(Via Ace Of Spades HQ) What would be more epic than this article by Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe? If someone actually tried to pull all of this off.
Milton Friedman correctly argued in 1999 that the "real cost of government—the total tax burden—equals what government spends plus the cost to the public of complying with government mandates and regulations and of calculating, paying, and taking measures to avoid taxes." He added, "Anything that reduces that real cost—lower government spending, elimination of costly regulations on individuals or businesses, simplification of explicit taxes—is a tax reform."
Starting out with a quote from Milton "Mr Awesome" Friedman. I have to stop here and comment that I love reading Milton Friedman. I can't get enough of the guy. If you don't like Friedman, then you are on the wrong site.
Alright, first thing first with these guys: Discretionary Spending
Since 2007, Congress has been on an unprecedented spending binge. That means a first and obvious budget-cutting step would be to return discretionary spending to the baseline before things got so out of control. If Congress returned to the baseline before the supposedly "temporary" stimulus bill of 2009, $177 billion per year would be saved, according to calculations by FreedomWorks based on figures from the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). If spending went back to the 2007 baseline, the beginning of the first Pelosi Congress, $374 billion would be saved. Over 10 years, that is $748 billion and $1.56 trillion in savings, respectively.
That's $2.308 Trillion and we haven't even gotten to ObamaCare yet!
Repealing ObamaCare is another obvious source of reduced spending. The absurd claim that this government takeover of health care produces budget savings is based on budget gimmickry - such as assumed Medicare cuts that, according to estimates by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would put 15% of our hospitals out of business, and thus will never happen. The claim also ignores the historically explosive growth in other similar programs. Medicare grew nine-fold larger than was projected during its first 25 years. In its first 10 years alone, the program experienced a 700% cost overrun.
But let's for the moment accept CBO's numbers on ObamaCare spending. They still mean that repealing the health-insurance exchanges and the premium subsidies, including the expansion of Medicaid, saves $898 billion over 10 years. Repealing the individual mandate alone - and thus reducing rather than eliminating these premium subsidies and Medicaid outlays - would cut $252 billion.
Ok, by repealing ObamaCare, we save a total of $1.15 Trillion. Next, Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe tackle subsidies and government employees.
There's more, much more. Eliminating subsidies to ethanol and for unproven energy technology produces $170 billion in savings over 10 years, according to the Cato Institute's recent "A Plan to Cut Spending and Balance the Federal Budget." Scaling back the number of government employees to fiscal year 2008 will save $35 billion, according to calculations from the office of Wyoming's Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
That's $205 Billion.
Scrapping the departments of Commerce and Housing and Urban Development saves $550 billion; ending farm subsidies would produce nearly $290 billion. Cutting NASA spending by 50% would save $90 billion. Repealing Davis-Bacon labor rules produces $60 billion. Ending urban mass transit grants would save $52 billion. Privatizing air traffic control, as other nations have done, saves $38 billion. Privatize Amtrak and end rail subsidies and save $31 billion. Reform federal worker retirement, $18 billion. Retire Americorps, $10 billion. Shutter the Small Business Administration, $14 billion.
Defense spending should not be exempt from scrutiny. With such dramatic increases in appropriations, it is not plausible that all resources are being spent prudently. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed savings of $145 billion over five years. That's a start.
I would like to stop here and say that the NASA cut hurts. We resently got a telescope for the house hold and have been looking up at the night sky the last few days. How do I tell a 7-year-old boy that wants to be an astronaut, by the time he's my age, NASA won't be fit to build model rockets?
Entitlements - 56% of the annual budget and growing - are the most difficult but also the most important programs to reform, because the total unfunded liability tops $100 trillion for Social Security and Medicare alone. The federal government does not put these liabilities on the books, but serious budgeting requires that we deal with this ominous long-term burden now.
The most complete work on entitlement reform comes from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee. Mr. Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" combines a gradual slowing of Social Security benefit growth with optional personal accounts that seniors would own and control. As for the Big Three health-care programs - Medicare, Medicaid and tax subsidies for employer-sponsored health benefits - he converts them into capped contributions to individuals (part of Medicaid would be block-granted to states).
This is a powerful, patient-driven approach, allowing individuals to take control of their own dollars. In total, the Ryan approach would powerfully realign incentives and would, according to the CBO's analysis of the Roadmap last January, reduce government spending by $370 billion a year in 2020.
If you don't like Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future", then you honestly haven't read Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" and you are on the wrong website.
Ok, let's total this baby up:
Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe are being humble when they say they almost cut $3 Trillion. I personally count a total of $5.331 Trillion in which they cut.
Please go read the entire thing. I almost copy and paste the whole thing, but stop short. It is a good read. It's something that would make Milton Friedman smile.