Today America’s Prevaricator-in-Chief, no he’s not the only one, merely the most prolific, announced the cuts to the budget required by the legislative sequastration he demanded and then signed into law. Of course, politics being what it is, his list is designed to create the most discomfort for the largest number of people possible in the hope they will blame Republicans and Congress will be forced to give the Administration yet another round of tax increases in order to punish the productive classes for, well, being productive.
While not the topic at hand, I feel compelled to digress momentarily to remind folks that increased tax revenues almost never are used to reduce deficits or debts, but rather to initiate new spending on new programs that will then grow faster than revenues and eventually add to those deficits and debts. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
Back to the point at hand, Obama’s cuts include cuts to Medicare, science, NASA, the FDA (forcing closure of meat plants for lack of inspectors) and on and on, as I said before, in order to maximize the felt pain. But few of these cuts are necessary, and could have easily been avoided.
A few more creative, albeit not politically advantageous, sequestor ideas:
- Reduce the federal payroll through attrition. Just over 100,000 federal workers retire every year. (Yes, the workforce really is that large.) By simply not replacing most of them (we would of course want to replace meat inspectors, for example, so we could keep plants open and the food supply reasonably safe), we could save roughly $15,000,000,000 a year, almost 20% of the $83 billion goal.
- Stop the effing insane War on Drugs. The savings to the US government, from reduction in enforcement and prison costs, would exceed $5,000,000,000.
- Legalize and tax recreational marijuana. Projected income, between $3 billion and $5 billion dollars. Combined with #2 above, a minimum of $8,000,000,000 differential and another 10% achieved.
- Return the Department of Defense to its original mission, that is – defending the United States. Today we have about 400,000 troops overseas stationed at more than 700 bases (OUTSIDE OUR COUNTRY – in case you missed that) at a cost of $250 billion dollars a year! Reduce those numbers by just a third, and you get..tah dah…$83 billion dollars. Does that number sound familiar.
So there you have it. A great deal less pain, no danger to our national security or essential services, no cuts to Medicare or science or anything else. Just a real easy $110 billion dollars give or take. It won’t solve our problems, but it may indicate a way out. Now ask me where we can get another $100 billion next year.