When the President’s own supporters skewered him in his town hall meeting this week, he dodged their questions by challenging the tea party movement to name specific spending cuts we would approve. Ok, since you asked …
Abolish the Department of Education; leave the money in the hands of local school boards and parents. Implement FairTax and abolish the IRS. Abolish the Agriculture Department, and privatize the FDA. Abolish the Department of Energy, and maybe we would finally have enough of it. Sell public lands to someone who will take care of them, abolish the Forest Service, and scrap the Department of Interior while you are at it. We already have 50 departments of the interior – they are called States.
End all corporate welfare – subsidies, tax credits, preferences, trade protections, price supports, grants, loan guarantees, and earmarks – and devolve personal welfare programs back to the states where they belong. If we quit rewarding lousy business managers and slackers we would have a lot fewer of both.
And how about reducing the number of Presidential vacations? I’ve been here 20 years and don’t get that much time off. Or make Harry Reid’s entourage drive Priuses (or is it Prii?). Freeze federal pay scales until the average private sector catches up. Raise the retirement age for federal employees to 65 and graduate the scale to 70; eliminate double dip pensions. They might get mad and quit? Bonus!
The Labor Department exists to counter the clout of the Commerce Department, so eliminate them both. Dump all of the special trade negotiators; let people trade with people. If we repeal ineffective drug laws, we have no need for the DEA or half the federal prisons. Nix the NEA; people will buy art they like. Ditto NPR and the Kennedy Center. Give veterans vouchers and dismantle the VA hospital system – we owe our veterans the best care available anywhere in the nation.
Abolish anything run by a Czar – anything.
Close all foreign military bases and eliminate all foreign aid. The Europeans can defend themselves if they are so dang healthy. Defend our borders and let South Korea worry about its own. We won in Iraq; now bring ‘em home. Do the same in Afghanistan. Pull out of the U.N, the IMF, WTO, WHO, the World Bank, and any other international organization run by world bureaucrats to benefit world bureaucrats.
Repeal Health Care Reform. Don’t spend whatever is left of the stimulus money. Get the TARP money back from the banksters. Cut off the water to AIG, Fannie and Freddie, and sell the public stake in the auto companies. Drop that $8,000 bribe to buy one of those loopy GM Volts. Leave student loans to banks. End the Fed and privatize the money supply.
Don’t replace any members of your economic team who quit and return to teaching. An empty chair is better than a credentialed fool and way cheaper. Oh, no - we’re not done yet.
Round up every single department, agency, and program created to fight the War on Poverty and shut them down. Trillions of dollars have been thrown down that feel-good rat hole for half a century and poverty is higher than when we started. Same for Affirmative Action; either it worked and we don’t need it, or it didn’t work and we don’t need it. Either way, we don’t need it.
And what’s the deal with trains? Probably some kind of Freudian obsession of emasculated lefties. I’ll buy your fare when you buy me a Harley – deal?
Abolish the ATF – we don’t particularly care to fund agencies wholly devoted to constraining the Bill of Rights. And if you are not going to use INS or ICE, cut them loose to find some private sector security work. Do we really need so many TSA’s to disarm citizens of their gels and nail clippers? I think not.
How about we repeal the Patriot Act and leave us patriots alone. Let’s keep the Department of Justice, but not the parts of it that sue us or defend torture and indefinite detention now that Obama has control of the apparatus. And you can cut out half of the research grants to your university buddies – welfare for Ph.D.s who can’t teach.
That leaves Social Security and Medicare. Medicare is easy; give people the $11,000 that government spends to insure them and let them choose their own – cut out the middle man. Social Security is not so difficult either; give people the option of either staying in the current system or pulling out what they have contributed and funding their own retirement savings accounts. Transition both entitlements completely to personal account ownership over a 25 year period. Yes, we can.
And give people the option of working past 65 and keeping every penny they earn; that’s right, zero taxes of any kind if you keep working and put off your benefit draw. The savings in deferred benefit payments would be enough to salvage social security, which is more than can be said for the accounting gimmicks proposed by either establishment Party.
I know it’s a small thing, but how about we fire the guy who names laws. Taking our liberties away with legislation so awful it has to be disguised as "Protect Puppies and Orphans from All Harm Act" is not just juvenile, it’s offensive. And if government wasn’t so reliably offensive, we would not need a tea party movement.
There you go, Mr. President – roughly 70% of federal spending eliminated and plenty left over to perform the 17 essential functions of government authorized by the Constitution. Too radical? Did you expect a Libertarian to follow a road map?
The tea party is a movement, not a mercenary outfit like ACORN or SEIU. We are millions of Americans from across the political spectrum with minds of our own and ideas of our own. There is no national tea party teleprompter for us to read from.
This is just one guy’s opinion. There are hundreds of even better ideas of where government spending can be cut - that’s why we have comments at the end of this post. Since the President was kind enough to ask for our help, it is the least we can do to point him in the right direction. Let’s hear ‘em.
"Moment Of Clarity" is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment and order his new book, "Tooth Fairy Government."