Cut spending on everything

Wesley Messamore Editor in Chief, HumbleLibertarian.com
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CBS News reports that most Americans (77%) want to cut Washington’s out-of-control spending rather than raise taxes (which only 9% favor) in order to balance the federal budget, but only 38% can name a specific program’s budget that they’d be willing to see cut.

Come on, Tea Party — you’re embarrassing me! And after I’ve stuck up for you so vehemently.

That’s an easy question, folks. Cut EVERY program’s budget! There’s simply no way that any department or agency is spending every red cent well, not even the Defense Department. Off the top of my head, I can name an easy $1 billion annually that should be eliminated from the Pentagon’s budget — and that’s the $1 billion we send to Pakistan each year, which we now know that Pakistan is using to coordinate attacks with the Taliban on our own troops! That’s not just wasteful spending, that’s criminally stupid spending. That’s your tax dollars funding attacks on your children, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews — some of the finest and bravest young people our country has to offer.

I propose that Congress passes a bill to mandate a 10% cut to the budgets of every department in the executive branch — no exceptions. The bill would leave it to the discretion of the president and each department head to decide what gets cut and how to implement the cuts. That’s their job. Easy. Problem solved. Budget crisis eased (for now). If the bureaucrats don’t implement the cuts properly, they’ll just come up short. Congress will have to be tough and only appropriate the amount for each department that it says it will, whether they stay within their budgets or not.

After extensive experience in the British Civil Service, Cyril Northcote Parkinson formulated this law in 1955, which he articulated this way: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” noting also that: (1) “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and (2) “Officials make work for each other.” He found in particular that the total number of employees in a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done.”

The law can also apply to budgets, so that “work expands so as to fill the budget available for its completion.” Instead of hemming and hawing over what to cut, we should simply make the cuts and watch as the bureaucracies magically continue to function anyways because they’ll be forced to eliminate the wasted and non-essential spending.

Ever notice how you can feel overwhelmed with items to do at work, but the moment you have to leave early for some reason, you get all your tasks — which would have taken you four hours to complete if you had all that time available to do so — done within an hour? It’s the same law at work. Just tell administration officials that they’re getting 10% less across the board, and they can figure out how to implement it.

I bet you anything the sky won’t come crashing down. And we might actually make some real progress toward not committing fiscal and monetary suicide. We could even do this in a bill that every congressman and citizen would be able to sit down and read in one sitting, and actually understand what it says. Let’s be decisive and solve the problem. Now is not the time for timidity. It’s try or die. Cut spending on everything, 10% across the board, no exceptions, right now.

Wes Messamore is the editor in chief of HumbleLibertarian.com.