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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's the Spending, Stupid!

A group of conservative and grassroots leaders signed a “Memo for the Movement” spelling out specific spending cuts that can be enacted to get the nation’s fiscal mess under control. The letter was signed by 30 top leaders, including SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

As noted by the signers of the letter: “Congress left town without passing a budget; the country kept losing jobs during ‘Recovery Summer;’ and President Obama admitted there are no such things as ‘shovel ready’ projects -- but the excessive spending by the federal government continues.”

The letter listed 10 specific spending cuts (all foot noted in the full letter) that Congress can get to work on when it returns to Washington. Of course, many additional spending cuts have been recommended and suggested by a variety of different groups across the political spectrum. Here are specific targets outlined by the group in its letter:

1. Repeal ObamaCare: Save taxpayers over $1 trillion dollars. Only six months after implementation, the new health care law has proven to be a bureaucratic nightmare that has already raised insurance premiums and forced some insurers to cancel coverage plans.

2. Completely End TARP: Save taxpayers roughly $16 billion. All banks should face the consequences of their actions. Taxpayers should not be forced to bailout banks that engaged in risky behavior. By canceling TARP once and for all, taxpayers will be saved billions of dollars.

3. Reduce Government Employment to 2008 Levels: Save taxpayers $35 billion over the next 10 years. Since 2008, federal government employment has grown by 188,000 (excluding temporary Census workers.) Meanwhile, the private sector has lost over 7.9 million jobs. Taxpayers in the private sector cannot afford to pay for the excessive number of government employees that do not perform necessary functions of government.

4. Freeze Federal Pay: A pay freeze would save taxpayers $5 billion annually. With benefits included, the average federal government employee is paid $123,049--while the average private sector employee receives only $61,051 annually. After adjusting for inflation, federal employee wages increased 36.9 percent while private sector wages rose only 8.8 percent since 2000.

5. Sell Excess Federal Property: Save taxpayers up to $15 billion. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government is holding on to $18 billion in property that it does not need. Requiring the federal government to sell excessive property could potentially save taxpayers billions of dollars.

6. End Tax-Payer Funding and Subsidizing for Abortions Domestically & Overseas: Save Taxpayers $739 million. President Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy, allowing tax dollars to flow to groups that promote abortion under the category of International Family Planning. In FY 2010 $648.5 million was appropriated for this effort.

7. Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Reforming Fannie and Freddie Mac could save taxpayers at least $30 billion. So far, taxpayers have been forced to spend $145 billion to bailout the irresponsible actions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Action must be taken immediately to privatize the current government sponsored mortgage-backing companies. If Congress delays reforming Fannie and Freddie Mac, taxpayers will likely be on the hook for billions more dollars.

8. Eliminate Subsidies for Amtrak: Save taxpayers $202 million a year. Despite the fact that the majority of trains remain fairly empty, government-run Amtrak runs an abundance of trains daily. In fact, Amtrak actually loses money on most of its train routes. Taxpayers are forced to pay $32 per Amtrak passenger to make up for these losses

9. End Energy Subsidies:
Save taxpayers $20 billion a year. Over the last 30 years, energy subsidies have failed to produce any promising results. The private sector is fully capable of investing in energy technology. Unfortunately, government subsidies have crowded out private investment in energy.

10. Reduce Federal Farm Subsidies: Completely ending the peanut & sugar subsidies would save taxpayers $1.3 billion annually. Federal farm subsidies are America’s largest corporate welfare program costing taxpayers more than $245.2 billion since 1995. Despite the claims that farm subsidies go to struggling family farmers, two-thirds of farm subsidy checks go to the wealthiest 10 percent of farmers.

You can read the full letter and find additional information on proposed budget cuts by clicking here.

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