I love folks who say that the 60 billion dollar decrease in the federal budget is “insignificant”. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen politicians sniff at staggering amounts of money because “it’s a rounding error on our national debt”. Please… 60 billion dollars is an amazing amount of savings, and I’ll take it as a start. After all, if we cannot do this, do we have the resolve to handle entitlements?
To make an impact on the waste that is Washington, we need entire duplicative departments eliminated. This is particularly egregious in the military where turf is power. And the Presidential Cabinet has swollen past it’s usefullness to just become another layer of beaurocracy. It was supposed to be the most influential presidential advisers, a group small enough to be able to meet regularly. George Washington’s first cabinet had four members: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense and Attorney General. Currently, we have 15 cabinet members with three additional offices holding the title of “secretary”. It is a very rare event to have a cabinet meeting that has all members present.
And let’s look at those members and see if we can find some “savings” there from just one cabinet department. The Energy Department costs $27,006,572,000 and is planning for a 11.8% increase for 2012. The department was extablished by Jimmy Carter on August 8,1997 in part as a response to the oil crisis. From their website, “The Department of Energy’s overarching mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex.”
Would you say that they have been effective in advancing our “national, economic and energy security”? We depend now on foreign sources of oil more than we did when this department began its work! (40.5% in 1977 to 66.2% 2009) How long would private enterprises be funded with this level of accomplishment? In many ways, the Department of Energy has strangled domestic oil production and the jobs that would result. We can’t save this department’s entire budget of 24.1 BILLION, but it would be a great place to start!
I agree with everyone who says 60 billion is not enough. But look at the uprising against these modest cuts the Republicans have proposed. Do you think the Department of Energy is going to be getting a haircut anytime soon? NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting were designed to promote diversity and quality “cultural”programming in the USA. With over 67% of the American people paying for cable TV, is there really a shortage of diverse opinions and “culture” available to the average viewer? Add to that the availability of the internet and you quickly realize these programs have long outlived their justifications. Are they nice? Yes. But sometimes when you are low on money you must economize. Let those folks that want it pay for it like cable. There is every reason to believe those cold hearted rich people will step up and fill in the shortage – they have in the past! There’s no longer any reason for the taxpayers to foot the bill. I know, I know…its only 422 million… But, a few 100 million here, a few 100 million there, and pretty soon you’ve got real savings! Conservative policies may not be as sexy as play now, pay later but it’s the grown up thing to do!