Diary

Is it time to pay off government employees?

As I watch the ever growing mountain of evidence that our government spending is reaching an unsustainable level, I struggle with a solution on how we stop the spending before the inevitable economic collapses arrives.   Increasing our national debt from $6 trillion to $12 trillion in a mere seven years is a figure so shocking and outrageous, it defies belief.   Short of a political revolution that replaces 80% of our current Congress, we will still be left with a solid core of politicians who believe spending on their priorities still matters most and government still must “solve” our society’s challenges.

The system is self perpetuating: donations from favor seekers to influence policy and spending with both parties; bureaucracies seeking to gain power by ever increasing baseline budgets rewarding increased spending with more spending; an army of lobbyists and other leeches siphoning money from anyone with a budget.    No individual or President can gain the power sufficient to overcome this built in spending avalanche.

Ultimately those in Congress authorizing the budgets and spending don’t write the actual checks.  Thousands and  thousands of career civil service employees wield the power of check writing for trillions of dollars.   Careers are furthered only by ever greater spending and larger government … saving taxpayer funds benefits no one except the taxpayer.  Evidence of this lack of institutional desire to cut spending was the charade of President Obama demanding $100 million of budget cuts from a $3.5 trillion budget and the absurdity of the responses.    I wonder if anyone has considered checking if any of the proposed budget cuts were implemented?   Has it been confirmed that nothing but double side printed documents are now coming out of the Justice department.  I expect that $100 million in budget cuts has been measured about as accurately as the stimulus jobs.

The solution I came up with is distasteful but necessary.  We must make tens of thousands of federal bureaucrats fabulously rich. We need to establish compensation mechanisms for those with budget management and spending responsibility to earn a small commission on the annual actual dollar savings they can show in their spending from one fiscal year to the next. The promise of significant personal wealth without having to resort to corruption would change behavior overnight.

For simplicity sake lets reward 1% of the annual savings to the individual or individuals responsible for a certain measured savings.   $1 million in savings generates a bonus of $10,000.    $100 million in savings generates a bonus of $1 million.  For the person who implements a $1 billion reduction in spending … lottery level riches await as they get a check for $10,000,000.    Bonuses can be spread across work teams so entire divisions of bureaucracy share in their new found bounty.

I predict that this program would unleash an entrepreneurial spirit in the federal government that would overwhelm every liberal effort to retain their grip on the state.    Government programs that were deemed indispensable are suddenly proven to add no value and the grants suddenly are no longer available.    The Department of Defense discovers their $500 hammers are cheaper at Home Depot.   Retired Generals find the “consulting” opportunities for post career wealth are vastly reduced.  Lobbyists find their influence reduced to insignificance.  Nancy Pelosi finds her personal air fleet rarely available for use.  ACORN and its counterparts are confirmed as criminal organizations.  Will Medicare bureaucrats continue to pay $60 billion annually in fraudulent claims if they realize that $600 million of bonus money is theirs for the taking?

Congressmen would scream that their earmark must be spent for the company in their district as promised … the response would be to advise the elected official they have found a vendor who can supply the same product for 25% of the earmark.  They would be happy to discuss this with the Congressman and the Washington Post at his convenience.  Suddenly a career in elected office is not nearly as personally lucrative.

Wealthy government employees would be taking early retirement as their replacements eagerly wait their shot at the big bucks.   You could even mandate retirement when an earnings limit is reached.  Of course, their would be no new hires as this added salary and expense reduces that year’s bonuses.   Unions would become pariahs as it is quickly understood their only purpose is to add cost and inefficiency to government service.   Qualification for government welfare benefits would quickly become a much more rigid process … an application and breathing as the primary qualifications for a government check would no longer be enough.

Baseline budgeting becomes defined as how much you spent last year versus how much less you can spend this year… no inflation adjustments.  Budget increases passed by Congress prove meaningless as the only budget that matters is the bonus achievable by September 30 of each fiscal year.  As the economy adjusts to a less intrusive, less expensive and less oppressive government, our economic growth explodes generating even more taxes to pay down our debt and fund the entitlement commitments that must be kept.

As an added side benefit, a new found appreciation of lower marginal tax rates for high earners is guaranteed to develop.  Imagine the policy papers suddenly pouring out of government offices showing the economic damage our current tax system does to our country

We spent $3 billion on Cash for Clunkers to generate 125,000 in incremental car sales.   How much smaller government could $3 billion have bought us?     I would happily trade $10 billion in increased federal compensation for $1 trillion in permanently reduced spending.    There are some obvious details that still need to be worked out but if I sense this is being put in place, I just might have to go get me a gubmint job!