to accept the appropriations bill sent up by Congress or to veto it. Considering my feelings about the motives and competency of the current President, I wouldn’t change that. But a real leader would make Congress’s job of balancing the budget a lot easier. A “good” President would STUDY the bill, circle all the objectionable line items, STRONGLY SUGGEST CHANGES, and shut the country down with a giant VETO – VETO – VETO stamped across the package. There has to be so much waste and inefficiency ensconced in the “indispensible” portion of the budget which is passed on, year after year without scrutiny, that the first revision of the appropriations bill should be a “no brainer”. And yes, the military budget would be near the top of the list. But the “knee jerk” is to pull all the troops out of Afghanistan (or wherever), not to close down bases in remote countries which are merely “sucking up dollars”. The bureaucratic mindset is, “We want it all, and this is how we will get it. We’ll fire teachers until the classrooms are overcroweded. We’ll get the funding re-instated, and we won’t have to give up the sports allocations OR the multiple vice principals and paper shufflers.” Consequently, we don’t dare cut the educational meal budget because students who have good breakfasts learn better. How has that worked out? And justification of the military budget, and most other bureaucratic budgets, have also centered on elimination of necessary services rather than internal discipline and improvement of efficiency.

    The founding fathers found so few things that the federal government should be responsible for — AND EVERYTHING ELSE WAS ENTRUSTED TO THE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. What is the fear of dismantling the Federal Department of Education (for example), cutting the Federal Income Tax, and mandating that the states take care of their own educational problems? Are we worried that education in Iowa might become superior to education in California? So what? If that were to become the result, education in Iowa might end up becoming superior to education in India or Japan. You know, sort of like the position the United States held in the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century — when we led the world in technology, finance, and virtually every other category. And in most countries of the world, peaceful countries, we were envied and respected — OR — we were feared, by aggressor nations who merely wanted to take what we had. So we started giving away what we had — make friends — let the lion and the lamb sleep together. The world wasn’t ready for that, and it still is not ready for that. You can make friends with your pet dog; you can’t make friends with your pet rattlesnake.

    Picking the Federal Department of Education was only the arbitrary selection of a “starting point”. There are so many businesses that the Federal Government has no business participating in. And the problem with bureaucracy is centered in POWER and CORRUPTION. Look at corruption on the local level. The local government can “legislate” to allow land development for our “friendly neighbor” (our election supporter), for example, and to dis-allow land development to our “unfriendly neighbor”. On the local level, THAT IS CORRUPTION. On the federal level, that is anonymous, trivial, ecologically motivated, etc., etc. and cannot be undone without an investigative committee spending a lot of taxpayer dollars. (So we all lose either way.) Local people know their neighbors and will merely keep a scorecard and vote out this “set of rascals” (usually in favor of a “new set of rascals”). At the anonymous Federal level, power and corruption go hand in hand and are immune to corrective actions. I guarantee that if Charlie Rangle were directly answerable to the residents of Harlem for the quality of Harlem schools (instead of the Federal Department of Education being responsible for the quality of Harlem schools) his re-election year after year would not be automatic.

    OUR TAXATION AND GOVERNMENT CONTROL SHOULD BE “TRICKLE UP” INSTEAD OF “TRICKLE DOWN”. Our founding fathers instinctively knew this. They knew that a dictator (even though temporarily embodied by a benevolent individual) was the worst form of government, but a free society needs to govern itself. We can’t do that unless “the money stays at home”. When the government takes the tax dollars, they siphon off what they want for themselves (or just give it away) and send back whatever may be left over. Whenever the government takes responsibility for making our life better (or “fairer”, God forbid) they end up bankrupting the effort through ignorance, graft, inefficiency, and bureaucratic structure. Entitlements and “one size fits all” legislation buys votes at the expense of perpetuating all the “sinking ships” in our annual budget. OUR CONGRESS IS CURRENTLY MORE INTERESTED IN EXEMPTING THEMSELVES FROM THEIR OWN LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS THAN BALANCING THE BUDGET OR REDUCING THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT OR PROMOTING DEFENSIBLE FOREIGN POLICY. WHY DOES THE CONGRESS HAVE THEIR OWN, IMMEDIATELY VESTED, RETIREMENT PLAN (INSTEAD OF SOCIAL SECURITY) AND WHY ARE THEY EXEMPTING THEMSELVES FROM THE OBAMACARE MEDICAL PLAN? THE ONLY ISSUE WHICH APPEARS TO BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THEIR OWN WELFARE IS RE-ELECTION.

    In short, budget reduction depends upon concentrating on the trees instead of the forest. If the forest is foreign policy, the trees are which countries are worth our friendship — not how can we broadcast enough friendship seed (money) to make everybody our friend. If the forest is military spending, the trees are which countries should we “meddle with” because they represent a threat to the United States, which countries should we isolate from and let solve their own problems, and what countries should we befriend, ally with, or stand up to. They are not all our friends and we can’t “reach across the aisle” to them without eventually surrendering to them.

    Gary L. Graham
    Farmington, NM

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