The Republican Study Committee, led by Congressmen Jim Jordan and Scott Garrett, with an assist by Senator Jim DeMint and bolstered by 70 new members, has hit the House floor running in the new Congress. Without a bit of hesitation the RSC has offered up legislation that would make huge cuts to the federal workforce over time. This is exactly the type of legislation that needs to be passed, but I don’t see any clear path to getting this bill through the Senate and the President.
The bill targets the pay of federal employees, which has outrun that of private employees for years now. The President offered a modest two year freeze on federal employee pay. The RSC has proposed freezing their pay for five years, allowing their numbers to dwindle by 15% through attrition, and not allowing federal employees to work as union bosses on the taxpayer dime (that this last one isn’t already the case shows you just how bad things are in Washington).
The bill could save Americans $2.5 trillion through 2021. That’s a great start, but it won’t make a dent in the projected deficits over that time period. Anyone screaming about how wrong these cuts are is in for a rude-awakening if a balanced budget ever emerges.
The bill’s focus is brining spending levels first to the 2008 baseline during fiscal 2011, and then to the 2006 baseline starting in fiscal 2012. The GOP is making good on its campaign promises by introducing bill after bill that would cut federal spending. I’m afraid though that the scope of their cuts isn’t deep or wide enough. Military spending cuts and entitlement reform are going to have to be a factor in balancing the budget. I’d like to see troop numbers and weapons systems protected by removing troops from foreign soil. Entitlement programs must be matched with reality. People are living longer, therefore ages of enrollment must increase. Imagine someone living until age 85, not uncommon in today’s society. They can live on Social Security for 20 years! The system was never meant to do that, and it simply can’t do that.
Promises have been made to older generations, those promises should be kept. But younger age groups should enter the system later, and the youngest should have Social Security phased out for them altogether. As part of the generation many are calling the “millennials” I highly doubt I’ll see a Social Security check anyway. The government should make it official.
Medicare and Medicaid are the largest burden on the federal government. The system was never meant to handle full-blown health care welfare payments. Medicaid is obviously unconstitutional and should be punted to the state level altogether, rather than engaging in the tax money shuffle that goes on today. Imagine running your business in such a way! Here’s the analogy: Your business (a state) has customers (citizens). Those customers send their money to a bank (the federal government). The bank takes a percentage and then gives the money to your business. Your business then takes a percentage and hands the money back to your customers. Some of your customers then get to use the leftover money to buy health care. That’s an efficient system, huh?
Let’s not delude ourselves any longer. The federal government is in line for major cuts. We can start by sending some of the obvious local systems like Medicaid, the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation back to the state level. Then, take the knife to the remaining federal budget.