Rich Galen

If we were starting from scratch, would we have five separate armed services as we do now? As a student of the lowest enlisted echelons of the U.S. military (having spent six years there), I would say not.

If every loophole in the billion-page U.S. tax code had a sunset provision and had to be re-authorized every four or five years, how many do you think would make it through without withering in the full sunshine of a public debate?

Earmarks? Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Sunsetting everything would also get us away from the bogus accounting that every Administration and every majority in every Congress use to pretend things are going to cost less than they really do.

Cost cutters are timed to start immediately. Cost raisers don't begin for four or five years, and the Congressional Budget Office (or whomever) stops counting juuuuust before the heavy costs kick in. Whoo Hoo! Look how nicely this new jillion dollar program fits into our deficit reduction plan.

It's like those auto insurance ads on TV. If I could really save an average of $436 by switching from All Star Insurance to Promethian Insurance I would switch carriers every year. After about three years of switching they would have to pay me. Same logic.

The accounting used to pass the Obama health care legislation should have made Enron's Jeff Skilling and WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers file a class action lawsuit because everyone involved hasn't been thrown into their same cellblocks.

Where was I? Oh, yes. A Constitutional amendment to sunset everything.

What are the chances of anything like this ever happening? What comes before zero?

It's a good idea, though.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at