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Old December 29th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default The DuffMan Plan To Reduce Federal Spending

The DuffMan Plan: Reducing Federal Spending

This is the first of series of proposals that dicsuss how I, Duffman, would change government. Since I have no chance of running or being elected to anything, it's all in the interests of debate & discussion.

Reduce federal spending as follows:

Social Security
If you don't need it, you don't get it, period. It's NOT a retirement plan - it's a safety net. The catch is that we have generations who have lived as though it's a retirement plan, and others (like me) who have been/are being taxed as though it's a retirement plan for someone. However, it's been shown 12 ways from Sunday that it ain't gonna work, and the madness has to stop somewhere, so figure a way to make the transition that protects those already in the system, and makes those that have been paying in for decades (like me) reasonably whole.

Crop Subsidies
Productive societies do not pay people to be non-productive. Let the market dictate prices, and if something's in oversupply the lower prices will drive farmers to grow something else (like corn, sugar cane, or something that contributes to U.S. energy independence).

Funding For The Arts
Stop all federal funding for arts. If people like and want something, it will be self-sufficient. If it's that important to someone, they'll fund it somehow. If not, then it must not be that important. Public TV and radio are in here too - sink or swim. Hell, Discovery, TLC, Biography Channel, and National Geographic channel beat the snot out of PBS in terms of programming already. NPR can make it on it's own.

IRS
Flat rate tax - everyone pays at the same (much lower) rate. I"ve seen some writings that assert that a flat-rate tax of something around 12% would replace the current system (where I pay a damn sight more than 12%) with no reduction in revenue. There would be no deductions, no exemptions, no loopholes - a dollar made is a dollar taxed. A "tax return" consists of an annual "true up" (i.e. I made X and paid y% of the gross). No more needs for tax lawyers, tax accountants, or 80%+ of the IRS.

Defense

Evaluate all treaty obligations that do not directly benefit the U.S. If they're not in our best interests and/or were created to address a situation that no longer exists (i.e NATO) see about revisiting that treaty and cutting costs. We should not be in the position of spending U.S. taxpayer dollars to subsidize the defense of another country.

Benefits For Our Leaders
The best way to sensitize our leaders to our plight is to let them share it. At the next term, health/dental/vision/prescription care for members of the congress and senate match whatever a run-of-the-mill government employee (say a US Forest Service Ranger) gets. No access to Walter Reed or other "special" military or governmental facilities. Make them pay cost-sharing, premiums, and co-pays. As for retirement, if they stay in office long enough, let them earn retirement pay and health care. Since we'll have stricter term limits (a future installment) this won't be much of an issue.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 08:19 PM   #2
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What's the Duffman plan for national defense spending and what percentage of the national budget would it be given?

NASA: keep or dissolve it?
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Old December 29th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #3
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Agree with everything.

Looking forward to part two.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 08:52 PM   #4
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What's the Duffman plan for national defense spending and what percentage of the national budget would it be given?

NASA: keep or dissolve it?
I haven't calculated the percentage, but feel that we can reduce defense spending somewhat. By eliminating superfluous commitments we can reduce costs. More ruthless applicaion of lean principles and standardization of equipment and elimination of redundancy (i.e. much of Marine Corps aviation). Better match capability with mission, reducing branch independence and increasing synergies.

NASA - I'm VERY nostalgic about NASA, which may be a function of my age. I'm in that generation that grew up in the space era - for us John Glenn and Alan Sheppard were bigger than all of the football players, baseball players, and wrestlers combined). Properly managed and focused, NASA adds value - look at all of the technologies we gained from the Apollo program. The issue that would decide NASA's fate is what do we do next? Is there another challenge out there like Mars or? Where is this space station going? Is it just a big science project or what? Since it's "international" are the other nations paying their share of the bill? If there's no compelling reason to keep it, then cut it back or eliminate it completely.

Either way, I'd move to privatize the commercial portions of NASA - launching commercial payloads, etc...
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Old December 29th, 2006, 10:12 PM   #5
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Where is the guy that keeps saying that our GDP is high so it doesn't matter if we spend . . . that logic is not so bright.

