It's been six months since the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform issued its report and I'm beginning to wonder if anyone in Washington has read the commission's recommendations. Most of the recommendations are simple, logical, and easy to implement. They don't require that we push granny off a cliff or eliminate the social safety net. Some of them will only affect government workers. So, I'm wondering why Congress hasn't enacted at least some of these recommendations? Heck, why hasn't Congress even taken up these recommendations? Just to refresh your memory, here are five recommendations that would save almost $3 trillion over the next decade:
Recommendation 1.1: Cap discretionary spending through 2020. Hold spending in 2012 equal to or lower than spending in 2011, and return spending to pre-crisis 2008 levels in real terms in 2013. Limit future spending growth to half the projected inflation rate through 2020. [This recommendation save $205 billion in 2015 and almost $2 trillion from 2012 to 2020.] Doesn't this sound an awful lot like the Republican's Pledge to America: "Cut Government Spending to Pre-Stimulus, Pre-Bailout Levels."
Recommendation 1.9: Establish a Cut-and-Invest Committee to cut low-priority spending, increase high-priority investment, and consolidate duplicative federal programs. Over the next decade, this committee will recommend more than $200 billion in discretionary cuts, freeing up $100 billion for investments and saving $100 billion.
Recommendation 1.10: Adopt immediate reforms to reduce spending and make the federal government more efficient. The recommendations that follow would reduce discretionary spending by more than $50 billion in 2015 and over half a trillion dollars by 2020.
- reduce congressional and white house budgets by 15%;
- impose a three-year freeze on member pay;
- impose a three-year pay freeze on federal workers and DoD civilians;
- reduce the size of the federal workforce through attrition by imposing a hiring freeze;
- reduce federal travel, printing, and vehicle budgets.
Recommendation 3.2: Reform or Repeal the CLASS (community living assistance services) Act. Saves $11 billion in 2015 and $76 billion through 2020.
Recommendation 4.1: Review and reform federal workforce retirement programs. Create a federal workforce entitlement task force to re-evaluate civil service and military health and retirement programs and recommend savings of $70 billion over ten years.
If you agree that Congress ought to enact the above recommendations, write/call/email your Senator and Congressman today and insist that they act immediately on these proposals. In fact, demand that Congress not even consider an increase in the debt ceiling unless and until President Obama signs these recommendations into law.