Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reduce Government Expenses

Government at all levels is cutting expenses due to the recession and the resulting decline in tax revenues. I believe it is the responsibility of we the people to understand what government officials are proposing to cut, and then let our representatives know what we think. We need to have a voice in the process. Believe me, the special interests have a voice, and if that’s all our representatives hear, that’s who they’ll listen to.

Gov. Patterson of New York just came out with proposals for cutting back expenses. Do you know what he is proposing? Various cities, towns, villages and counties will be doing the same. Will you study what they are proposing and let them know what you think they are doing wrong?

Over the past seven years we have seen the largest growth in federal government since the Great Society and the New Deal, and this was done by a Republican administration! Government has paid for or gotten itself into things that are not appropriate. Now some tough decisions will have to be made, and we must make sure they are made. Let’s start holding our representatives and local officials accountable.

I believe government should do either what nobody else can do (such as taking care of roads, providing public education) or what government typically is responsible for (such as national defense, fie departments, police), and nothing else. Government at all levels will have to stop spending on things outside of its core responsibilities, and stop “earmarks” (spending on pet projects that typically aren’t funded by government). I don’t think government should be funding the arts, for example. This is not a core responsibility. Private funding is more appropriate for the arts and things like that.

Don’t let local officials scare you. The first thing they say is they’ll have to cut some educational programs, and cut back on fire and police. Let’s look at the schools’ core goal, which is to educate our children. Rather than cutting back on education (its fundamental reason for being), let them cut back on sports and extracurricular activities (or charge fees or increase fees). Why subsidize sports and other non-core activities at the expense of education? That doesn’t make sense.

Same with fire and police. Cut back on other things less essential to the welfare of the citizenry. Increase user fees. One problem we have now is rebuilding the infrastructure. I believe this is essential, but some states (and I think the federal government) have plundered the highway trust funds so now they have no money. Decreased gas tax revenues have made the situation worse. There is already tremendous debt, so how can there be more borrowing to fund this work? Bad leadership has created this mess, and all I can think of (besides putting those government officials in jail for robbing the trust funds to pay for their pet projects) is cutting back on nonessentials so that roads and bridges can be repaired and replaced.

We love to complain, but often aren’t part of the process. Our voting record is pitiful in this country. Now, more than ever, it is critical for all of us to be part of the solution. May God bless you as you work to improve our government and our society.

No comments: