There is a quote that keeps being repeated on this board which seems to miss the point being made by the voters in the 2010 midterm elections, that as Alan Greenspan has commented, “Spending has become untouchable” [1]. Perhaps to the politicians it has, but to the population as a whole, perhaps not so much. The only question I have is whether or not the public actually realizes how deeply the federal government is involved in the everyday funding of the United States economy. This isn’t something that just came into being during the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama (hmm, hmm, hmm) (sorry, couldn’t resist the urge), but it has certainly taken a leap forward. It’s no longer a question of whether spending needs to be curbed, it’s a question of how much and how fast. It’s a dilemma decades in the making, and one which would have Solomon awakening in cold sweats! Let me provide a small step toward a solution.

First, we need to have a true understanding of the problem we are facing. In 2000, the Federal deficit stood at almost 5.7 TRILLION dollars, a staggering amount [2]. However, as the link shows, it has increased at a staggering pace over the last decade. I would suggest that the cost of two wars and an extravagant prescription drug entitlement (among other things) during the Bush Presidency had much to do with the increase (and I’m NOT making an excuse for this). Many conservatives have caught Holy Hell for saying that Bush wasn’t a conservative. He WASN’T a conservative; he was cut from the same cloth as his father. As Texas as Bush Junior wished to portray himself, he was more a product of the upper east coast upbringing he received. Bush Sr. despised Reagan for his conservatism, and in many ways gave the left in this country many talking points in their battle with Reagan’s policies. The left in this country weren’t clever enough to come up with the “voodoo” economics phrase, which came from Bush Sr. during the primary, and they rode the wave for 8 years until Bush Sr. became President. It was astounding to watch those in the media that praised Bush for his stance against Reagan, then paint him as a staunch supporter of Reagan’s policies. I’m not even going to bother with the ads – if you’re interested, do some digging! For me, give me more voodoo economics because this “new normal” isn’t cutting it!!!!!

The Office of Management and Budget has a rating system that measures the effectiveness of federal programs [5]. The most recent assessment found that 20% of federal programs are not performing – are either ineffective or cannot produce demonstrable results.  The estimated spending associated with these non-performing programs is far in excess of the $100 billion Republicans have suggested they can eliminate during the first year of the new congress. If the OMB can come up with THAT much waste, just imagine what somebody who doesn’t have a dog in the hunt would come up with!

I am of the belief that a majority of the American people know exactly what they expect of their government. The only question that remains is whether the ruling class has the courage to do what is necessary! Change in the behavior of our elected officials will not come about without some political discomfort, and many politicians have ridden the gravy train for a very long time. It is far past time they put the future of the country ahead of their own re-election, and the goals are not mutually exclusive!

There have been a number of suggestions that have come forth concerning federal spending, but the only ones I have seen that don’t re-spend the “saved” money come from the conservative mindset [3][4]! Feel free to criticize the recommendations, but without an alternative, what do we have? The left and right may have similar goals for our country, but the question remains, how do we achieve them? The politicians on BOTH sides have cast their lot for the last 100 or so years, and their collective ignorance has brought us to where we are today.

If anyone thinks you won’t see a replay of Europe here in the States over budget cuts, consider  the developing story of a possible intentional union slowdown in dealing with the New York area’s snow problem in recent weeks, at the cost of lives, mind you. If these charges are proven accurate, this should give you pause in any steadfast support of these organizations and any federal support and favors they receive. 

[1] http://www.realestatenewsutah.com/news/alan-greenspan-henry-paulson-economy-19496

[2] http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm

[3] http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/

[4] http://www.heritage.org/Issues/Budget-and-Spending

[5] http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/expectmore/rating/notperform.html

It’s The Spending, Stupid!

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