In order to pay for current incongruous spending levels, government spending is now 23% of GDP, Democrats have attempted to levy the American people with a slew of new taxes. More prominently, House Democrats, aided by a handful of Republicans, managed to pass HR 2454, commonly referred to as cap-and-tax, legislation that would have raised a family of four’s energy costs by $22,800 from 2012 to 2035 had the bill not stalled in the Senate.
Desperate for revenue, Democrats have implemented a number of obscure taxes. The healthcare “reform” bill which passed earlier this year and has been called by many on the Left the greatest legislative achievement in decades, taxes people who tan, veterans who purchase prostatic limbs, and families with special needs children, just to name a few.
Unimaginatively, Democrats have looked to tax their way out of the current $13 trillion spending-induced deficit. There is a better way, though–cut spending. ATR President Grover Norquist outlined a strategy to cut government spending when he testified before Congress last week.
A brief excerpt :
1. Resurrect the “Byrd Committee.” One good idea for spending restraint is to restore a committee that once existed (known in the post-War years as the “Byrd Committee”). First proposed in 1941, the committee was a bipartisan, joint committee with subpoena powers that focused only on making rescissions in federal spending. Its proposals enacted over $38 billion (in 2010 dollars) in savings. The fatal flaw in many other “fiscal commissions” is this lack of narrow focus – only when tax hikes are taken off the table are meaningful spending cuts made. Any recommendations from a committee modeled on the Byrd Committee should be privileged and require an up-or-down vote on the floor.
2. Give the public five days to read bills before a floor vote. Congress should enact a five-day waiting period before passing any new or amended legislation. This “cooling-off” time might have prevented $350 billion in President Bush’s TARP, $350 billion in President Obama’s TARP, over $500 billion in the so-called “stimulus” bill, $183 billion more in discretionary spending in FY 2010, and $794 billion in healthcare “reform.”
3. Put every federal transaction and contract online in real time. Every federal transaction, contract, and grant should be available online in real time. A spending transparency portal is an important tool that can be used to cut waste, locate inefficiencies and empower the people whose money is being spent, the taxpayers, as fiscal watchdogs. This was debuted successfully by Governor Rick Perry of Texas. Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma also have good transparency initiatives.
While many of these proposals are politically difficult, our elected leaders should grab low hanging fruit, federal worker compensation. The Wall Street Journal ran an article today titled Government Pay Bonus: Private employees toil 13½ months to earn what federal workers do in 12.
Instead of further taxing Americans, federal workers should be compensated with market wages and retirement packages. WSJ writes:
Even using all the standard controls—including race and gender, full- or part-time work, firm size, marital status, region, residence in a city or suburb, and more—the federal wage premium does not disappear. It stubbornly hovers around 12%…total compensation for federal workers may easily exceed $14,000 per year more than an otherwise similar private employee.
Since Americans are the ones paying these inflated salaries, federal worker compensation should be directly tied to market standards, not the whims of politicians. Bringing federal workers compensation inline with the private sector is an easy and sensible way to cut government spending. Politicians serious about the deficit should seize this opportunity to reduce government spending.