Opinion

A plan to restore fiscal sanity

Photo of Gary Aldrich
Gary Aldrich
Contributor

Bureaucracy is the air that gives life to Big Government. In its absence, Big Government cannot survive to coerce people to purchase a specific kind of light bulb or tell them what kind of car to buy. The Big Government trend in America poses significant threats to our fiscal solvency and the preservation of liberty. As our country moves closer to bankruptcy, the only chance we have at balancing our budget is to make substantial cuts to the ever-expanding bureaucracy.

A group of conservatives have already proposed a plan to cut the size of the federal workforce. In late January, the Republican Study Committee introduced the Spending Reduction Act of 2011 — a bill that would freeze federal pay for five years and cut the non-military federal workforce by 15 percent over the next decade through attrition.

The RSC’s bill heads in the right direction, but our fiscal problems have reached such extreme levels that we have to think bigger. A target goal of reducing the federal workforce by 25 percent, excluding military personnel, would go a lot further in solving the mess our country faces.

These cuts will serve two purposes: they will reduce our huge annual deficits and allow businesses to spur economic growth by decreasing the amount of federal bureaucrats responsible for harassing them.

Incredulous liberals will argue that life could not exist without the sage bureaucrats sticking their noses into every aspect of American life.

For example, Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) responded to Speaker John Boehner’s comments about eliminating federal jobs this way: “The speaker is ignoring the fact that putting more federal employees out of work will be a significant drag on our economy. If you don’t have a job, you won’t take your family out to dinner, buy a car when your old one breaks down, or engage in various activities that aid in our nation’s economic recovery.”

This illogical statement reveals liberals’ fundamental misunderstanding of economics. Not only is reducing the amount of federal workers an important savings measure, it will eliminate waste and inefficiency in our economy — freeing up money in the private sector that will be spent on real, productive job creation. The country would thrive if there wasn’t so much dead weight holding us back.

Think about it this way: no business would operate the way the federal government does. When a company perpetually loses money, its owners make tough decisions — they either cut pay and benefits or lay off workers. If they don’t, they’ll go out of business.

Private businesses are controlled by the profit/loss system, and if a business is not profitable, it is a warning signal to its owners that restructuring needs to take place. The federal government operates on a completely different model. If government runs unsustainable deficits, its default position is to borrow money. The borrowing mindset has gotten so out of hand that in the 2011 fiscal year, 43 percent of the federal government’s expenditures will be paid for using borrowed money.

The problem for liberals who believe in the omnicompetence of government is that the owners spoke last November and put them on notice. Americans will not stand idle as Big Government politicians run our country into the ground.

Right now is our opportunity to fix decades of bad policies by acting with political courage. The first step is to live within our means as a nation. We can begin that process with a gradual, 25 percent reduction in the size of the federal workforce. The owners voted for this change at the polls. Now it’s time for their employees in Congress to make it happen.

Gary Aldrich is the president of Liberty Central.

  • Timely Renewed

    The underlying problem is the vast expansion of federal power based upon the Supreme Court’s vast expansion of the interstate commerce clause far beyond its original meaning. The only sure way to stop the innumerable ways in which the federal government has wastefully and uselessly expanded beyond the original scope of the Constitution is to reverse those Supreme Court cases (which date back to 1937) and restore the interstate commerce clause to its original meaning. Given how entrenched these Supreme Court precedents are, this will require a constitutional amendment restating the original, very limited scope of the interstate commerce clause. See http://www.timelyrenewed.com

  • Todd Ice

    It’s always nice to have a scapegoat, isn’t it. Waste, inefficiency, and some positions in the fed govt should be eliminated but Mr. Aldrich’s proposal will not result in a balanced budget. There needs to be entitlement reform and cuts at DOD to meaningfully address the deficit. It’s true the feds don’t operate like business, but then I wouldn’t trust a business to try ensure that my food and medicine are safe and that Wall St is regulated. The feds aren’t perfect, but if you think that w/o them the market will do a better job, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. And Tess – fed pensions were revamped in the mid 1980′s. They are 401(k) plus now.

    • SamAdams25

      In case you didn’t hear about it, the GAO just released a report detailing hundreds of redundant and overlapping agencies, bureaus and programs that cost the American taxpayer as much as 200 BILLION dollars a year. Granted, elimination of every bit of that would not eliminate the deficit, but $200 BILLION is quite a hefty figure. The Dems are screaming “Draconian!” at the prospect of cutting a mere $61 BILLION out of this year’s spending, and are threatening to shut down the government over it.

      We simply cannot get our fiscal house in order if the Dems refuse to cut any spending at all. The only cuts they propose are bogus cuts from proposed increases in spending. Totally dishonest at best. We absolutely MUST cut out not only the waste, but all of the niceties that we can no longer afford like turtle tunnels, PBS, NPR, and Harry Reid’s Cowboy Poetry Festival. Put in personal terms, you pay the rent first, then the electric bill, groceries, and pay your auto insurance. If you have any money left, then maybe you can afford cable TV, but it’s a nicety, certainly NOT a necessity. The federal government must order it’s priorities in such a manner and cut out the niceties.

  • brian

    We should also fold Gov pensions into SSI. If you retired at 50 making a pension of $50,000 a year + medical that’s your SSI. No More. Gov employment aint a lottery.

  • Tess_Comments

    If you are going to freeze federal pay for five years make sure there are no loopholes. Revamp Federal Pensions while you are at it.