So, you say you want some spending cuts? Me too.
I'm sure that it's obvious to everyone that our government absolutely spends too much money. The trick here is what to cut. Now, the Christian Tea Party Republicans put forth the idea that the system by which the elderly and the disabled get medical care and food should be terminated and the cost savings be handed to multi-millionaires. I disagree on that plan. It will actually end up costing money because seniors and the disabled will simple clog up the hospital ER lounge, where a doctor costs $1,000/hour instead of $75/hour. It seems to me that the Tea Party plan is a recipe for putting hospitals out of business.
But there’s no use complaining unless one comes up with better ideas. So, in the World According to the Butterfly Mage, here are the spending cuts I propose:
- Cut out all foreign wars. There is no reason why we need to be the police force for the government of Afghanistan. We don’t need to be the police force for Iraq (Saddam Hussein has been dead for a long time now). And we absolutely have no business whatsoever in Libya. The wars have, collectively, have added $3.5 trillion to the national debt since 2003.
- Stop subsidizing huge, highly profitable corporations. Does our government really need to spend $40 billion per year on oil company subsidies? My answer is “no”. And they are hardly the only industry that is profitable and receiving a “gimmie” on the taxpayers’ backs. If you're a corporation, you need to pr profitable by your own means. That's how capitalism works. This is a cut that 98% of America can certainly live with.
- Stop subsidizing the rich. While the Tea Party whines about the elderly and the disabled getting their $80/month food vouchers, the wealthiest Americans currently enjoy a $7,500 “gimmie” when they buy a $41,000 Chevy Volt or a $105,000 Tesla Roadster. So when a rich person buys a fancy “eco car”, it takes as much tax money as an elderly person receiving eight (8) years’ worth of food stamps. And the subsidies to the wealthy don’t end there. If you can afford $30,000 in solar panels, you also get a $7,500 check. Working class families will never qualify for this boon because their income is too low to afford the car or the solar panels in the first place. So, again, this is a cut that 98% of America can live with.
- Stop subsidizing the investment portfolios of the wealthy. Let’s make this simple. If I work 40 hours in a week and receive a check for those 40 hours, my paycheck is taxed in accordance to my income bracket. But when a rich person gets a check for capital gains, he hasn’t worked one nanosecond for that money and that income isn’t even taxed as income (even though it surely spends the same as income). Capital gains income should be treated as any other form of income. Again, this is a spending cut that 98% of America can live with.
- Stop subsidizing private religious schools. We have a public school system in this country for a reason: most people cannot even begin to afford private tuition for elite schools. And most private schools are profitable. Add to that, the science curriculum at most religious private schools are suspect at best (new flash: the Earth is older than 6,000 years). So why is both the Federal government and many State governments keep handing taxpayers’ money over to church/mosque-based schools? Good question. Cut it!
- Stop paying farmers not to grow food. Have you noticed that your grocery bill has tripled in the past decade while the package sizes have shrunk by half? If you have, you’re paying attention. Currently, our government pays farmers to either grow nothing, or they are paid to turn food into ethanol. Neither are good options for the American People when a loaf of bread costs the same as a gallon of gasoline. (Hint: Ethanol isn’t too good for your car either.) This is absolutely a worthwhile cut.
- Stop subsidizing political churches. Now, I can understand that without certain tax breaks, the little church on the corner would become a boarded-up shell. But there is a huge difference between Tiny Methodist Community Church (with 65 members) and the likes of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. See, Rick Warren’s church can afford to fly him to and from Uganda on a regular basis for “missionary” work (coincidentally, that country wants to murder all gays in the name of Jesus thanks to Ricky and a handful of other “missionaries”). Saddleback Church also raised $2.4 million in JUST ONE WEEKEND once. Likewise, Pat Robertson’s ministry allows him to be a multi-millionaire while his ministry meddles in politics and spreads hate. And someone please tell me how Westboro Baptist Church qualifies as "charitable" in any way, shape, or form. Why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for huge, vastly wealthy churches that are in essence appendages of the GOP? I say let the Republican Party pay these churches’ proprty taxes. We shouldn’t. This is a fantastic cut.
- Stop giving lifetime disability payments to people with trivial problems. Let me tell you: I work for the court system and I see “disabled” people with active criminal careers all the time. Having blindness, paralysis, brittle bone disease, MS, severe mental retardation, being born without hands -- these are all very legitimate disabilities and I have no problem with people in those situations getting the help they need. I’m not talking about them. I’m referring to the people that get $850/month lifetime disability (plus food stamps and a housing allowance) for attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. I’ve seen other trivial inconveniences subsidized too. It makes my blood boil because I have dyslexia, tachycardia, and a dissociative disorder and I have missed a whopping six (6) days of work in the past 20 years. I started working at age 14. Cutting the folk with trivial ailments from the Social Security roles will save the government money and will help make the program more solvent.
- Stop giving social services payments to drug addicts and criminals. Being a junkie is not a disability; it is a behavioral problem. Likewise, if a teenage thug gets shot in the chest while robbing a liquor store and is thus paralyzed thereafter, I don’t see how society owes this person anything. If you’re under age 62 and you’re on social services, I think it is reasonable to have an annual drug test. Likewise, any felony conviction for CDS (drugs) or a crime of violence should immediately make one ineligible for public assistance of any kind for five (or more) years, depending on the nature of the crime. Again, this will save the government money while helping to keep these vital social programs solvent.
- Get our bailout money back from the banks and the major corporations. In a nutshell, our government handed close to $3 trillion to banks and other industries and there is precious little to show for it. Foreclosures are still sky high and unemployment is close to Great Depression levels. The corporations took the txpayers’ money and delivered nothing. Uncle Sam deserves a $3 trillion refund.