While President Obama is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, the White House let it leak that it has asked federal agencies to propose cuts of 10% or more to their 2013 budgets. Little is known about the details of this request, but the bare bones are a 5% reduction from the baseline budget and another 5% that can be trimmed in other areas in order to meet the 10% target.
At first blush this is real progress, isn’t it? Well, not exactly –
- The President told us he had a plan for deficit reduction that the Republicans had rejected “in the last minute” and
- He said he has ideas to contribute to the newly formed Congressional Super Committee?
- Does the OMB memo confirm that the economy is, in fact, stalled?
- Lower economic growth means lower than expected tax revenues and larger than expected spending deficits in 2013.
Now, I am not big on gambling but, I would wager $5 its all three of the above.
While the White House leak leaves the impression the President is going to propose a 10% across the board cut in federal spending right after the Presidential Election (i.e. 2013 Fiscal Year), that’s not reality.
- There is no 2012 Budget – to establish a baseline for the demanded cuts –
- President’s budget was defeated in the Senate by vote of 97-0
- Senate also rejected the House 2012 Budget
- There has been no Senate budget offered in over 800 days – almost 3 years
- 60% of the Federal Budget is so-called “Mandatory Spending” that Congress does not even vote on –
- Social Security
- Interest on the Debt
- !0% Reductions in Medicare and Social Security requires separate and specific Congressional action.
- Well, that’s not going to happen absent a really “Grand Bargain”
- and did I mention that 2013 Federal Budget will be passed in an Election Year?
Connie Mack, a Florida Congressman, has proposed a different approach to reducing government spending. He has proposed that every year between 2012 and 2019, the federal budget be reduce one penny for every $1 of federal spending in the previous year.
The reason that this approach has received bi-partisan interest is that reducing the federal budget one penny at a time, would allow for a gradual and compounding reduction in the size of Federal spending – The penny, itself, could be absorbed through staff attrition and shifted spending priorities.
Most importantly, it allows time and space for a broad public debate on what the priorities of the Federal Government should be in the 21st century.
- What are the limits that we, the people, want to place on government’s ability to think and act for us – rather than with us?
- Defined as the services Americans expect from government and at what level of government – local to national?
- How, once the services are defined, can government, at all levels, deliver those services efficiently, economically and fairly?
- Simply put, can government improve delivery through the application of modern business principles and technology?
- And, most importantly, how and at what level of government should these services be paid for – in other words what taxes, how much and at what level of government?
Important as this debate is, and it should be a major portion of the 2012 political debate, this debate still just nibbles around the edges of the same “old and dilapidated box” – to use a tired but appropriate old cliché.
What we really need is a Mission, Vision, Strategy and, above all, a Plan, to “build a new box”, rather than trying to repair the old one. A Plan for an American Renaissance – a mid-century America that is innovative, self-sufficient, proud and secure. That’s a Plan that comes from the hearts of Americans finding common purpose in building a better stronger country and that integrates —
- spending and investing
- global trade and
- national security
in support of a broad-based private economy.
The 2012 Election must be a contest of ideas about how to achieve the American Renaissance.
If you agree with me, call or write your Congressional Representative and Senators or forward this blog to their office. You can, also, forward the blog with your own comments and ideas to www.whitehouse.gov. Or to your preferred GOP candidate —?
If there is no answer. we voters can send one in November, 2012.