ATR Recommendations to Super Committee: More Than $1.5 Trillion in Savings
The Joint Committee has been tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over the next ten years. With government spending levels at 25 percent of GDP, this is not a difficult assignment.
First, the Committee should enact a hard, nominal discretionary spending freeze at the FY2012 levels. Savings: $971 billion.
Secondly, the following reforms offer multiple ways for the committee to find its way to $1.5 trillion in savings (calculated over ten years, unless otherwise noted):
- Revive federalism – Give states control over their Medicaid programs, remaining federal welfare programs and transportation spending.
Devolving transportation to the states:
Savings: $540 billion
Savings: $750 billion
- Decrease the regulatory burden – Regulatory budgets have grown by 72.5 percent over the past decade, which is much faster than the reported costs of regulations in the same time period. Simply freezing spending on regulatory agencies’ at its ten-year average would create real savings while stemming aggressive regulatory overreach.
Savings: $298 billion
- Eliminate costly federal labor mandates – federal labor laws inflate the cost of construction projects with arbitrary wage mandates and uncompetitive union requirements.
Repealing the Davis-Bacon Act:
Savings: $108 billion
Repealing Project Labor Agreements:
Savings: $24 billion
- Spending Reform
Stop appropriating for unauthorized programs
Power-hungry appropriators annually fund programs and agencies whose authorizations have expired.
First year savings: $290 billion (2010 CBO estimate, does not include “indefinite” appropriations)
Prohibit authorizing and appropriating in the same bill
Obamacare is a prime with examples: PPACA both authorized and appropriated the Prevention and Public Health Fund, setting up an automatic funding track in perpetuity.
Savings from deauthorizing advance appropriations: 17.75 billion. (One of 38 “indefinite” appropriations in Obamacare)
End abuse of emergency spending loopholes
What few budget constraints that exist are flouted by the use of “emergency” designations, paving the way for explosive war spending, unemployment compensation extensions and President Obama’s “stimulus” plan.
Requiring offsets for non-defense emergency spending (includes only emergency spending in supplementals): $360 billion. Offsetting the “emergency” war funding: $493 billion. Total “emergency” savings would be $853 billion
Total savings from spending reform: at least $1.2 trillion
Attention Job Creators: Ready for 5,000 new regulations?
In his “jobs” speech Thursday night, President Obama claimed: “I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years.”
In reality, the White House currently has 5,000 more regulatory actions waiting in the wings. Regulations under the Obama administration have stifled economic growth and eliminated job opportunities for Americans across the country.
According to the 2011 Cost of Government Report, the President’s projected $2.5 billion increase in regulatory budgets in 2012 will cost the economy 6.2 million jobs over five years. What’s more, Obama’s suggested regulatory reviews take credit for regulations never really enacted; the “billions” in savings he imagines under this guidance are imaginary, while the costs of actual rulemakings imposed on employers are real.
Regulatory overreach from the Obama Administration has and will continue to punish business:
-Technology: The FCC enacted “Net Neutrality” to regulate the Internet for the first time in history and approved new, costly roaming mandates on wireless providers with little legal authority. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is using its regulatory power to stall investment and job-creation by attempting to halt the AT&T and T-Mobile merger.
-Banking: The Dodd-Frank Act promises over 500 new regulations that prevent lending and raise costs for consumers and small business. New price controls on debit card transactions have eliminated free checking. The Volcker Rule will stymie investments deemed “too risky” by bureaucrats. A new financial regulatory agency has proposed over 60 regulations that will limit credit and lending to small businesses.
-Energy: Requiring America’s energy producers and utility companies to meet arbitrary emissions and efficiency standards, the EPA has prolonged job creation and induced layoffs. With compliance costs totaling in the tens of billions, many of America’s energy producers have no choice but to close their doors, increase energy prices, or fire workers.
-Labor: With union membership declining, the Obama Administration has utilized the National Labor Relations Board, National Mediation Board, and Department of Labor to inflate unions’ numbers by changing union election laws, rolling back transparency measures and codifying card check.