Rich Galen, former press secretary for Dan Quayle and former executive director of GOPAC (www.gopac.org/), "a national organization dedicated exclusively to electing Republicans to state and local offices" lists on his blog, Mullings (www.mullings.com), some of the committee's recommendations and adds a few of his own, including a 15 percent reduction in the number of civilian federal employees, "accomplished by attrition rather than outright firings." Galen proposes, "Only one new employee could be hired for every two who left until the reduction number was met." (This should apply to all branches of government.) Cuts in programs are also warranted, including "cutting out the Hope VI Program, charged with proposing a National Action Plan to eradicate severely distressed public housing, which "will save $250 million per year." Anyone notice such a plan, or the relief of "stress" on public housing?
AMTRAK costs $1.565 billion per year in federal subsidies. Couldn't private enterprise do better?
Galen thinks congressional travel should be cut. Each member, he says, ought to get six trips home per year at public expense. "More than that, they have to use campaign funds." The Republican Study Committee estimates cutting other federal travel would save $7.5 billion.
Ethanol cuts aren't in the GOP plan, but they should be. So should responsible cuts in defense spending. Entire cabinet agencies, like Housing and Urban Development, Education and Energy should be eliminated and any essential work folded into other government agencies. That isn't likely to happen in the short term, but if Republicans stick with the principles that got them elected and demonstrate their plan works, the public might go along with cutting major expenditures, including modernizing and reforming Social Security and Medicare.
There may well be a "catastrophe," as Bernanke predicts, but it is more likely to occur if we don't reduce our spending than if we raise the debt ceiling and keep on spending with borrowed money.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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