The climate in Washington today will not allow any reductions in the size of the federal government but this is exactly what we should be considering. We could begin with the Department of Energy in the Administrative part of the government. It was started by President Carter with the sole purpose of making the United States energy independent. It has failed completely. We are spending over 25 billion dollars each year to operate this department and getting nothing in return. It seems that it would be wise to either change its focus back to the original purpose or abolish it completely and many people would favor abolishing it.
Our education system in this country started in the churches and was absorbed into the local governments. Over 95% of the operating costs of local schools come from local taxes and state funds. It is my understanding that the federal government contributes less than 5% of the operating funds for the local schools. The operating cost of the Federal Department of Education in Washington is expensive and does not contribute to school improvement to any substantial degree. Effective teaching is between the teacher and the student. The Federal Department of Education adds reports and information gathering to the school system that reduces the time that the teacher-student interaction can take place. Why should we not abolish the education system at the Federal level and allow the states to direct the schools completely.
Federal employees including elected officials participate in the Federal Employees Retirement Plan which is highly subsidized by our federal taxes. The benefits far exceed those provided to normal citizens through Social Security. This system allows federal officials to retire with full pay for just a few years of their part time service. Why could we not combine this system with Social Security and level out the benefits between the two systems. No one should retire at full pay especially when their contributions to the plan are minimal. Retirement years are expected to be at a lower activity level and should require a lower cost of living.
Term limits can be put into effect for Congress and the retirement reduced to a percentage of the salary earned. If the term limit is 12 years to serve and we allow this to get 75% of full pay, Senators and Congressmen who do not serve for the full time limit would draw much less. This would lower the cost of paying the excessive retirement benefits for these members during their lifetime.
Clerical and legal employees in the federal government are being paid at a rate that is about 30% higher than business employees performing similar functions. Why should we not review the pay rates for public job functions and set the government rates to be competitive and not higher than private business pays?
One of the big costs in our government is administrating the Internal Revenue Service. If we converted to the Fair Tax program it should take no more than about 30% of the administrative costs to handle it. The provisions in the proposal provide that the lower paid citizens would get all of their Fair Tax back so that it did not put a burden on them and the wealthy would pay a lot more than the rest of the citizens because they will spend more money and pay the tax on it as it is spent..
The health care law that was just passed provided for health insurance to about 30 million people. Half of them will go on Medicaid which is paid for by the individual states. The other half of the people to be covered are going to be required to pay for their own insurance so neither of the groups will add to the federal costs. To do just these two things would take a bill that would be no more than 6 or 8 pages instead of the thousands of pages in the bill that was passed. It is clear that the federal government plans to spend a lot of money to accomplish other things other than covering the uninsured with this takeover of healthcare. They plan to regulate or eliminate the insurance industry and we can expect medical costs and health care cost to rise. Covering the 30 million uninsured was just an excuse to take control of our healthcare.
Raising taxes is inevitable and it can’t all be put on the wealthy folks. They already pay most of the cost of running our government. It is time to begin to reduce our operating cost for the government. It will require commitment and control that is not present in the folks running Washington today. Maybe things can change after November.