Skip to comments.Smashing the “monsters”: It’s time to address the national deficit
Posted on 04/14/2017 11:54:05 PM PDT by CanaryBlog
With the national deficit rapidly approaching 20 trillion, it is truly remarkable how little attention the national deficit is receiving in the daily political debate between the Republican administration and the Democratic opposition but also by media and public. Everybody understands that an at this rate the growing national deficit is not sustainable, and will bankrupt the country. But even maintaining the deficit at current levels burdens our children and grandchildren with unfair obligations, which we did not inherit from our parents and grandparents and, therefore, should not pass on to the next generations.
The almost uniform rejection of next years budget proposed by the Trump administration as cruel by Democrats and the left-leaning media, and as unrealistic by many Republicans and the right-leaning press, is, therefore, disturbing since even that budget proposal is likely inadequate, as it at best only maintains expenses at current levels.
Even more so than President Reagan after four years of Jimmy Carters presidency, President Trump, after eight years of Obamas two administrations, must start rebuilding a by budget cuts devastated, U.S. military, likely at its weakest since before WWII, while facing the most dangerous geopolitical period since the end of WWII. Expanding the defense budget is, therefore, not an option but a must, even though waste and fraud at the Pentagon must also be eliminated concomitantly. Despite the universal sequester, few other federal government agencies have suffered as badly as defense since none of the other bureaucracies requires as quick replacement of used up resources as the military. Paradoxically, because of the ability to move funds between purposes, often at discretion of individual government departments, many agencies, even during the sequester, still succeeded in expanding staffing and raising salaries.
Since they were considered safer than jobs in private industry, government jobs used to offer lower salaries than the private market. Today, because of the political strength of government employees unions, government salaries exceed those of the private employment market, even though government employment is still considered a life-time job. Lacking therefore any motivation to innovate, the government bureaucracy has become a self-perpetuating steadily growing monster that consistently expands its political and economic clout. If the monster is not stopped soon, it will become unstoppable!
No private company could economically survive human and budget resource management like the governments without adjusting growth, employment and salaries in accordance to market conditions, budget restraints, overall company performance and general economic circumstances. Yet, even under Republican political hero and father of the last major tax reform, President Ronald Reagan, the size of government continued to expand, though at slower pace. Government cannot continue to grow unlimited just because it can. The expense is threatening to bankrupt the nations.
After decades of uninhibited bureaucratic expansion, every government department must be forced to radically cut expenses. Businesses attempting to cut cost to enhance productivity routinely cut budgets by 15-35%. The proposed Trump budget just mimics what is happening in private business every single day of the years, and, under Democratic and Republican administrations, has been overdue in government for decades. There simply is no reason why similar cuts and improvements in productivity should not also be possible in government, including the Department of Defense.
That Defense must receive significant additional funds does not mean that the rapidly expanding military bureaucracy at the Pentagon does not require drastic cuts, and that notoriously wasteful and overpaid acquisitions by the Pentagon do not have to stop. Neither defense nor health other holy cows within government can or should be excluded from radical budget reevaluations, with every useless program shut down and useful programs reassessed as to how they can be made even more productive.
Like in private business, these processes must become engrained in the routine DNA of government. Health care programs are timely examples, considering that the countrys health care system is, once again, under review, Health care represents between one-fifth to one-sixth of the national economy, with government and private industry currently still sharing responsibilities. Government influences have, however, steadily increased, whether through government offering health care coverage, for example through Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans Administration, and, more recently, of course, via Obamacare.
But government influence on health care goes far beyond that: Nowhere has the outcry about proposed budget cuts been louder than at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which with federal funds administer two gigantic, though separate research programs. The so-called intramural program employs hordes of scientists, mostly around Bethesda, Maryland but also in the Research Triangle in North Carolina and some other places around the country and, like other federal agencies, practically guarantees lifelong employment. In addition, employees of this intramural NIH program, however, also receive lifelong research support from the government. On paper, funding is reviewed by peers and, therefore, competitive; but, in truth, a scientist in the intramural program does never have to compete for research support a fiercely as scientists outside of the NIH, who applies to the second program administered by the NIH, the so-called extra-mural program. The funding rate for the extramural program has, indeed, so badly deteriorated that many excellent investigators, simply, no longer find it time-efficient to even apply because even highly rates proposals never reach the funding threshold.
