Friday, January 21, 2011

Republicans Get Serious

Among the Texas Public Policy Foundation's legislative agenda items for this year is a call to "Eliminate programs and agencies that are outside the Constitutional vision of limited government." The TPPF statement is reflective of the mood of American voters who are demanding cuts to government spending and reduction of the national debt. Happily, it seems elected Republicans are heeding the call and taking action accordingly, and some of the programs they want to cut aren't just outside of the Constitutional vision, they're just plain crazy.

At the Federal level, House Republicans are now taking up the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which calls for $2.5 trillion in spending cuts over ten years. In addition to holding non-security spending to 2008 levels in 2011 and to 2006 levels thereafter, the proposal includes over 100 other cuts, many to programs that fall outside the role of limited government.

Take a look at some of the cuts: Cutting PBS (government television) would save $445 million annually, and elimination of the Amtrak subsidies would save a whopping $1.565 billion annually. Other proposals include the elimination of "duplicative education programs" for a savings of $1.3 billion annually, and, get this, requiring collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees for a savings of $1 billion. (Self, don't us non-gubmit folks go to jail for tax evasion?) 

No doubt the Liberal-Progressives will scream that these cuts will eliminate jobs, (yesterday State Rep. Donna Howard was already wailing about that on the state level), but these are government jobs that contribute little to the economy and often end up as employment entitlements that long outlive their original purpose. 

Texas lawmakers are also taking a scalpel to spending, and state Republicans from the top down are promising to balance the budget without raising taxes.  The first draft, released this week, starts off with $31.1 billion in cuts, and while the first draft is never fully adopted, it is a very good starting point for limiting government.

Now the question is, will local government entities do the same?  Most of our federal and state lawmakers have gotten the message that voters want government to do what every American family has to do: cut spending in the face of decreased revenue.  Local governments, county, city, MUDs and school districts should stop trying to squeeze more money out of the taxpayers, and start looking for their own ways to cut the budget.  Voters are better informed than ever before, and you better believe they are watching. 

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