Heritage Foundation Eats An Elephant

elephant_one_bite

graphic by Sean Gallo

Have you heard anything lately about the budget?  Is anybody still concerned about the size and growth of our federal government, our $20 trillion (and growing) debt, and the decomposing cadaver our economy has become?

It seems strange at a time when there is so much political buzz, nobody is talking much about our fiscal problem.  The presidential candidates from both sides show little or no concern, probably because the topic is not “sexy” enough for media coverage.

Well, I hate to be a buzz-killer, but the budget elephant is still in the room, getting bigger and smellier every day.

We have been repeatedly told by our political leaders and media pundits that our fiscal problem is too impossibly huge to even think about. Well, it’s not. This can be solved.  Why not roll up our sleeves and start working on it?  Like, now?

Fortunately, we still have one shining treasure in our national vault — the Heritage Foundation.  This group of geniuses has no fear of tackling big, vexing problems.  And they have a solution for our seemingly intractable spending problem.  It’s called the “Blueprint for Balance – A Federal Budget for 2017”.

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time. The Blueprint for Balance is a six-course elephant dinner:

  • SLOW THE GROWTH IN SPENDING, while fully funding national security needs
  • CUT TAXES by $1.3 trillion over 10 years
  • BALANCE THE BUDGET within seven years
  • REDUCE SPENDING by $10.5 trillion and cut the deficit by $9.2 trillion over 10 years
  • ELIMINATE BUDGET GIMMICKS and establish a process to address unauthorized appropriations
  • ELIMINATE PROGRAMS that produce favoritism and limit opportunity

These are not just wishes or slogans.  Each course is real-world, detailed and dollarized into chewable bites.

Here’s an example.  One of hundreds of cost-saving recommendations would eliminate subsidies for Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). This proposal saves $438 million in FY 2017.

When I lived in rural Montana, my electricity was provided by a rural cooperative with outstanding local service at a reasonable (albeit heavily subsidized) price. Now I live in an urban area with a huge nuclear power plant operated by the nation’s largest electric utility company only a few miles from my home.  My electricity should be cheap, right?  Oh heck no!  Because I am forced to subscribe to a ‘grandfathered’ rural electric cooperative, my rates are much higher than my neighbors who are served by the big guys. Plus the co-op gets taxpayer subsidies.

At the turn of the century it was necessary to establish rural electric cooperatives.  There was no other way to provide affordable electricity in sparsely-populated areas.  But like most government programs, it has outlived its purpose.

This is just one bite – there are hundreds of others, some big and some small, in the Blueprint for Balance. I hope my congressman is hungry, because I am going to ask him to start chewing.  Please ask yours to do the same.  If every congressman takes a couple of bites, we can do this.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideGonna live each minute,
‘Til I’ve had my fill
Aw, girl, I’ll be rollin’ in it!
Yes, yes, you know I will,!

Hungry – Paul Revere and the Raiders

 

 

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