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Will You Answer What Congress Won't? The Top 20 Questions pt 12

Back in late 2004 and early 2005, I sent emails, faxes, and letters to every member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In it, I asked them for their answer to a set of twenty questions which the readers of Polipundit wanted asked. The text of the letter was posted here.

52 Readers in 38 states joined the effort, asking their district Representatives and Senators to answer the questions. Response from our elected Representatives and Senators was poor, predictably so. Most Congressmen and Senators simply ignored the letters, emails and faxes. In the end, only seventeen answered with any degree of substance, and not one answered more than two questions.

I was looking at the set of questions this week, and you know, they still look like good questions to me, so I am going to ask you for your opinion on them. This will take a while, since I am putting up one question for each post, but please give this your serious consideration. And folks, this is not about politics or smacking down the other side; this is an opportunity to explore the issues of substance for our country. Sad that Congress was not up to it, but maybe we can get the conversation going. Thanks in advance.

12. What is your first proposal to balance the Federal Budget?


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Comments (16)

Like dieting, its so easy b... (Below threshold)

Like dieting, its so easy but so hard:

Stop spending more than you earn.

Year 1: Adjust all budgets... (Below threshold)

Year 1: Adjust all budgets by the rate of inflation, then an across the board cut of 5%. There is easily that much waste in the budget.

Year 2: Same as year 1, plus cut tax rates 5%. Begin privatization of Social Security over a ten year period, where those who choose to participate would relinquish their Social Security claims. Begin reviewing each department budget for additional areas of savings. Spending bills will be limited to the related areas only. No earmarks or pet projects. An education bill will only have items directly related to education. Pass a line item veto. Vetoed items can then be considered by congress and individually overruled. IF, and ONLY IF, a surplus occurs, half goes to reducing the deficit, and the other half can go to 'other', ie earmak type projects, based on need.

Year 3: Repeat

Year 4: Repeat

How about passing a law tha... (Below threshold)

How about passing a law that outlaws earmarks?

Pass another one outlawing riders on bills.

Then a line item veto.

Require all congressional staff to be cut in half. (waist high - LOL)

Now add a moritoriem on new spending items until the deficit is paid.

Put a time limit on welfare.

Enforce laws about who qualifies for Social Security, and go after the cheats.

Publish a list of who votes for tax increases clearly and concisely for the public to see who is wasting our money.

Revolution.... (Below threshold)


DO: Cut spendingDo: ... (Below threshold)

DO: Cut spending
Do: Review all government programs - reduce or eliminate those that are demonstrated to be ineffective; transform federal functions to be results oriented.
DO NOT: pass a constitutional admendment to achieve a balanced budget. Works fine for states, but if applied to the Fed Govt, it'll just give congress another excuse to raise taxes and thereby stiffling the economy which will require more taxes, etc, etc.

Hemp... (Below threshold)


How about hiring a firm to... (Below threshold)

How about hiring a firm to review inefficiencies in the fed govt workplace.

Im sure there are tons of redundancies, we know there is a ton of waste, and Im sure there are tons of workers who barely do anything. We also need to explore the possibility of privatizing at least some of the govt agencies, as their efficiencies and effectiveness is for sh**.

"The first thing we do, let... (Below threshold)
William Shakespeare:

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the Democrats."

Elect honest (being the ope... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Elect honest (being the operative word here) republicans and a true conservative president that will veto anything that is loaded with earmarks.

Obviously putting democrats in office to "drain the swamp" was such a smooth idea. It's working so well that we're spending more and talking about trillions in tax increases! thanks Chuckie Rangel!

I like the idea above about adjusting the budget based on inflation, then cutting 5%. I think the key here is to get rid of these wasteful earmarks and the ridiculous baseline budgeting.

Privatize as much as possible.

Obviously all of this talk is the antithesis of what it means to be liberal or a lefty which is why none of them will talk about it.

I guarantee most republicans won't talk about it either since alot of them are encapsulated in that beltway mindset.

Also a good idea would be to get rid of mccain feingold so honest elections can be run and we can get some better candidates in office.

Another idea to balance the... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Another idea to balance the budget would be to quit giving billions of dollars in foreign aid to countries that do not deserve it, or are otherwise ingrateful of our gifts to them. Make sure that when we DO give money that we are in charge of the specific spending. In a sense like the food stamp program. "heres some stamps for FOOD ONLY". We need better oversight of the money that we give to other countries period. Africa is a blackhole we dump our cash into by the dumpster full. We need to quit propping up those warlords over there and make sure the money is used as intended.

Withhold 40% of a congressm... (Below threshold)

Withhold 40% of a congressman's salary and block any pay increase for years that there is a budget deficit.

I vote with Mark - Revoluti... (Below threshold)

I vote with Mark - Revolution.

Not that I don't like the other ideas - it's just that we have too much machine to pare it back. Read Chinese history - they have it down to a cycle.

Yes, I know - I come in with blazing ideas, and you politely ignore me.

Carry on.

bt, your "blazing ideas" se... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

bt, your "blazing ideas" seem a bit more like "Blazing Saddles", but without the wit.

Cyclical revolts have a bssis in History. And History warns us they are generally dismal failures.

Innovation, now that's a thought ...

Zero baseline budgeting. No... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

Zero baseline budgeting. No room to spin a reduction in the rate of growth as a "cut".

DJ:thanks for your... (Below threshold)


thanks for your kind words. perhaps you would amplify on your blazing saddles comment?

And it isn't cyclical revolt. It's just plain that government grows a bureaucrat class, get less and less efficient, cannot actually enforce it's own laws, etc. Regional governments (thugocracies, if you will, the chosen term for many years has been 'warlords') arise, and sooner or later (about 200 years in Chinese experience, YMMV) one of these regional governments becomes strong enough to subsume the others.

Now you can go back to critiquing my blazing saddles all you like, but I see a parallel here. I find the US government to be run by the bureaucrats and staffers - who last longer than any elected mouthpiece. Their first job is to maintain turf - then grow it. This is done with regulations that need bureaucrats to enforce them, and taxes to enable same.

And I'm waiting for the day when less regulations are enacted, any bureaucracy is eliminated - hell, I'm waiting for a simplification of the tax code. How about Congress reviewing the set of laws and regulations they have enacted with an eye to removing those without relevance.

Course there aren't any (in their august minds) and with entitlement spending now greater than 40% of the yearly budget, and more likely to grow than decrease, we're liable to see our government do less and less with more and more until...

Someone can come in and start with a clean slate. I just wish they'd keep the constitution.

Now, DJ, there's something you can argue with, should you choose. Or just let that blazing wit fly from your end.

Isn't it insane that there ... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

Isn't it insane that there are people out there that exist solely to make sure they have a stable job... inside of government! AND they make sure there are more of them IN GOVERNMENT by expanding government!

I'll give you ONE guess as to what side of the aisle they fall on and another guess as to why that political party has controlled washington for so many years...






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