This important because having a system that discourage smart young investigators from submitting applications, is self-defeating. But, instead of acknowledging this fact and reducing funding for the intramural program, the NIH bureaucracy, of course, has always been more concerned about themselves and their in-house staff than about investigators on the outside.
A recent visit to the NIH confirmed this all over again because, while everybody was really upset about the potentially impending budget cuts for the NIH, nobody was particularly worried about the intramural program. Everybody was, however, absolutely convinced that the budget cuts would be devastating for the extramural program. The bureaucrats and their cronies at NIH, of course, would be the last ones to suffer.
This is, unfortunately, exactly what has been happening in every government office for decades, whether at city, state or federal levels. We have become a country where the government bureaucracy no longer primarily works to benefit the citizenry but primarily for best interests of themselves, the bureaucrats.
This is not to mean that non-government organizations may not become equally corrupted. Have you ever tried to speak to somebody at Verizons corporate offices, and gotten a worthwhile response? But, in private industry, if a company for whatever reason fails to be responsive to its clients, it is only a question of time until the consumer will punish the company. Therefore, the private company will either straighten out or the economic losses to management and ownership will be substantial (look what happened to United Airlines!).
The not-for-profit sector in many ways increasingly mimics government and, indeed, often fully overlaps with government bureaucracy. Especially the enormous power of the teachers unions over the Democratic party is a good example: bureaucrats caring little about the school children but sparing no efforts to enhance the interests of teachers and administrators. The same can be said about the private college industry, which for decades has been defrauding college students with empty promises by inducing them to borrow exorbitant amounts of money to pay college tuitions, fully aware that most will never be able to repay the loans with the salaries they will draw following often sub-par education from often invisible professors with life-long tenure.
All of these self-serving bureaucratic monsters must, ultimately be smashed to release the inherent competitiveness that is required for efficient functionality of economic systems, whether in private business, the not-for profit sector or the quasi not-for-profit government bureaucracy. A good start would be allowing federal employees to be hired and fired like their counterparts in private industry. Colleges would also do well if they did away with the outdated concept of life-long tenure. If we get to the point where everybody, physically and mentally able, earns his/her upkeep, societys efficiencies will be more than adequately capable of taking well care of those who do not have the facilities to do it for themselves.
Good read but needed some proofreading. :)
TEACHER’S UNIONS, NON PROFITS, SS, MEDICARE, ALL PROGRAMS FOR THE LAZY, THE SINGLE MOTHER CLASS BEING THE FASTEST GROWING, PENSIONS THAT ARE OUTRAGEOUS, ABSURD PUBLIC SECTOR SALARIES, UNPAID STUDENT LOANS, LOANS FOR ABSURD MAJORS THAT WILL PRODUCE NO INCOME..
and on and on and on and on and on. So many things need to be fixed, changed or done away with.
Mass college attending has been one of the worst things to ever happen to this country.
nothing learned for 70 percent except hatred of country, perversions, and how to pay off a debt with no job.
Libs only care about spending when they are out of power.
Also, when the author uses “deficit” he really means “debt”. Deficit is the annual budgetary shortfall, which becomes a part of the increasing debt.
You know I ####ed that up until my late 20s?
I think I’m a smart guy :)
But I couldn’t nail down the difference until about 28.
And WAY too many are like me. But older also.
You may have 200k in personal DEBT, an your deficit each month (what your check can’t cover every month aside from the debt, is your deficit.
And then bankruptcy )
Unless you’re a government. Then, like China and Japan, you can run 200 debt to GDP.
