The Road to Economic Recovery - Cut. Cut. Cut.

One of the most frustrating things that Americans have to endure is the seeming inability of the average legislator to grasp the obvious solutions to our economic woes. The issues are well known, the root causes are clearly understood – or at least they should be. But our elected officials seem unable, or unwilling, to take the steps that will fix the problem.

One is reminded of the wickedly funny YouTube video “Democrats on an Escalator” – it features a well-dressed man and a woman on an escalator in what is apparently a very posh office building. When the escalator inexplicably stops, they just stand there, completely perplexed – calling out for help, and finally deciding to “wait for someone” to come to their aid. Naturally, anyone with an ounce of common sense would simply…walk off the escalator.

And so it is with our professional ruling class of professional politicians. The problems are right in front of their eyes:

We have way too much taxation, especially on those who create jobs – and taxing “the rich” even more is the quickest way to put the working class they employ out of their jobs.

We have too many regulations, most of which have nothing to do with “protecting the public” but instead protect special interests, pushing up prices and locking out competition.

And we have way too many government workers making way too much money. Whether Federal, State, or local government, these workers do not produce a single product or service that contributes to the growth of the country – yet they are paid, on average, almost double what private sector workers earn.

So it’s time to get moving and do what everyone with any economic literacy knows needs to be done – Cut. Cut. Cut. And then cut some more.

Cut the budget of the EPA by at least 50%  – These unelected bureaucrats  do nothing to make your life better, and they are responsible for some of the most onerous and destructive policies in our history. The EPA’s recent move to declare CO2 a “pollutant” (it’s not) in order to help push the economically disastrous “cap and trade” bill is but one example.

And no, we do NOT need the EPA to ensure that our air and water are clean and safe – we already have enough laws and the legal processes to enforce reasonable restrictions against things like dumping toxic waste into our streams or spewing (genuine) poison gases into the atmosphere.

Cut the Federal Department of Education by 90% – leave only enough staff to monitor and compare the relative performance (and expenditures) of local schools districts around the country. We do NOT need them be involved in policy, curriculum, or silly “diversity” initiatives – those are all matters best left to parents in the local school districts. Frankly, we would be better off if we completely eliminated this Federal entity altogether.

Cut local education spending – The biggest budget item in almost every state is “public education” – and in spite of graduating fewer than 50% of their students (or worse) every year the teachers’ unions want more. Actually, the entire problem of skyrocketing education spending would largely be solved if we would finally pass legislation that allows PARENTS to decide which school their children attend. Private schools do a much better job of educating children – and they do it for less money. The typical private K-12 school graduates over 90% of their students, yet costs less than HALF of what a typical public school costs per student.

Cut ALL Federal, State, and local government employee salaries by 10% – and renegotiate every government union contract at the earliest possible date. No more “Rolls-Royce” health insurance plans. No more multi-million dollar pensions. When the entire country is going through difficult economic times, it is simply unreasonable if not downright arrogant for government workers to think that THEY alone should be immune to hardship.

Cut ALL regulations that prevent competition – the most obvious example is the restriction imposed by most State governments that prevent their citizens from buying the health insurance that they want across state lines. All these restrictions have done is to create artificial monopolies for each state’s “pet” insurance companies – with predictable increases in cost. Besides, I am perfectly capable of making such decisions without the the “help” of some government nerd.

Look at all the ridiculous new restrictions on food – salt bans, sugar bans, trans-fat bans. Every time you turn around, some over zealous group of “food nazis” is trying to tell you what you should be ALLOWED to eat. The latest example of this nanny-state-run-amok is an attempt to require a “warning label” on hot dogs, even at venues like baseball games. Excuse me, but anyone with an I.Q. above that of a carrot is completely aware of the nutritional value of a hot dog. So take your government approved menus and BUTT OUT!

Cut EVERY government entitlement program – From welfare and “Section 8” housing to food stamps (now cleverly renamed “SNAP” and using debit cards instead of actual stamps), we need to make serious cuts. And real CUTS, not “slowing the growth” of increases. Especially in times of economic hardship, the idea that those who are getting a tax-payer funded government check should somehow be immune from belt-tightening is simply economically untenable, not to mention immoral.

Cut Taxes – a LOT. And cut them for the people who are paying the most, not those who are paying the least. Start by making the so-called “Bush Tax Cuts” permanent. Then go further. Cut the taxes on those ABOVE $200,000 until NOBODY is paying more than 25% of their income. Eliminate the capital gains tax, completely. Eliminate the “death tax” – taxing every penny that someone earns throughout their life and then taxing it AGAIN is not merely bad economic policy, it is immoral.

Finally, we need to cut government spending at every level. And, no, we are NOT going to start with Police, Firefighters, or truly essential services like the Military – these are the LAST groups that we should touch, not the first. Which is precisely why big government loving politicians always threaten to cut cops and firefighters (or even scarier – garbage pickup). And again, “cut” means “less than last year” not “a reduction in the rate of growth” – in other words, real, substantive CUTS.

In less than two years Obama and the Democrats have pushed the deficit and national debt into stratospheric levels by engaging in a spending binge unequaled in American history – and it will take equally dramatic and decisive action to get things back under control. The tea leaves seem to suggest that Republicans are likely to take over the House, and perhaps even the Senate. If they do, we will likely soon find out whether they have any more courage to deal with economic reality than the Democrats they replace…

John Caile