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Reducing our Deficit, and Investing in America will be Difficult but Not as Impossible as re-Creating Humanity and the World!
I just received a message from US Rep Loretta Sanchez asking for ideas on Deficit Reduction, see the excerpt below:
“”November 23 is the deadline for the Super Committee, created by Congress in August, to submit to Congress a deficit reduction plan. The Committee must recommend at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the budget over a ten year period. If the committee cannot find agreement, severe automatic cuts will be enacted.
The Super Committee has some very tough decisions to make . . . What cuts do you think the Super Committee should consider?” Please send her a message here with your thoughts. Let know her of our priorities for the Economy, Jobs and the Deficit.
Below are my “Back of the Envelope” ideas for Deficit Reduction and to Strengthen America:
1) Rein in uncontrolled military overspending.
Overspending can actually make us less safe as a nation. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Warfare should not be Corporate Welfare. For example, Military budget doubled from $200 billion in 1980 to $400B in 1988 then it doubled again to about $800 billion in 2000-2010. We must be strategic in how and where we use our limited military capital.
2) Significantly scale down or eliminate the billions in military aid to other countries,
especially ones whose loyalty or friendship to the USA is questionable.
3) Stop being the world’s policeman.
Partner with other countries so that they also shoulder the cost of security, especially their own.
4) Stop foreign nation building.
We should prohibit building the infrastructure of other countries, while our unemployment is higher than 5%, or our National Debt (both short- and long-term is greater than 20% of GDP). We should not be building up other countries with exorbitant amounts of borrowed money, while we neglect our own citizens. However, we should still allow small discretionary funds to react to catastrophic emergencies.
5) Bring back our troops from foreign wars and reduce military presence in other countries.
We are unnecessarily losing American lives, and our national treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan, without really adding to our security anymore. Also, if countries like South Korea, Japan, or Germany etc want our heavy military presence, then ask that they pay for these costs of protecting them, but we should be significantly winding down our presence there. While we are distracted and we deplete our limited resources, these countries are investing their billions, saved by our presence, and gaining an unfair economic competitive advantage against the USA.
6) Fund the VA to meet the expected needs of wounded warriors, before going to war, unless this is an emergency.
This should help ensure we do not unnecessarily go to war (saving us billions and possibly trillions) and that we are also able to look after our wounded warriors.
7) Allow HHS/CMS to negotiate Price & Volume discounts.
Revise the Medicare Drug giveaway law that forced HHS (Health and Human Services) & CMS (Centers for Medicare& Medicaid Services to buy billions (and now estimated to be in the trillions of dollars) in pharmaceutical products but which prohibited HHS/CMS from negotiating Price & Volume discounts. This violated free market principles.
8) Stop incarcerating undocumented immigrants who want to be voluntarily deported.
Unfortunately, we are privatizing ICE incarcerations/detentions and many of these immigrants get “lost” in the system for years at a time, while private companies unnecessarily make hundreds of millions from the taxpayer and from human misery.
9) Long-term Death Row Incarcerations.
Many states have the death penalty, and many of these sadistic and predatory death row inmates are incarcerated for extremely long periods of time, delaying or often avoiding justice for the families and costing several millions per inmate. Therefore consider prohibiting federal funds from going to state prison systems that have death row inmates for more than 5 years, or that convert death row inmates to long-term or life prison sentences to avoid this federal prohibition. This should encourage states to expedite the appeals process. Concurrently, the federal government should require the type of DNA testing that has been used to exonerate and free the innocent so that innocent people are not wrongly punished or incarcerated. These measures should result in greater justice while savings hundreds of millions.
10) Stop Bloated Pensions.
Prohibit federal funding going to any federal agency, state, county, city, municipality, district or quasi-governmental entity that uses an excessive amount of its funds on bloated pensions, i.e. it uses more than 30% of its funds on pensions.
11) Claw-back the Billions in bonuses paid through the taxpayer funded bailouts.
Most all of the companies that got the bailout money immediately paid their top executives Billions in bonuses when there was not contractual obligation to do so. For example B of A and Citigroup each received about $50 Billion from the taxpayer and immediately gave their top executives $5 Billion in bonuses each…again there was no contractual or legal obligation to make these payments and they did so because of the “free” money available. Also, many of the majority shareholders of these companies are non- USA permanent resident and non- USA citizens.
12) Use strong identification validation measures for those on public assistance.
We should consider requiring fingerprinting or the use of other biometric tools to help reduce or eliminate fraud for those who would be double-dipping from various federal, state, or county programs.
13) Significantly scale down the foreign junkets/trips by Congress members.
There are a significant number of issues to be studied and solved here in our country. If Congress really wants to learn about issues from other countries, I am sure the US State Department, the GAO (which independently audits and reviews the government’s programs); and the CIA can shed light on issues far better than a tax-payer funded vacation will accomplish.
14) Cut back or eliminate subsidies to wealthy industries and individuals.
- For example, we should eliminate all subsidies to the extracting industries i.e. Oil and Gas. They are already extremely profitable and can comfortably afford to fund Research & Development.
- Eliminate subsidies such as Mortgage Interest Expense deductions on expensive second, third or multiple homes. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing million dollar mansions.
15) Invest in Life Sciences and Medical technologies.
This will ensure we address in a cost-effective manner both the high unemployment and the high cost of attending to the 75-80 million “baby boomers” which are beginning to retire.
16) Invest in Education of our Youth and our Citizens.
This will make us make more competitive and thus stronger economically and as a nation. Additionally better educated citizens result in more productive citizens, higher salaries, and thus higher tax bases.
17) Invest in reducing or eliminating the demand for illegal drugs.
We must consider shifting our focus from primarily fighting the supply of illegal drugs to also increasing our efforts to reducing or eliminating the demand for illegal drugs. Our current strategy does and has not worked. This new focus will result in saved lives, less crime, less incarceration, will free up our limited law enforcement and judicial resources, and result in billions of dollars saved.
18) Invest in Green Technologies to obtain Energy independence.
This will ensure we are meeting our energy needs while we liberate ourselves from the “shocks and turmoil” of OPEC countries and the other upheavals from the middle-east. Reacting to these shocks and turmoil is more costly than the investment necessary to achieve this energy independence and security. Look at Brazil, they decided in the 70’s to achieve this energy independence and they worked successfully to achieve this.
19) Invest in our Crumbling Infrastructure.
This will ensure we continue to facilitate the free-flow of goods and services while also helping to employ millions on sound jobs programs.
20) Invest in assistance to Small and Medium sized businesses which are the job creators and job engine of America.
For example, the USA provides about $30 Billion to the SBA (Small Business Administration), a negligible amount, while Trillions are misspent on other areas.
21) Also invest in assistance to the Commerce dept, but more specifically in programs that assist in exports of American Goods and Services.
This will help ensure greater competitiveness of America.
22) Congress should Always publicize the Total National Debt which includes all Unfunded Liabilities.
Congress gets an annual report by the GAO about the true fiscal state of affairs of our country but Congress only focuses on the severely underreported number. Our annual national economy is around $14 Trillion, and the current Debt is about $14 Trillion, but the true and total National Debt is about $66 Trillion. Congress should publicize this in your web, in your offices, and in your periodic communications. This should help awaken America to this problem, and increase transparency and accountability.
Partisanship vs Country First!
I hope Congress does not continue business as usual and posture the closer we get to election time, as Americans face unusual and extraordinary circumstances .