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BRAC the Budget
Red State ^ | 1/15/2013 | Erick Erickson

Posted on 01/15/2013 4:44:41 AM PST by IbJensen

I am in favor of not raising the debt ceiling unless the President and Democrats come up with meaningful spending cuts and reforms.

Contrary to a lot of the Democrats’ spin, the federal government will not default if the debt ceiling is not raised. Only if Little Timmy Geithner decides to not pay certain debts will the government default. It is his choice.

But I do think Republicans should be proactive in their approach to the debt ceiling. I think they should have a plan.

Specifically, I think the Republicans should propose a BRAC Commission for spending.

The BRAC Commission, or Base Realignment and Closure Commission, was created by Congress to close duplicative and unnecessary military installations around the country. Over the years, particularly after World War II, various congress critters had military installations put into their districts and states. The congress critters could not vote to close up their installations and would often cut deals with other congress critters. They would oppose closure of another’s base in exchange for that other voting in opposition too.

Congress has repeatedly shown that it will never make a tough decision if it can kick the can down the road or punt to someone else. Congress will not cut spending unless it can punt to an outside BRAC Commission.

I’d be in favor of SELASIC: Spending, Entitlement, Loophole, And SubsIdy Commission. Republicans must be willing to throw in some sacred cows in addition to spending. Those sacred cows should be tax loopholes and subsidies. In other words, this BRAC style commission would focus on spending cuts, entitlement reforms, tax loopholes, and government subsidies through direct payment or tax carve outs.

The ancillary benefit would be that, once tax loopholes and tax subsidy carve outs start being closed, Congress would be forced to reform the tax code to make it less complicated.

Structure SELASIC with an even number of retired Democrats and retired Republicans chosen by Congress and make Congress have to take or leave the proposals with no ability to amend them. Keep from the commission the ability to insist on tax increases or cuts, other than through closing loopholes and ending subsidies.

Republicans need a plan. BRAC is one of the most successful outside initiatives ever launched by Congress. It’s time to do it for spending, entitlement reform, tax loopholes, and subsidies. It is the only way Congress will ever actually begin dealing with these serious, critical issues.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS: centralsocialistgovt; evilcentralgovt; evilobamaregime; slashthegovt
Fire useless government workers. Close agency doors, rip out the telephones, sell the computers and nail the damned doors shut. Meaningful cuts mean taking a meat axe to this burgeoning central socialist government that looms above us and our lives like some damned Frankenstein monster!

What we don't need is another damned commission! It is obvious where the cuts should be made. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of worthless "busy work" Departments in DC that could be closed tomorrow without any impact on our Country whatsoever. The Heritage Foundation pointed out one example wherein there are 352 agencies that deal with "Economic Development." A very simple solution is so very obvious. Require Washington to only spend the revenues they receive and not a penny more!

Where's our elite political class from what's supposed to be OUR side demanding that this central monster be castrated?

1 posted on 01/15/2013 4:44:47 AM PST by IbJensen
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To: IbJensen

“What we don’t need is another damned commission!”

You took the words right out of my mouth.


2 posted on 01/15/2013 4:51:09 AM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: IbJensen

I agree the Government is swollen with people who we don’t need to have. However it will make an impact if we get rid of them all at once.It won’t make an impact on the Governemtn gettint the job done, but it will make a great impact on the unemployment roles.

The first job would be to cull the herd and get rid of the loads. Almost an impossibility with Affirmative action laws and screams of racism that would be coming from all corners.Keeping the good and firing the bad would be a hard priority to maintain.

We have whole agencies that are un needed, I believe I can say without fear of contradiction that it won’t happen in an Obama administration. Probably not in any other, as Senators and Representatives go into save my perks mode.


3 posted on 01/15/2013 4:52:28 AM PST by Venturer
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To: IbJensen

I think if you just went down the leased car list for every gov’t agency in DC...you could save $300 million a year, by gutting 90 percent of the requirements. Conferences? Cut in half and you’d save another $300 million. Carve off half of the District of Columbia and give it to Maryland, and you’d save another $300 million in DC subsidy payments to support their bloated government.

But no one is going to agree to such a BRAC commission to accomplish this.


4 posted on 01/15/2013 4:53:20 AM PST by pepsionice
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To: Venturer

“Keeping the good and firing the bad would be a hard priority to maintain.”

Enter the middle-aged, white conservative male. Maybe not so hard then?


5 posted on 01/15/2013 4:56:45 AM PST by equaviator
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To: IbJensen

“Congress has repeatedly shown that it will never make a tough decision if it can kick the can down the road or punt to someone else. Congress will not cut spending unless it can punt to an outside BRAC Commission.”

That statement right there tells all anyone needs to know about the spending problem (YES Obama, we have a spending problem)! Those elected to Congress are more worried about their re-election than doing what is best for this country. Any one of us could look over the federal budget the same way we look over our household budgets and find things to cut out.

