Mary Kate Cary has a great article up at U.S. News and World Report on the proposed GOP spending cuts. Here’s what the GOP is proposing:
In addition to eliminating funding for healthcare reform, saving $900 million, they’re proposing ending federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cutting the federal workforce through attrition by 15 percent, and returning federal spending on everything except defense,homeland security, and vets to 2008 levels. After that, they’ve got a list of additional specific cuts. If you’d like to take a look at the whole list, here it is.
Cary rightly points out that some of the items on the list shouldn’t even exist to start with. They call for eliminating duplicative educational programs–eliminates 68 programs and saves $1.3 billion over ten years. Another no-brainer: Prohibiting taxpayer-funded union activities by federal employees saves $1.2 billion over ten years. Why are we funding duplicate programs and union activity to start with? This makes one wonder what else we are funding that is completely unnecessary.
Cary also highlights the heavy influence of special interests on federal spending, i.e.–earmarks. Here’s what your hard earned money is paying for:
Second, people in Peoria would question why the heck they’ve been paying for some of this stuff in the first place: millions in subsidies for the Washington, D.C., subway; exchange programs between native Alaskans, native Hawaiians, and “their historical trading partners in Massachusetts;” mohair subsidies and “weatherization” grants. The list reveals the depth of special-interest horse trading that’s been going on for years here in Washington, and why people are fed up with excessive earmarks.
Some of the cuts were easy:
Other cuts are simply commonsense ideas—things that should have already been done: cuts in the federal travel budget and in new cars for the federal fleet, and new rules encouraging more competitive bidding.
Some were more difficult:
The list shows the willingness of the House GOP to make some difficult cuts, or at least to start a discussion about them. They’ve raised the question whether the federal government should continue its support for some programs that, to some, seemed reasonably within the federal purview: public railroads and public broadcasting, for example, and foreign aid. But the tide has turned against foreign aid, and maybe against public broadcasting, too. There’s also a proposed end to the federal financing of presidential campaigns, which will bring on a great debate, as will ending both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. So will ending the federal role in Fannie and Freddie.
This sounds like a good start for the GOP. At least we’re taking steps in the right direction, even if they are just baby steps.