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Will You Answer What Congress Won't? The Top 20 Questions pt 13

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.

13. What is your proposal for lowering the National Debt?


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Comments (7)

Isnt 'tax the rich' the onl... (Below threshold)

Isnt 'tax the rich' the only option?

That goes along with my ide... (Below threshold)

That goes along with my ideas about stopping deficit spending - i.e. stop spending more than we take in. And start paying more than the interest on the debt.

It all comes down to fiscal restraint, and paying our own debts. Either that or declare bankruptcy and erase the debt completely.

Same as #12: Hemp.... (Below threshold)

Same as #12: Hemp.

Some type of pure accountab... (Below threshold)

Some type of pure accountability system like we have developed in many non-governmental businesses, i.e., you over spend your budget, you get fired. That would apply to any leadership position in the house and senate, as well as their staffs. It's supposed to be done through the voting process, but that never happens. I would prefer a more direct approach. Short of that, I think we put a hard cap on discretionary spending, ban earmarks entirely, and make the whole process as transparent as possible.

Here's a good question for ... (Below threshold)

Here's a good question for our elected officials:

"What have you done lately to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution."

They take an oath...we should remind them.

Considering that the Nation... (Below threshold)

Considering that the National Debt as of 1981 was barely a tad over 1 trillion in contrast to days 9 trillion, the solution is simple: No more Reagans, Bush 41's and Bush 43's, all of whom account for almost all of the current 9 trillion National Debt. In short, no more Respendlicans.

Horsesense -You mi... (Below threshold)

Horsesense -

You might want to look at what you got for the money. And don't make the mistake of thinking that Democrats are going to be fiscally conservative. From what I've seen over the last 30 years, that's just a fantasy. (You DO know that Reagan's increase on military spending was dependent on the Democratically controlled Congress getting a buck and a half in 'social program spending' for every new buck going to the military, don't ya?)

Back on topic - what would I do to eliminate the national debt?

First, open up ANWR and the off-limit areas of the continental shelves off Florida and California to oil exploration and production - and charge the oil companies $1.50 a produced barrel. That money would go towards alternative energy research, most notably the Polywell reactor prototypes and wind farms in the ocean within sight of the Kennedy compound.

Second, toughen up welfare rules. Means-test for benefits, and also for capability. If you are physically and mentally capable of doing some sort of productive work - but won't - well, better find a job because the free ride's at an end. (There will always be people trying to game the system - but that requires the system be willing to play the game also.) If you drop out of high school because you don't want to learn, you get half the amount of benefits a high school graduate would get. But despair not - you can still get a high school diploma after you drop out... but you'll need to pass the test with 95% or better. Make it unpleasant to fail instead of a course of least resistance, and you'll have people suddenly deciding that maybe that education is important after all.

Third - allow school vouchers nationwide. If a school district/city/state doesn't want to allow them - then no matching Federal funds will be supplied. Hey, competition tends to improve the product, why wouldn't competition in education?

Fourth - dismantle the educational system that's grown to be layers of bureaucracies dedicated to entertaining kids full-time while giving them a bit of an education. Focus on math, science, English, geography, and art. Bilingual education for ESL students until competent, and then English-only from there. And while we're at it - mandate school uniforms. (Express your individuality on your own time - in school you're supposed to LEARN.)

Fifth - End agricultural subsidies on corn, end protections on sugar.

Sixth - Outsource the Prescription Drug Program for Medicare patients to Wal-Mart and Walgreens. If they can put out generic prescriptions at $4 each, the government doesn't need to.

Seventh - Expand and open Yucca Mountain for nuclear waste. Anything still radioactive after ten thousand years isn't going to be terribly dangerous - and if civilization's collapsed during that time and the location is forgotten, disease and other dangers will likely be much more of a worry than radioactive waste buried under a hell of a lot of granite in a desert. Open Yucca Mountain, and charge other countries out the wazoo for storage space there.

Eight - disband the Department of State's Diplomatic Corps. Outsource their work to the US Marines. People RESPECT the Marine Corps, where our diplomats get very little respect. Put Patraeus in charge of the effort.

Nine - dismantle the IRS. That'll save a good $10-11 billion right there. Implement the Fair Tax for revenue - and during times of surplus revenue, mandate the surplus goes DIRECTLY against the Nation Debt.

Ten - sad as I am to say it, dump Amtrak across most of the country. Yeah, it's a neat idea. That isn't profitable across most of its runs outside the NE BosWash corridor. It can't compete time or cost-wise with airlines on long hauls, and it'd cost way too much to expand the system to a point where it could. And even then, it'd take 4-5 days to go cross-country.

Implement those things - and you'd save money. But the debt won't reduce until there's more money coming in than going out - and until our politicians get that drift, the debt will continue to grow.






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