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Thread: Trimming the Bloated Budget

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Default Trimming the Bloated Budget

    We've sort of skirted about how much we could actually trim the Fed budget. But here are some suggestions from and American Spectator article:
    1. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) just issued a regulation for measuring power consumption in TVs despite the fact that the private sector already has a test method. This DOE-mandated test procedure is a prime example of wasted time and taxpayer money. The DOE should have deferred to the existing industry consensus standard, known as ANSI/CEA-2037, which was developed with input from interested industry and non-industry stakeholders. By mandating its own test procedure, the DOE has tied everyone’s hands, limiting the ability of industry to maintain test procedures that benefit consumers and existing programs such as ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide. The DOE should withdraw its new regulation and stop spending money reinventing the wheel.


    2. The Obama Administration has effectively reversed the Clinton welfare reforms by allowing states to opt out. Congress can put the Clinton reforms back into effect, saving billions by some estimates.
    3. Federal entitlement spending is out of control, and the system is widely abused. Just consider Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which together dole out checks to some 14 million Americans each month. Disability costs taxpayers more than welfare and food stamps combined — about $260 billion per year. While some workers genuinely need the aid, many are simply gaming the system and not going back to work.


    4. In 2011, taxpayers paid $155 million for federal employees to work for their unions in a practice called “official time.” In other words, taxpayers are footing the bill while government employees work for unions — not for the taxpayers.


    5. Last year alone, the IRS squandered $11.6 billion in erroneous refunds through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — accounting for about 21 percent of all EITC payments in 2012. Federal law requires the IRS to keep errors under 10 percent, but the agency has failed to comply for the past two years.
    I didn't know that there was a law that requires the IRS to stay below 10% error. Maybe somebody can get fired, after all? Or maybe fined?
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
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    Last week it was reported that the military was sending brand new C-27J air crafts directly to the boneyard, $567 million of wasted funds in scrap metal. If we want to make a dent into the budget why not go after the largest source of waste? Billions could be cut out of defense waste without any ill effect.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mngundog View Post
    Last week it was reported that the military was sending brand new C-27J air crafts directly to the boneyard, $567 million of wasted funds in scrap metal. If we want to make a dent into the budget why not go after the largest source of waste? Billions could be cut out of defense waste without any ill effect.
    No argument from me on stuff like that. I recall also seeing some comment on the fact that the military is involved in getting some new large piece of equipment (can't remember if it was a plane) that they no longer wanted ... and they couldn't stop the project for some reason due to the funding requirements! So, even when there is a ray of hope that the military/industrial complex WOULD save some $, the bureaucratic red tape prevents them from doing so! That kind of crap needs to be cleaned up.

    Also Rand Paul has used less than his office "budget" each year, and returns it to Treasury. I believe the last year of savings was around $60,000? If all 100 Senators were that thrifty, that would be $6 million right there. If 435 House members saved 1/2 that, it would be another chunk of change. And it seems reasonable to put some kind of cap on POTUS "recreational" expenditures as well.

    Obviously, we've already seen that the cost of "conferences" for many agencies involves a lot of wasteful luxuries. Saving a million here and there when you have thousands of agencies, begins to add up.

    I do wonder if privatizing some govt services is also an answer. If we can do that with the military, how about some other stuff? At least if the fraudsters were not direct govt employees, there might be a way to fire them when they screw up? It would also save billions in pensions and perks by removing hundreds of thousands of govt employees. This occurs to me when thinking of the OP mention of the DOE duplication. Every new TV has an energy estimate on it already! (I've been shopping for one lately.)
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
    "Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim

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    Senior Member Julie R.'s Avatar
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    The Washington Post (not exactly a bastion of conservative ideals) had an article recently about all the agencies' wasteful spending at the end of the budget cycle. Even knowing a shutdown was looming, agencies scrambled to use up any/all money not spent at the end of their fiscal cycle. Stuff like redecorating offices, new equipment whether or not it was needed, landscaping, conferences and junkets, etc. Literally billions of dollars, basically anything appropriated but not spent, because each agency is more worried about getting less the next appropriations cycle than saving. Absolutely shameful....
    Julie R., Hope Springs Farm
    Chesapeake Bay Retrievers since 1981

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    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Where are the Inspectors General for these agencies? How are the IGs earning their keep? Why not analyze this end-of-year spending to see where some of this $ is going? I know that has happened at more local levels as well, and has been going on for more than 30 years in that vein.

    Years ago, our small business got a good deal on a used dictating machine because (the salesperson told us) the county often splurged on replacing equipment at the end of their budget cycle for the reason Julie states. It was appalling to me then, and it still is.
    G.Clinchy@gmail.com
    "Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim

    ​I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie R. View Post
    The Washington Post (not exactly a bastion of conservative ideals) had an article recently about all the agencies' wasteful spending at the end of the budget cycle. Even knowing a shutdown was looming, agencies scrambled to use up any/all money not spent at the end of their fiscal cycle. Stuff like redecorating offices, new equipment whether or not it was needed, landscaping, conferences and junkets, etc. Literally billions of dollars, basically anything appropriated but not spent, because each agency is more worried about getting less the next appropriations cycle than saving. Absolutely shameful....
    Very true, and shameful Julie. As I recall Jimmy Carter proposed that we use "Zero based budgeting" or something to tha effect as a way of reducing this problem. It may have been the only good idea Carter had, but IMHO we could handle most of the deficit problem by eliminating waste

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