Fiscal Discipline

Democrats and Republicans both shoulder blame for the national government’s lack of fiscal discipline. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, the Republican-controlled US Congress of 2003-2007 and the Democrat-controlled legislature of 2007-2008 rang up a combined $110 Billion in pork-barrel projects, which does not include expenses for the War on Terror. The new 2009 Budget has been submitted by the President and is already in deficit by over $400 Billion— unacceptable!

Politicians from both parties know we have a massive overspending problem, but rather than fix the problem, each party blames the other while legislators from both sides of the aisle keep funding pork. There is no middle ground and no compromise—this must stop. Today, the question “Which party has been responsible?” matters far less than “Who— from either party— will fix the problem?” I will help fix the problem.

We cannot do this to our children. Or to rephrase, we can, but we SHOULD not. The bill will come due someday, and today’s politicians know they will probably be long gone by then. I say stop it NOW.

We can reduce government spending in a number of ways:

  • Reallocate money from the Iraq war as the war comes to an end. The war has already cost well over $500 billion (some estimates are close to one trillion dollars)— an average of well over $100 billion each year since 2003. I believe we can significantly reduce these costs within months—and we can do so in a responsible way that continues our training efforts and targets the long-term stability of the Iraqi government. (For more on my plans for Iraq , see “ Iraq ” under the “Issues” tab.)
  • Over the past six years, Congress has spent about $110 billion on pork-barrel projects. Pork-barrel spending is a newly-formed bad habit: it exploded from less than $3 billion in 1992 to $29 billion in 2006. The 2008 budget reduced pork-barrel spending to about $17 billion, but we can still do a lot better. (Citizens Against Government Waste defines a “pork” project as “a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures.” Most of these are local projects that certainly should not be funded by our national government.)
  • Reform broken programs and channel money into important projects. For instance, this year’s IRS operating budget was $11 billion. Our national tax code is so complicated that it takes a huge bureaucracy working lots of hours to determine each citizen’s taxes and enforce payment. By completely overhauling and simplifying the tax code, we could channel a lot of money towards other important projects while reducing spending. For example, we might cut the IRS budget to $6 billion, spend $3 billion more on education, and cut $2 billion completely. This is just one example of how we might increase funding for important programs while cutting overall spending.
  • Institute a Balanced Budget Amendment that contains a Pay-As-You-Go provision. Our government should keep spending in line with revenue except in specific extenuating circumstances. This will prevent our racking up trillions more dollars in debt. Limiting the national debt will increase the value of the dollar and improve Americans’ buying power in world markets.

These are just a few of many ways our national government can reduce its expenditures.