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Posts Tagged ‘Government Spending’

I’m not sure what has been going on around Washington DC of late, especially in the back rooms were all the heavy negotiation is going on, but it’s clear what President Obama wants.  Obama does not seem to be seriously negotiating for anything.  He has been dangling offers here and there, attempting to portray he wants to compromise – but there is no indication he’s negotiating seriously.  But Why?  He doesn’t want the country to drive off the cliff – does he?  Let’s think about this – hmmmm, significant cuts in defense spending, tax increases for all – more revenue to spend…AND, he can blame the Republicans for the mess it creates.  Democrats have wanted to reduce defense spending for years, and think of what they could do with all the additional revenue – more programs to deploy to get more Americans dependent on the government.  But what about a second recession?  Well, first, it’s all the republicans fault anyway – and it’ll run its course before the next election cycle, doing no harm to democrats in office.  This is the democrats best chance to cut defense and have the blame fall on the republicans.

It is clear there is little interest at this point to solve the economic crisis we face – the crisis is government spending.  The crisis is also related to the beliefs in congress of the meaning of the word “cut”.  Merriam-Webster defines “cut” as “reduce amount”.  In congress, this really means, “reduce growth”.  BUT, then, Pelosi goes out and claims these so-called “cuts” are now going to take food out of children’s mouths…UUGGHHHH!  We have a bunch of spending addicts in Washington – and no one who knows what work must be done to reduce spending, improve efficiencies, reduce waste, and drive economic expansion.

When will the political posturing end!

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I’m sorry to say that the leadership (I use this word very loosely) in Washington DC is absolutely inept.  This so called super committee which was charged with finding a mere trillion or so in cuts over the past few months, seems to be coming up at the end of the race empty handed.  They were sent off to make the hard decisions that the rest of the congress apparently weren’t up to making and they still failed!  They all should be FIRED!  The government will spend in excess of 44 trillion over the next 10 years, and this group of supposed elite lawmakers could not come up with a about 3% in savings?  We are only talking 3%.  I’m sure that putting a little bit of pressure on every department in the US Government – including entitlements, the intelligent people who actually are working for America could think of ways to improve a process here, save a few dollars there, and get to 5% savings without a sweat!  LETS GET REAL HERE!  You can not tell me the government is running at its most efficient point at the moment. Simply by taking some actions to look at how we are spending money department by department we would find that perhaps, just from doing things smarter, we could eliminate in excess of 10% from most departments.

The Super Committee was a very bad idea.  It’s time for the congress to get to work to do what they are paid to do and get to the business of preserving and protecting America and getting our government in order.  Stop the petty politics, get to work or get out of the way.  The current administration is deteriorating our country and its time for real change.  We need a major transformation in how Government does business, and how its measured.  We need to stop the madness.

If I were on the committee, I would insist the Government freeze spending at 2001 levels.  Cut every line in the budget by 12%.  Each department would need to live within this 12% reduced budget by finding process improvements, head count reductions as appropriate, and potential changes in services provided.  I use 12% as I feel while there are a number of government agencies where process improvements could yield even more.  I also feel there may be areas of the government that may be operating at higher efficiency, and may not be able to reduce spending by as much – so maybe we end up with a savings of 9 – 10% (which is more than 3 times what the inept Super Committee tried to accomplish).  Each department then would be measured on productivity, and rewarded at some level based on specific productivity criteria.

Right now the government is running like a ship with the throttle wide open, heading into a pile of rocks, and the captain off on the deck politicking.  We need a captain who will pull back on the throttle and steer the ship into calmer waters.  We need a leader who will take charge and get America heading in the right direction.

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The Super Committee is working on how to cut 1.2 trillion in spending over the next 10 years.  There is a group of 145 congressmen pushing for something closer to 4 trillion – what’s a few trillion among friends?  The one thing that gets me is it seems that quite often, when someone in Washington DC talks about cuts in the budget, they really mean we won’t increase it by as much as we wanted to.  OK, so I think I need to increase my budget say by, $50k, so maybe I should ask for $150k – just in case it gets the ax (or more appropriately, trimmed back).  I get cut back by , say 50% of what I asked – Great! I now have $25k more to spend that I really didn’t need in the first place!

This is absolutely crazy – and since we have a limited amount of true business savvy in the congress, or for that matter the White House, then our problems continue – with no end in sight.  It seems like with good intentions, a program is initiated to help a specific group of people – but with little effort to truly measure the effectiveness of the program.  After a number of years, it gets lost in the tons of programs added to our ever-growing government – and continues to get funded, and funded – without regard to any sane measurement of its effectiveness.  A program that is worth having, can always be made more efficient by employing continuous improvement techniques.  You CAN do MORE with LESS if you take the right approach and eliminate waste.

If we are to get serious about getting America back on track, to shut down the whining dribbles of the OWSers, to be the America we surly can be – it’s time for a radical change in three areas.  First, the government needs to stop adding ANY new program without an objective means test;  what is needed to be spent, and specifically, what will the return be – benefit to dollars spent.  Second, all programs currently in the budget, should be rolled back to 2001 levels and go through this means testing – any found below acceptable levels must be eliminated, or improved to meet an acceptable return.  Third – entitlements must be reformed dramatically – stop SS to anyone entering the job market for the first time.  Develop a plan to encourage savings though a wide range of investment programs or other financial instruments.  It is NOT the duty of the government to subsidize everyone’s retirement.  Implement changes to healthcare that will encourage innovation and competition.  Encourage a new national commitment to health and well-being and a preventative ideology.

On the revenue side – we’ll see revenue improvement just by getting government out-of-the-way – but there still needs to be tax reform.  Simplify the system, and make sure taxes are fair across the board. Encourage US business development by minimizing the tax burden on companies that generate significant US jobs.  Companies should be taxed based on their inefficiencies, based on their ratio of foreign to US payroll, based on their negative impacts to the environment.

My biggest fear is that the current administration is incapable of understanding the basic business principles that can get us back on track.  Obama lacks the critical skills required to provide the strong leadership that is needed to bring about the hard work to get the right things done.  Instead, he is running around the country, campaigning, encouraging the rioters (sorry, protesters) by his class warfare rhetoric, and at the same time, wasting a bunch of our money while he’s at it!

In order for America to regain its status as a nation leading the world in resource development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, government must shrink.  That’s all I have for now – more to come on this subject in the coming weeks!

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