This is Not How to Balance the Budget

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Jim Geraghty at Campaign Spot at NRO makes an impassioned plea for the FLAP program, a federal budget line item among millions.

Before I even say what it is, let me explain the severity of our budget problems at the federal level. We are flat-out broke. We cannot balance the budget, not now, not in a million years. At this point, we are getting 70% of our federal dollars that are borrowed from the Fed, meaning we’re just printing money, just like 3rd world countries, and 1st world countries trying their best to become 3rd world countries are doing.

Our national debt is dwarfed by our liabilities. We are hundreds of trillions of dollars in the hole. That’s many, many times the size of our economy. And what’s worse is the liabilities increase in price over time, rather than diminish. In other words, its as if we cannot even make the interest payment on our homes, and the principal is increasing over time, much faster than we can reasonably expect our income to grow.

In light of this, teaching high school kids to speak Spanish is hardly a priority. In fact, maybe it’s time we let the upcoming generation feel, first hand, what “we can’t afford it” really means, and do so by shutting down federal funding for foreign language classes across the country today.

The federal budget process should work like this, and regretfully, not even the Ryan Plan even begins to work in this way.

Step 1: What is the optimum tax rate and regulation policy to encourage growth in the private sector? Tim Pawlenty is right. We should have a policy at the federal level of not setting taxes, borrowing or regulations so high that our economy grows less than 5% each year. 5% growth means we double our national income every 12 years.

Step 2: With the money that we get, and not a dime more, we must set a budget that (a) meets our highest priority spending items, such as the courts and national defense, (b) does not burden any future generations with spending that we cannot bear, even at 5% growth.

Step 3: If there is any money left over after Step 2, then we return it to the American people. The federal government’s job is not to educate the children, feed the poor, or invest in America’s infrastructure. That’s left to the states and to the people, so give them back the surplus and let them feed the poor, educate the children, and invest in America’s infrastructure according to what they feel is most important.

The above steps just make sense. Take honest stock of what you have and what you can get; take honest stock of what you need; and make the two meet, with the expenses coming in below revenues.

Sadly, the Paul Ryan plan, a plan I support even though it is woefully inadequate, works like every other budget in the modern history of the federal government.

Step 1: Start with last year’s budget, then increase everything by 5%.

Step 2: Poll the current body of congress, and throw in as much spending as you can to get a majority vote.

Step 3: Ask the president what he’d like to spend money on, and add that in too, completely disregarding whether or not America should be involved in the foreign conflicts the president has gotten us involved in.

Step 4: Bring in every office of government and ask them whether they’d like gold or platinum buttons on their uniforms, and then throw in an extra 25% just to be sure.

Step 5: Proclaim to the public that there just isn’t enough money and that the federal government must raise taxes to make ends meet.

Step 6: Ensure that every member of congress gets the best health care plan in the universe.

Step 7: Take a few millions dollars off the top and call it cuts to the budget.

What the Paul Ryan plan does do, however, is cap the costs of Medicare for future generations by allowing seniors to shop around. Of course, seniors 55 and older will get their platinum buttons at the expense of all the homeless and unemployed who can’t find work because money is being sucked out of the economy by the body we call congress; but never mind that, because we owe those 55 and older their medical plans because they’ve been dang sure to put us up as collateral to afford it, and heaven forbid their children and grandchildren have a say in whether they would like to be slaves to pay for every minor procedure and pill!

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