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The Machine Gets Bigger

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Recently, I was preparing to go on national television to discuss our Nation’s continued expansion of government and the spending machine in Washington, D.C. The producer of the show asked me, “George, what can you recommend specifically that we can do today to make things better?” The first thought I had was the Maximizing America’s Prosperity Act, proposed by United States Representative Kevin Brady (R) from Texas.

The root of our problems lies with a system where no one is specifically to blame, and because the culprit cannot be cornered and dealt with, the machine gets bigger. Every legislator, one way or another, becomes a part of this engine. The very job of a good legislator has evolved to bring home the money from the federal ATM to their state. 

I don’t blame the legislators as much as the system’s design. It was never intended that the states would be begging the federal government for their share of the “handout”. Incentive programs do work, and we have a system that incentivizes excessive spending – “I will back your bridge to nowhere and in return you will support my, non-economically viable, green project.” The amount of debt and future liabilities is staggering and unsustainable. It’s estimated that by the end of this decade, annual government spending will be 90% of GDP.

If you love this country and our republic, the deconstruction of the Washington spending machine has to be our number one priority as a Nation. The MAP Act is a great start in that direction. To begin and really explain the Act, I want you to imagine a system where government agencies have to justify their existence, presenting their own analysis and data to support their argument to an independent Sunset Commission. Each agency is given a specific sunset date to ensure continued relevance to the needs of our nation. The commission researches and reviews each agency and makes a recommendation to continue, modify, merge, or abolish agency. Upon the sunset date it will be abolished unless the legislature passes legislation allowing it to continue. This may sound unrealistic – but it’s a plan that has actually served Texas well and has recently passed in Minnesota.

Based on Texas’s experience, Brady has introduced legislation to curb the excesses of our federal government, including just mandatory smart caps on spending and an item reduction veto. I agree with Brady – the deficit itself is not the problem, but the symptom; the problem is DC’s excessive and wasteful spending. The MAP Act remedies this by automatically setting spending at 90% of the previous year’s budget when Congress fails to pass an appropriations bill, preventing shutdowns that stop the provision of essential services, or “grand bargains” that end up kicking the can down the road. This will eliminate the current process of leveraging the pending budget for legalized extortion. Additionally, the Act will allow the President to enact up to four line-item reduction bills each year, giving some much needed discretion to cut funding where needed and urging a downward trend in spending.

We need decisive action and leadership now, not powerless “super committees” that inevitably fail. If we keep up our ongoing spending binge, the deficit will continue to rise and saddle our children with the same problems Greece has today. By capping spending and removing unnecessary or irrelevant agencies, Rep. Brady’s MAP Act will do just this. Encourage your representative to support it! If your representative doesn’t support it, then it tells you that they are addicted to the spending machine; they are not committed to solving the problem, and they need to be replaced.

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