If all government employees in Washington D.C. took a 10% pay cut, all of congress start flying coach class, quit funding the brunt of the UN which hates us anyway. stop hand out welfare checks to a plethora of countries that for sure hate us, and we drop all of the bi-lingual nonsense on government forms we could have some money to pay on our national debt. Taking this into account this list could go on for days and we could probably pay off the debt in record time.
I suspect that wouldn’t do it, that you would also need to cut spending on many entitlement programs.
Oh Hell NO! Do not pay the debt down. Leave it on life support so the Democrats and Leftists cannot create “just another” entitlement program. For once a republican should do something we would like as conservatives and not leave the golden goose for the Dem’s to use.
You can’t ignore the fact that we have a growing number of people in this country with every single expense borne by the taxpayers: their housing, public education (and college), food (including free lunches and in some cases, FREE BREAKFAST - despite the fact that their “parents” receive EBT cards for these), and their medical care. Simply put, a growing number of takers, constantly reinforced by newcomers crossing our borders, have overwhelmed the makers (who for all intents and purposes have practically stopped breeding).
It has been talked to death, nothing will happen, and the nation will die.
A 20% import tariff balances the budget tomorrow.
Combine the tariff with massive income tax reduction and watch the US economy on rocket fuel.
Globalist Free Traitors are killing the country.
Make every American take a 20% cut in his take home pay and give it to the fedgov. What's not to like??
The national debt increased from about $9 trillion when Obama took office, to about $20 trillion today.
I think we all know that tough choices have to be made, if we are ever to get this under control.
There are specific steps which should be taken. Among those are, for the Social Security system to balance its budget, as if it were a separate business entity. Ditto for Medicare.
Ditto for the federal government overall. The first step is not to run annual deficits. We need to balance the budget. After that, then hard choices have to be made to cut back federal spending, and/or increase revenues/taxes somehow, in order to pay down accumulated debt.
I think we all know that if we don’t take some obvious steps, that the consequences down the road will be severe.
But then, anyone making any proposals, such as when Paul Ryan wanted to change the structure of Medicare funding, are met by the liberals with cries of how he wants to throw Granny off a cliff.
Proposed cutbacks in any federal spending are met with the same reaction by liberals and the media, that (fill in the blank name of evil Republican conservative) wants to (see people become homeless, take food out of mouths of poor kids, shut down schools attended by our kids, etc)
So as a result, intimidation sets in, and then nothing is done about certain problems.
Hey Eric if you don’t buy imported durable goods you won’t be paying the tariff. How little you know.....
Once the local manufacturers up their prices by 19.5%, it will amount to the same thing.
It is clear you really haven't thought his trough and are totally ignorant on how a tariff works. Your stupid flippant attitude towards a tariff was programed into you so it is not your fault.
You’re right. I’ve edited it to debt
Won’t the tariff get passed on to the very consumer to which you’re giving an income tax cut and probably balance itself out? We don’t have many options left to buy American, and the advent of cheap consumer goods made in China acted like an indirect tax cut for the average american since they no longer had to spend 2 months salary on a washing machine.
You cannot bring the deficit under control through cuts to discretionary spending. You could literally cut every single dollar of non-defense related, non-security related discretionary spending and still run a deficit. Without cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other non-discretionary spending you will never balance anything.
First of all your statement about washing machine is ridiculous.
A tariff applies to imported durable goods. In my own case I have not bought any durable goods,imported or otherwise, this year. None of my money that I have spent so far this year would have gone to a tariff. Most people do not spend that much of their income on durable goods, imported or otherwise.
The propose of offshoring was to reduce labor cost, but labor is but one component of manufacturing costs, a small one at that. Less than 7% of the retail price on almost all durable goods goes towards labor.
A washing machine that costs $900.00 retail would only have about $80.00 go towards covering labor and that is if it was made in the USA. Most people make more that $80.00 in 2 months.
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