I’m disgusted with every one of them! Also, why are we not hearing from any other Republicans on this besides John Boehner and a small handful of “meek” others? What a great strategy! /s


6 posted on 01/15/2013 5:05:23 AM PST by MNGal
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To: pepsionice

With a meat axe, wielded by someone with muscle, whole agencies could be lopped off, entire programs eliminated.

Cut the budget for the White Hut. No more trips and vacations paid for out of the empty treasury. No more White Hut brewery or lobsters.

Limit the number of staffers that a member of Congress can have.

‘Honest’ Abe, not one of my favorite presidents, shared the White HOUSE with his family and one secretary.

When the central government got the legislation passed to allow it to tax incomes in 1913 under Woodrow Wilson the bloating began.


7 posted on 01/15/2013 5:17:24 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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To: IbJensen
Specifically, I think the Republicans should propose a BRAC Commission for spending.

NO! BRAC is a clever administrative and legislative mechanism that was set up to shield local congressmen from having to vote against military bases in their districts. During the July 2011 debt ceiling debacle, Boehner, McConnell, and Reid wanted to set something similar up for fiscal policy in order to undermine the TEA Party freshmen. What we got was the failed "Super Committee."

No! Just NO!

8 posted on 01/15/2013 5:18:50 AM PST by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: Venturer

Just take the Pentagon, for example.

It’s chocked full of civilian bureaucrats. There are more civilians running the military from this central headquarters than there are uniformed military personnel.

Get the damned civilians out of the military. If they want to be so close to the military operations and make military decisions, swear them in and run their asses through basic infantry training. Then assign them to the Arctic Circle.


9 posted on 01/15/2013 5:21:10 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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To: Timber Rattler

If you read my comments I said NO MORE COMMISSIONS!

It’s time to turn out the lights in most government offices; tear out the phones, computers and other office doo-dads then nail the doors shut so they can’t get back in.


10 posted on 01/15/2013 5:23:36 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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To: MestaMachine

Erskine-Bowles


11 posted on 01/15/2013 5:27:48 AM PST by vortec94
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To: MNGal
I’m disgusted with every one of them! Also, why are we not hearing from any other Republicans on this besides John Boehner and a small handful of “meek” others? What a great strategy!

The Right must quickly recognize that a lack of fiscal rectitude and will is not merely a short term weakness preventing them from pulling the pin on the debt ceiling grenade, it also is a fundamental shortcoming of the Republicans’ political strategy. I can't stress enough that a government shutdown will be both an utter failure in respect to achieving the stated goals and a political disaster. Believe me, the left doesn't care whether the government is shut down for one or two or four weeks. They know that after the GOP capitulates all the checks will be sent out and the furloughs repealed. At the end of the day it will just be another paid vacation for all the government layabouts. That would be the kind of political theatre that they thrive upon. The MSM will play 24/7 versions of the same story: a suffering single mom who can't buy generic cereal for her three young scholars who want to get into college because the mean Republicans only care for the rich. And you know what? That charge will stick.

When the GOP realizes that the public supports government spending cuts in theory but not in fact, they will back down. So the battle will be lost and the GOP will lose political support. A strategy that is certain to lose and will leave your army depleted is a recipe for disaster.

Better, will be to produce a budget that weighs the needs of the country's defense and defenseless; defend the heck out of it on the Sunday shows and from every mountain top and soap box; and then insist that the president and the Senate produce a counter proposal. I guarantee that not one in ten Americans realizes that the government has been operating without a budget for four years and when they find out, they won't be pleased. Public opinion will force the president and the Senate to produce a budget and take it to joint committee to be resolved. Then have a battle in committee to hammer out a budget that includes real spending economies and gets the country pointed in the direction of long-term fiscal sanity. In this way, the GOP will achieve a portion of its stated objectives and seizes the moral high ground politically. The MSM can't ignore them if they talk about substance: i.e. where and what they plan to cut and how the cuts can be mitigated. Now they just blabber on endlessly about ethereal spending cuts, entitlement reforms and fairly dust without specifying what it is they are talking about. I can assure you that they have no credibility with anyone on these questions. They will not succeed politically until they earn credibility. Moreover, talk on this board of slashing many hundreds of billions of dollars from the budget in the short-term is pure fantasy supported by no one in the business community or among professional economists. Stop suggesting it. It isn't going to happen and probably shouldn't. Also, please stop for a government shutdown. Instead, let's start discussing the real issues with clarity and precision: precisely how we got from a structural federal budget deficit equal to 2% of GDP to a structural federal budget deficit equal to 5% of GDP in four years, and how it is we are going to return to a deficit that is at least smaller than our rate of GDP growth before it is too late.

12 posted on 01/15/2013 5:34:14 AM PST by irish_links
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To: irish_links

I agree that a forced government shutdown by the Republicans would not end well for them, and a piecemeal approach to cutting spending would solve nothing. I think you are correct in the statement that there are many who are unaware that the federal government has not had a budget in four years and has been operating on continuing resolutions. How many people know what “baseline budgeting” is and how the Democrats have used the baseline set with the stimulus bill for their baseline—hence the reason for the skyrocketing national debt?

