Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Party of Git-r-done

posted in Hot Air today -- 

Not the party of 'no' as suggested by Democrats, but the party of here's-what-to-do, or as I like, git-r-done. 

... Republicans list a number of spending proposals to close the budget gap, most of which has already been introduced to the House and ignored by Nancy Pelosi.  It counters the entire narrative of the Party of No, showing that Republicans have attempted to offer ideas to reduce spending and the national debt, or at least to slow down the growth in both.  Had Democrats decided to actually produce a budget, they would have had to consider the following:
  • Cancel Unused TARP Funds. Prohibit the Treasury Secretary from entering into new commitments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]. Ending TARP would prevent up to $396 billion in additional disbursements; CBO estimates savings of $16 billion. H.R. 3140 introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
  • Cancel Unspent ‘Stimulus’ Funds. Rescind all unobligated budget authority authorized under the “stimulus” bill and dedicate to deficit reduction. Saves up to $266 billion. H.R. 3140 introduced by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
  • Cut and Cap Discretionary Spending. Return non-defense discretionary spending to pre-Obama (fiscal year 2008) baseline levels. Saves up to $925 billion. Legislation introduced by Reps. Ryan and Hensarling (H.R. 3964) and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio (H.R 3298) include caps on discretionary spending.
  • Reduce Government Employment. Hire one person for every two who leaves civilian government service until the workforce is reduced to pre-Obama levels (exempting the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs). Saves an estimated $35 billion. H.R. 5348 introduced by Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
  • Freeze Government Pay. Freeze Federal civilian pay for 1 year. Saves an estimated $30 billion.
  • Adopt the Legislative Line-Item Veto. Enact a constitutional line-item veto law. The President’s FY 2011 budget included terminations, reductions, and savings that would achieve $23 billion in one year. While Congress may not accept all these savings, the Line Item Veto can help reduce spending. H.R. 1294 introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
  • Reform and Bring Transparency to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Reform these companies by ending conservatorship, shrinking their portfolios, establishing minimum capital standards, reducing conforming loan limits, and bringing transparency to taxpayer exposure. According to CBO, the cost to taxpayers of putting government in control of Fannie and Freddie is $373 billion through 2020. Saves an estimated $30 billion. H.R. 4889 introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. H.R. 4653 introduced by Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey.
  • Create a Sunset Commission. Establish a commission to conduct systematic reviews of Federal programs and agencies, and make recommendations for those that should be terminated; and provide for automatic sunset of programs unless expressly reauthorized by the Congress. H.R. 393 introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.
The biggest gain would come from rolling back non-defense discretionary spending to FY2008 levels, which would save $925 billion over ten years.  That, by the way, was the first of the Democratic Party budgets produced by Nancy Pelosi after taking the gavel in January 2007.  It might be better to go back to FY2000 or FY2001, before Republicans and Democrats combined to add hefty increases in nondefense discretionary spending, but FY2008 is at least an improvement — and a good start.
Fannie and Freddie reform might be the most stabilizing of the proposals.  Except for the unfunded mandates of Social Security and Medicare, Fannie/Freddie represent the greatest threat of potential future liabilities for the American taxpayer.  Instead of containing that damage, Congress allowed the Obama administration to uncap the Fannie/Freddie line of credit, making their bailouts bottomless.  Until we rid ourselves of that liability and force Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA to return to proper lending standards, we risk further collapses.
The Republicans have published their ideas on how to return to fiscal responsibility and accountability.  It may not be complete, but it’s better than anything seen from the Democrats, who seem intent on proving that they can’t even budget, let alone govern.
Republicans are also launching their America Speaking Out project, which will allow Americans to give feedback to their elected representatives about cutting spending and restoring fiscal responsibility.  I’ll talk with Rep. Michele Bachmann about that today on The Ed Morrissey Show, which starts at 3 pm ET!

No comments: