The Wasatch Behind: Deficit reduction for dummies
Uncle Spud turned off the TV and threw the remote at the trashcan.
"What's up?" I asked.
"The president's bipartisan commission on reducing the deficit just filed a preliminary report," Spud growled.
"Same old stuff," Spud answered. "Cut military spending, raise taxes and raise the Social Security retirement age."
"Oh come on now," I chided. "Give them a chance. They say they want to cut Congress's budget by 15-percent and reduce the federal workforce 10-percent by 2020."
"Big deal," Spud said. "Most of the workforce reduction would be in the military and the Democrats didn't present a budget this year. How do you reduce a blank check by 15-percent?"
"You got a better plan?"
"To quote Sarah Palin, 'youbetcha,'" Spud smiled.
"First, repeal Obamacare and take back all of the unspent TARP and stimulus money. We already have the best health care in the world and tax cuts and de-regulation are better business stimulators than throwing money at wall street and political friends.
"Cancel the billions of tax dollars being spent on General Motors and financial institutions. Compete in the open market or die. No outfit is too big to fail.
"Since Congress is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar they spend, mandate an across-the-board budget cut of 10-percent a year for four years. That's a 40-percent reduction and the budget could be balanced without tax increases. True, there would be much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, but with restructuring, consolidations, outsourcing, layoffs, more efficiency and the elimination of waste and fraud, I'm sure they could do it. Private business does it all the time.
"Did I say consolidations? How about eliminating the department of education and giving responsibility for educating our children back to states and the people.
"Eliminate the Department of Energy. When organized in 1977 it was supposed to make us energy independent. Despite hundreds of billions spent, things have gone the other way. Who needs it?
"Eliminate the Department of Homeland Security and give those responsibilities back to the defense department, the FBI and the CIA.
"Eliminate the Department of Veteran's affairs and give those responsibilities to the Defense Department or health and human services.
"Eliminate the environmental protection agency and give those responsibilities to the department of the Interior.
"Realign the federal pay scale to make it more like the real world. The average federal worker gets twice the pay and benefits of a civilian counterpart. Fed workers average $120,000 in pay and benefits; you and I average $60,000. A good solution would be to put all federal workers on the military pay scale. Senators should never be paid more than an army general. Base pay for a brigadier general is about $120,000 per year. Department heads would get the pay of a colonel, deputy assistant secretaries the same as a lieutenant colonel or major. You get the idea. While we're at it, congress and all federal workers should be put on social security and Medicare for their retirement benefits. It's the only way those programs will be fixed.
"Seal our borders and deport the thirty million illegal aliens who are bankrupting social services, overcrowding our schools and prisons, driving down wages and competing for American jobs in a bad economy.
"Charge big tariffs for companies making products overseas and bringing those products back to the states for sale. This would kill the incentives to outsource business, create American jobs and increase tax revenues.
"No federal bailouts for states. Allow California to go broke with General Motors. When people elect governors like Jerry Brown, let 'em figure it out for themselves.
"Eliminate the I.R.S. and overhaul the tax code. Institute a flat tax of 10 or 12 percent with no deductions and everybody pays. Today 40-percent of Americans pay no income taxes. No wonder they keep voting for more entitlements and higher taxes. They have no skin in the game.
"Declare a national emergency and become energy independent in six years. Fully develop our coal, oil and other natural resources and give incentives for research and development of green alternatives. This will stimulate the economy, create jobs, boost tax revenues and save the billions of dollars now being sent to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela."
"How much do you think all of that will save?" I asked.
"Trillions," Spud nodded.
"Hmm, Michelle could almost afford another vacation to Spain."
"Shame on you," Spud said.