The complete lack of the Republican Party to communicate this information to the public is disheartening.


13 posted on 01/15/2013 5:51:59 AM PST by MNGal
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To: IbJensen

I wish they would, but don’t think there is a snowball’s chance....
An alternative would be to cut every single dollar amount in or from DC by 5%. Every agency. Every department within those agencies. Every paycheck including the president, the congress, and the judiciary. ALL their aides and office workers. Every perk. ALL foreign aid. ALL pensions and payments to former gov workers and past office holders including past presidents. ALL payment of dues to the UN. ALL public sector workers, union or not. EVERYTHING with possibly one exception.
The only thing I would consider not touching is pay for our military from Lt. Col on down, or any of their retirement or medical benefits...especially those on active duty.
From Lt Col on up, %5 gone. No exceptions.


14 posted on 01/15/2013 5:53:34 AM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: MestaMachine
Unfortunately, here is another example of the sacred cow. The only way to get any traction on a universal cut would be to make it universal. That means enlisted/junior officer pay has to be hit as well. Carving out exceptions just gives the other side justification for insisting on their own exceptions.

Not that its going to happen anytime soon with our current administration, but if we ever get saner leadership, a five percent across the board cut (and an end to baseline budgeting) would make a real difference.

15 posted on 01/15/2013 7:12:05 AM PST by AzSteven ("War is less costly than servitude, the choice is always between Verdun and Dachau." Jean Dutourd)
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To: MestaMachine

An alternative would be to cut every single dollar amount in or from DC by 5%.

I fine notion but that pesky common law convention about the inviolability of valid contracts renders it no more than a pipe dream. Like it or not, employment contracts are enforceable by employees. You can’t disregard them by fiat. Probably the best you can hope for is a pay freeze and benefit adjustment that gradually moves federal government pay to some reasonable level.


16 posted on 01/15/2013 7:34:00 AM PST by irish_links
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To: IbJensen

Eliminating baseline budgeting is the first real step that should be taken.


17 posted on 01/15/2013 8:10:46 AM PST by ChuckHam
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To: irish_links

Oh. You mean like when GM went bankrupt?


18 posted on 01/15/2013 8:31:37 AM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: IbJensen

I haven’t read all the resonses yet, if someone else hasn’t noted it, we already had a commission to do this, Simpson-Bowles. Their results were totally ignored. I don’t think it’s possible to put more teeth in another commission.


19 posted on 01/15/2013 8:53:04 AM PST by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
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To: MestaMachine

Oh. You mean like when GM went bankrupt?

Yes, a court can override an employment contract pursuant to a bankruptcy resolution. But we aren’t talking about a bankruptcy here. The poster stated that we should unilaterally slash pay and benefits of federal employees he doesn’t think are essential or otherwise laudible. I believe that wuold be virtually impossible under current circumstances.

I suppose one could readjust the GS pay scale for new employees, but current workers accepted employment under the existing GS scale and you would have a hard time cramming a new scale down on them absent a court-ordered restructuring plan.

On the other hand, a court-ordered reorg might be just what Leviathan needs, but I don’t see it happening: that messy separation of powers thing would muddy up the works.


20 posted on 01/15/2013 1:10:10 PM PST by irish_links
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To: irish_links

“But we aren’t talking about a bankruptcy here.”

Maybe we SHOULD. Then all bets are off. Creditors would be paid and gov could reorganize, deunionize and oh, boy. Dead weight could be eliminated, agencies and departments closed, redundancy eliminated, payscales lowered, etc., etc., etc. Gov office buildings could be sold. Confiscated fed lands could be returned to the states. The possibilities are endless.


21 posted on 01/15/2013 1:33:04 PM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: IbJensen
BRAC the Budget

What budget?

22 posted on 01/15/2013 1:43:17 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("Don't be afraid to see what you see." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: IbJensen
Isn't that what Simpson-Bowles was all about? And which was totally ignored by the regime?
23 posted on 01/15/2013 9:46:05 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Colonel_Flagg

"Barack," "Barack"

24 posted on 01/16/2013 5:59:05 AM PST by IbJensen (Liberals are like Slinkies, good for nothing, but you smile as you push them down the stairs.)
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To: MestaMachine

Maybe we SHOULD.

Perhaps you are on to something. Politically and strategically, the debt ceiling government shutdown gambit planned by the GOP Congressional caucus will be a disaster of epic proportions. But, if it triggers an actual monetary bond default it may have a silver lining: giving Treasury note and bondholders standing to petition the courts to force a debtor reoganization. If the federal government won’t voluntarily live within its means, perhaps a court to compel it to.

I imagine that courts don’t have that power, unfortunately. But one can dream.


25 posted on 01/16/2013 10:38:43 AM PST by irish_links
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