Skip to comments.Give Em 'L', Mitt!
Posted on 05/01/2012 2:14:10 AM PDT by Kaslin
In the 1993 movie "Dave" the faux president (played by Kevin Kline) calls in his best friend (played by Charles Grodin) and they stay up all night balancing the federal budget, not by raising taxes, but by cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending.
If only it were that easy.
Most presidents have talked about cutting spending, but few succeed because Congress holds the power of the purse and is reluctant to give it up.
There have been serious and not so serious attempts to reduce government spending, from Ronald Reagan's Grace Commission to something called OMB Circular A-76, a memo from the Office of Management and Budget to all federal agencies that has been around in one form or another over several administrations. A-76's 2003 revision calls for the identification of "all activities performed by government personnel as either commercial or inherently governmental."
To borrow a song from the musical, "Annie Get Your Gun," commercial ventures should look at government and say about many of its functions, "Anything you can do, I can do better" and then they should be allowed to do it.
The model for this could be the government of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. During her time in office, she privatized many industries and utilities previously owned by the government because she believed, correctly, that the private economy could do a better and less expensive job of running them. Her philosophy, mostly absent from the film "The Iron Lady," was: "We should not expect the state to appear in the guise of an extravagant good fairy at every christening, a loquacious companion at every stage of life's journey, and the unknown mourner at every funeral."
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney could follow her example by challenging the country to look deep inside its Puritan DNA and rediscover the principle of what might be called the three L's: limited government, liberty, and living within our means. Give 'em "L," Mitt!
Here's what Romney should do and it might be the strategy that could work to force even a Republican Congress to obey what the Constitution and common sense require. If elected, Romney should pledge to bring in a team of outside auditors and private entities to determine what government ought to be doing and what it might outsource. If a private company can perform a government function with greater efficiency and at lower cost, let it. If a government agency is redundant or no longer necessary, eliminate it.
No "interest group" should be able to exercise more influence than that of taxpaying citizens.
Traditional spring cleaning finds many of us going through closets, basements and attics, disposing of things we no longer want or need. Toward the same goal, Romney should lead a "spring cleaning" of government.
Romney might cite the "Congressional Pig Book" published by Citizens Against Government Waste (www.cagw.org). The 2012 edition, as always, contains examples of wasteful spending in many government agencies. This year's "Pig Book" shows that while "the number and cost of earmarks have decreased dramatically since fiscal year 2010," the accurate amount of waste is difficult to figure because "transparency and accountability have regressed immeasurably."
Two recent reports from the Government Accountability Office name 51 areas of duplication, overlapping and fragmented government functions, which, if ended, would save an estimated $400 billion. There's a start to which no one should have an objection.
While President Obama promotes his "Buffett Tax" on millionaires and billionaires, Romney should focus on the government's waste of taxpayer money. If government is such a poor steward of what it now receives, why should it be given more?
That can be a winning issue, not only for Romney but for Republican congressional candidates. The pledge they should be signing is not only the "no new taxes" one from Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, but a new one not to support any additional spending until unnecessary expenditures are cut by transferring many government functions to the private sector and retiring those that are not needed.
Too often government contracting has just become a vehicle for private people to access the US Treasury.
Instead of contracting things out, the governmnent should just stop doing them altogether.
The only “L” Slick Willard will be giving us is leftism... and he’ll only tell us it ain’t.
“but a new one not to support any additional spending until unnecessary expenditures are cut by transferring many government functions to the private sector and retiring those that are not needed.”
I have witnessed attempts to transfer “government functions” to the private sector. It doesn’t work. The “private sector” is about profit. It winds up costing more. IF something is a legitimate government function, it should NEVER be outsourced. The key though is to ensure it is a valid function. Of course, that becomes a matter of opinion. For “peaceniks” the military is an unnecessary function. Who ultimately decides? Everyone is for cutting the other guys function, but will defend to death their own. Congressmen will be all for taking away a function done outside their districts with the accompaning job loss, but won’t allow it in their districts where it costs a constituent a job.
Cutting government is not a simplistic as one thinks. Plus, there are 2nd and 3rd order effects. Close a major hub of government work and lay off the employees...it isn’t just them that lose their jobs. The community suffers as do all the businesses that sell goods to those workers.
I AM NOT saying we should never cut government. Only a fool would take that stance. The question is what to cut and how? Those of you in private sector jobs had better give this serious thought. IF government downsizes haphazardly, it could cost YOU your job....those 2nd and 3rd order effects.
Also, the people deciding what to cut.....who picks them?
“I” personally would like to see cuts to regulatory agencies like the EPA that often overstep their mandate. However, try doing this. We all know there are excesses (fat) in government...but I can tell you that unlike a human body, the “fat” in government is next to the bone with all the muscle insulating it. Try to cut it, you cut vital tissue. A terrible and sad truth...but a truth.
I’m sorry I don’t have the answers. I just know that some of the “answers” proposed are NOT doable without causing harm to the country. Also, folks need to laugh out loud when someone wants to “privitize” a legitamate government function...you get crappy results. Worse than the so-called terrible government employees.