DO WE REALLY WANT TO CUT SPENDING?



Here are some suggestions for cutting the governmentís expenditures:

The Arts:

Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (or make it run on voluntary tax-deductible donations).

Eliminate all funding for any government agency or activity which censors or otherwise judges the non-artistic merits (moral, political, ethnic, etc.) of any work of literature or art.

The US Government should not be in the business of judging, regulating, or funding any work of art, other than those associated with the architecture, landscaping, and decoration of government buildings and other facilities.


Social Security:

It is a forced pyramid scam out of control. First, offer any worker now the choice of voluntary participation, that is, to be free from all further FICA taxation by waiving all rights to any future benefits. Next, make the receipt of Social Security benefits strictly based upon need. It should be a program to provide subsistence security to the elderly who need it, not guaranteed gravy for those who have reached a certain age with sufficient wealth to support themselves. Such need-based benefits should not be taxed at all.

Defense Industry Spending:

When we fund a weapon, the B-2 for example, we might not need the planes, but we do need to keep the plane-making machine working. Just eliminating a particular weapon program may make perfect tactical sense, but we must not make such cuts without giving the industry something else to do. Therefore, defense finance improvements must come not by cutting the amount being spent, but by redirecting it to refit for civilian market purposes. Some of those which come to mind could be:

-- replace the inefficient airline system with a new national net of computerized high-speed trains, including ferry cars onto which you drive your automobile.

-- diligently pursue the space program from the point of view of commercial success. Get military, security, and liability concerns out of the way of anyone who can make money in space, including feature films shot in space, tourism aboard the shuttle, and the legal right to establish national or corporate colonies at discrete locations in LEO, GEO, the LaGrange Points, or the lunar surface.

-- develop consumer-level environmental-protection systems, including waste-water treatment, solid waste recycling, and alternative-energy production for use by homes, companies, and small communities.

-- maintain a large enlisted manpower pool, and put them in the Corps of Engineers for use by FEMA in large-scale disaster and environmental projects, including the "War on Toxic Military Waste Dumps", highway cleanup, etc. Create an Army "Alien corps", in which refugees can work under discipline, learn English, American cultural studies, the basic laws, and the like, so as to be granted citizenship upon completion of a two-to-four year tour of duty.

-- greatly expand the system of military and VA hospitals and medical schools, and make them available to more people (all veterans, dependents, identified disaster victims), and price their services at cost, in direct competition with the physician/insurance monster now cornering the medical market.


Government Contracts:

By an act of Congress, mandate that in the budget of any contractor who accepts Federal funds for any project, no amount may be paid for any individual salary or other form of remuneration for any individual whosoever which exceeds the annual salary (only) of the President of the United States. Not CEO, hot-shot engineer, genius ad-flack, nor even the celebrity who endorses the product on TV should be more highly paid on a government contract project than the President.


Drugs:

Eliminate all funds whatsoever expended to subsidize the production of tobacco.

Eliminate all funding for the prescription of "recreational medicines", that is, those drugs which are prescribed not to cure any illness, but only to give the patient an artifical sense of wellness, including the tranquilizers, relaxants, anti-depressants, and sedatives.

Decriminalize marijuana. Donít try to tax it, regulate it, prescribe it, or otherwise mandate control of its natural market. Drop all pending marijuana-only cases, grant presidential pardon to all marijuana-only offenders now in jail, and release them immediately. Terminate all government funding for the surveillance, apprehension, and prosecution of marijuana traffic. Here are some economic advantages:

-- empty our prisons, and enable a large group of Americans to stop being forced to see themselves as outsiders to lawful society.

-- end the flow of billions of dollars out of our country to buy a crop which we can profitably grow ourselves. End the flow of billions more to the governments of the growing nations to oppress their own people by building para-military security forces.

-- open the market to the non-drug benefits of the marijuana plant as hemp, including non-acid paper (more hemp can be grown on land than wood-pulp trees), livestock feed, and environment-benefical fabrics, rope, and other replacements for petro-chemical fibers.

Create prescribed access to maintenance doses of heroin. We permit such medical addiction now using a wide range of highly-addictive drugs, including all of the tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and sedatives sold on a perpetual basis to millions of our elderly. The addition of prescription herion maintenance as a tranquilizer will bring the opium market under competitive pressure, breaking the power structure of the organized crime market now supplying the demand. The greatest benefit would be to eliminate the group of small-time criminals who now prey upon the common citizen in order to supply themselves. This benefit is realized only secondarily in a decrease in the expense of law enforcement, and a decrease in the cost of insurance claims to the financial industry.

If any drug should be outlawed, that one is cocaine. Unfortunately, making cocaine a black-market commodity multiplies its power to do evil by many times over. This one must be defeated by knowledge and compassion for its victims, which will be very difficult and probably very expensive. As a democracy of concerned individuals and responsible government, we must find a way to treat cocaine as a drug problem, and not as a disobedience problem.


The Deficit:

Nationalize the Federal Reserve. If the US Treasury is only another account at the Bank, then it is the bank, and neither the Treasury nor the Congress which is in de-facto control of the United States of America. This should be accomplished by the Treasury Department first acknowledging that the creation of the Federal Reserve Note to be used in the place of the legal United States Dollar was an illegal abdication of Constitutional responsibility by the officers of government, and that the concept of the US Government paying interest in Dollars on borrowed Federal Reserve Notes is usurous, unpatriotic if not outright subversive, and a threat to the political integrity of the United States of America. To avoid collapse of the banking system, the Treasury and the Congress should agree to repay only the principal of the National Debt at a long-term rate which will fit within a balanced budget, but with no interest at all. Let us not forget that our money is Constitutionally to be issued by the Treasury -- banks are only dealers and speculators in the specie of nations. Have we the courage to return direct control of the rate of inflation to the Treasuryís issuance of currency, rather than leaving it to the margin-rate machinations of a small group of world-market-conscious professional money-changers? Congress can argue forever about which loop of the deficit knot to tug, but what is called for is a bold stroke of the axe.


Churches:

In accordance with the Constitutional requirement that government shall not respect any institution of religion, the US government should immediately terminate the practice of granting tax-exempt status to any church or other corporation or instituion which exists solely for religious purposes. In particular, churches should pay full gross receipts tax and corporate taxes on all revenues made through the sale or exchange for donations of any class of products, including religious tracts, sacrifical items, or religious practition services.

The Constitution forbids "respect" for any particular institution of religion as deserving privilege others do not receive from the United States Government. If this is to be exercised within the country, why should it not extend to our foreign policy as well? We should provide no "foreign aid" at all to any institution of world religion, even though it may have gained for itself the trappings of statehood. This should include the Vatican City, Israel, all Islamic governments, and any other nation in which civil power is vested in the offices of any particular religion or religious sect.


Public School:

Public School should be available to all eligible children at government expense. However, it should not be mandatory, and it should be a privilege, not a guarantee. That is, children who fail to conform to the standards of behavior called for by civilized society can be denied the right to attend. It should be very easy to license private schools, and to operate them as private businesses in open competition with other educators. The choice of curriculum should be agreed upon between the school and the parents of the students, and not made to conform to any standards established by the government. No public money at all should be paid for the attendance of any student in a private school, whether parochial or secular.


Though many Americans are calling for reduced tax and reduced government spending, it appears very few really mean it. The most commonly held position, if the truth could be known, is probably more like, "Tax that freeloader over there -- and fund my deserving program."