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OPINION

Elites in Congress Need to Focus on Cutting Spending to Protect American Taxpayers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

Spending is out of control in Washington right now. With Republicans and Democrats fighting over where to increase federal spending, it is important that the opposite happen, and discretionary spending take a big cut. There is a way to fully fund the core functions of government while taking a big chunk out of federal discretionary spending. There are so many targets for spending cuts and Congress needs to start finding cuts now, instead of finding new ways to spend even more taxpayer cash and borrowed money.

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I was there when the Tea Party movement launched thanks to the federal government bailing out Wall Street. The movement launched to send new members to Congress like Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to fight the establishment of both parties on the fact that Washington can’t control spending. Those members have fought a lonely battle and we need the House Freedom Caucus to take up a new battle to get the Republican Party in the House to propose large cuts to spending going forward to regain the trust of the American people.

They can start today.

In the post-election Lame Duck Congress, the House and Senate are in negotiations on a massive omnibus spending package that will cost the taxpayers $1.5 trillion. According to Reuters, the two sides are $25 billion apart from cutting a deal. Those deals usually end up with more spending for both parties, instead of finding a cut to satisfy both parties. The goal is to bundle the twelve appropriations bills into one giant omniums package that will keep the government funded to September 30, 2023. This creates leverage for conservatives to get some cuts or vote down the package.

Our national debt is in excess of $31.4 trillion. That is a staggering amount of debt that will end up being passed on to future generations. Our federal government has run a deficit of $2.8 trillion in FY2021 and $1.4 trillion in FY 2022. Sadly, some in Congress and the White House want to take credit for cutting the deficit by over a trillion. They should be run out of town for having a deficit this past year over one trillion. The priorities in the Washington swamp are out of whack and if they don’t focus on getting the federal debt under control, our nation might hit the wall on borrowing and spiral the economy into a deep depression.

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One easy target to cut spending is in the massive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program that is projected to cost $1.7 trillion over the lifetime of the program according to Dan Grazier of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). He argues that the F-35 JSF program suffers from “everything from structural cracks to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Twenty years in development — and it still can’t shoot straight and is rarely ready to fly when it is needed.” Well, that seems like a good place to start at the Pentagon. 

Much like the financial institutions on Wall Street were deemed “Too Big To Fail,” the F-35 JSF program seems to have fallen into the same category. Even with the many well document problems with the program, Congress can’t quit the program. At a minimum, they should find savings in the program and if you need to close a $25 billion gap between Republican and Democratic spending priorities, this might be low hanging fruit.

In addition to the massive overspending on this program, it seems that the F-35 program has some materials in the engine that were sourced from China, according to Politico, in violation of the law. That is a good reason to stall the program until we can figure out ways to get more out of the contractor for less taxpayer cash. This is merely one example and there are hundreds of other wasteful programs in need of study and cuts.

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If Republicans in Congress can’t get their act together and tackle spending, maybe it is time for Tea Party 2.0 to come to Congress in the next election to force some change on the elites who continually spend trillions of dollars they don’t have. Republicans better get used to looking over their shoulders for primary challenges if they can’t get this right.

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