Cutting spending is a must!!
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Old December 30th, 2006, 09:26 AM   #6
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Cutting spending is a must!!
It is not a must. You are getting close, but not quite. The "must" is that the government spend it on issues that need to be addressed. I am sure you understand EVA, economic value added. If they can spend on something that adds value to the US economy, then spend away. However, anything the US government can do, the private market can do probably twice as well. I support intelligent spending. Not more or less spending specifically, but just proper spending. I liked Perot's approach that the US Government should be run like a business. If you can't survive without subsidy, then you are sold off and liquidated. Simple. Unfortunately, this puts a lot of government workers back into the private, competitive sector where they actually have to compete on their ability to produce, not on how many years of service they have. We need welfare reform to handle these folks when they don't last in that environment.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #7
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Duffman for president?
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:02 AM   #8
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It is not a must. You are getting close, but not quite. The "must" is that the government spend it on issues that need to be addressed. I am sure you understand EVA, economic value added. If they can spend on something that adds value to the US economy, then spend away. However, anything the US government can do, the private market can do probably twice as well. I support intelligent spending. Not more or less spending specifically, but just proper spending. I liked Perot's approach that the US Government should be run like a business. If you can't survive without subsidy, then you are sold off and liquidated. Simple. Unfortunately, this puts a lot of government workers back into the private, competitive sector where they actually have to compete on their ability to produce, not on how many years of service they have. We need welfare reform to handle these folks when they don't last in that environment.
I was a HUGE supporter of Perot. Unfortunately, he highlights the problem (or rather the harsh reality) we have, where even a highly intelligent and charismatic leader with vision (like H. Ross) runs head-on into the show business part of politics. No matter how smart he was, or how many good ideas he had, he was not prepared or even capable of succeeding in the real world of politics. As we all saw, he melted down when politics started in.

You're on the right path - economics must be considered in everything government does, because there are few things that government does very well.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:21 AM   #9
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It is not a must. You are getting close, but not quite. The "must" is that the government spend it on issues that need to be addressed. I am sure you understand EVA, economic value added. If they can spend on something that adds value to the US economy, then spend away. However, anything the US government can do, the private market can do probably twice as well. I support intelligent spending. Not more or less spending specifically, but just proper spending. I liked Perot's approach that the US Government should be run like a business. If you can't survive without subsidy, then you are sold off and liquidated. Simple. Unfortunately, this puts a lot of government workers back into the private, competitive sector where they actually have to compete on their ability to produce, not on how many years of service they have. We need welfare reform to handle these folks when they don't last in that environment.
maybe we can farm out the billion dollar a day war to someone else . . .that would be AWESOME!!

The national debt has to be reduced. This president has taken us from a large surplus to a 3 trillion budget deficet. so . . . lets hopw for the next president to turn it around!!
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #10
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Well, war is expensive. REALLY, REALLY expensive. A two-front war is even more expensive. The continuing adventures in the Balkans (remember that?) aren't free either. Attempts to avoid (or prepare for) war in Korea are also expensive. We can assume he's just bluffing to hold onto power in NK (the most likely scenario), but what if he does something? There's also the issue of a maniac in Iran who wants to start a worldwide conflagration to bring about paradise. I'm not proposing a pre-emptive war, but we also can't be passive there. All expensive.

Reforming our largely non-existent homeland security capability is also expensive. This is something that's been neglected for the prior 50+ years, under both and administrations, so it's another case of a bill coming due.

Recession and hurricanes are expensive. Whether or not hurricane responses were effective (or could ever be effective under our system), they were still expensive.

Clinton had a "dream season" economically, inheriting the Reagan economic juggernaut just as it peaked. He was wise enough not to screw it up. Dubya had the misfortune of bad timing to take office as the "irrational exuberance" bubble burst and Islamofacists struck out at us yet again.

However, that's the cards that have been dealt. We can wring our hands endlessly that if Gore was president the tech bubble wouldn't have burst, Al-Quaeda would've felt the love, Saddam would've cooperated, and hurricanes would've dissipated. And remember, the President does little on their own, the House and Senate were there too.

We need to move forward and start cutting costs and adopting a "value added" approach to goverment to start reducing the spend rate and cutting into the deficit.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 10:59 AM   #11
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Lets not forget the "large surplus" was sort of bullshit anyway.
When you raise taxes, you get a large influx of cash but economy soon suffers.
It also helps when you do Enron style bookkeeping.

I guess to most , Clinton will never be seen as the piece of shit he really was.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 11:06 AM   #12
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Lets not forget the "large surplus" was sort of bullshit anyway.
When you raise taxes, you get a large influx of cash but economy soon suffers.
Then we can have the "tax breaks benefit the rich" discussion again for people who didn't do well in mathematics (i.e. if you pay $15,000/year in taxes a 3% reduction is $450, while for a person that pays $1,000,000 it's $30,000 - that doesn't mean that the rich got a better deal.)
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Old December 30th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #13
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Then we can have the "tax breaks benefit the rich" discussion again for people who didn't do well in mathematics (i.e. if you pay $15,000/year in taxes a 3% reduction is $450, while for a person that pays $1,000,000 it's $30,000 - that doesn't mean that the rich got a better deal.)
Come on Duffman, you know all the "rich" people keep their money in "offshore" accounts and don't pay taxes anyway.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #14
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Agree with everything.

Looking forward to part two.
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