Washington needs a hefty dose of fiscal discipline. To restore accountable and effective leadership to America, government needs to run more like a business.
That is what I did in New York. My administration inherited a $2.3 billion deficit. We responded by imposing fiscal discipline. We cut programs. We cut taxes. And we got results. We turned the deficit into a multibillion-dollar surplus. We cut bureaucracy by 20,000 workers - while increasing cops on the street and teachers in the classroom. And we cut taxes 23 times, all while working with a Democrat-dominated city council. Every year - in good times or bad - I required city commissioners to propose cuts in their own budgets. I wanted to keep my managers focused on saving taxpayers' money, while spending it more effectively. We put management back into the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Fiscally conservative governance was at the foundation of New York City's resurgence. Now we need to do the same thing in Washington, building a more accountable government on what I call "the four pillars of prosperity" for sustained economic growth.
1. Reduced spending growth. Fiscal conservatives understand the value of controlling the size and cost of -government. Controlling spending makes -government more efficient and more effective in achieving its core responsibilities. But the performance of the government's fundamental functions must also be improved.
America will need to invest in a stronger military to win the war on terror or, as I call it, "the terrorists' war on us". Homeland security must be improved to ensure that there is never another Hurricane Katrina-like disaster response from the government. And we will need to increase our investment to move more aggressively towards energy independence. Clear priorities must be set to meet the challenges of our times. We must govern better while spending less. One way to reduce the size and cost of government is by waging a war of attrition.
During the next two presidential terms, 42 per cent of the federal civilian workforce is due to retire. This is a chance to revitalise government by making it smaller and smarter. Consider the cost-saving opportunities: permanently retiring just half of the potential retirees, while upgrading services with technology, would mean about 300,000 fewer salaries at an average of $70,000 each. This amounts to $21bn in taxpayer savings every year.
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