President Obama recently announced a plan to “freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will.”
Tom Knapp commented, “If Obama was serious about a discretionary spending “freeze,” he’d include the Department of Defense in that freeze. If he was serious about balancing the budget, he wouldn’t stop there, either. He’d propose a 25% cut to DoD over the three-year “freeze” period, and ask for a much larger cut over a longer time period.”
While I don’t disagree with Tom Knapp’s comment, I don’t think it goes far enough. As Congressman Ron Paul points out, “First of all is timing. It wouldn’t go into effect until 2011, which allows plenty of time to increase spending levels quite a bit before they are frozen. If the administration really understood and cared about our spending problems they would not freeze spending a year from now, but cut spending immediately and significantly. But, spending cuts almost never happen in Washington, and they are not likely now or a year from now — if the politicians have anything to say about it.
The second caveat is the huge areas of the budget that are shielded from this freeze. The entire State Department budget is exempt, as are all entitlements, all military industrial spending and almost all foreign aid. Fully 7/8 of federal spending is excluded from this freeze, and some areas to be frozen were actually set to decrease, which means a freeze actually guarantees a higher level of spending.
Especially insulting is the idea that in spite of our own fiscal problems at home, taxpayer dollars will continue to be sent overseas in the form of foreign aid where it often does more harm than good. When need is demonstrated to Americans and they can afford it, they can be counted on for a tremendous outpouring of private, voluntary charity to worthy aid organizations, as we recently saw in Haiti. By contrast, government-to-government aid is taken from the poor by force and too often enriches the corrupt. It is counterproductive and wasteful. But the idea of eliminating, freezing, or reducing foreign aid is not up for serious debate any time soon.
The third caveat is what is included in the freeze that would make it politically impossible to pass Congress, for example air traffic controllers salaries, education, farm subsidies and national parks.”
The President (or someone in Congress) should propose cutting all unconstitutional spending. That would be any spending not authorized by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution; including but not limited to the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, HUD, DOT, EPA and foreign aid. Based on the 2007 Federal budget, these expenses account for nearly 60% of the federal spending. This doesn’t include any of the waste that falls within constitutional authority, or the increases to the budget in the past 3 years.