Pat’s Bits & Pieces- Feds really need to learn how to budget

Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent

I sure wish our state and federal legislators would get their s— together.

Michigan is looking at $140 million in federal budget cuts because of the automatic cuts last Friday. That means less for the Department of Defense, which I guess I would rather see than some of the other things on that so called “meat-ax” list.

Specifically education.  $22 million is coming from primary and secondary education; more than $20 million in funds for teachers and aids for disabled children is eliminated; Head Start and Early Head Start services will be stopped for 2,300 children; and nearly 2,500 low-income college students will lose financial aid, while another 1,300 will not be able to get work-study jobs to help finance their education.

Healthcare is also getting hit with $2.9 million eliminated for substance abuse treatment; nearly a million for public health emergency preparedness; and in Senior Services,another $1.8 million dropped in funding for meals for the elderly.

Job Assistance – $1.5 million; the environment loses $7.4 million and law enforcement loses nearly half a million for Justice Assistance Grants.

What I didn’t see were a few things I believe would help bring federal spending down without hurting the little guy so much.

I think the budget cuts, or “sequester” should have included big salary cuts for every single elected official, both state and federal, and a stipulation that their pension, once they are out of office, would last only as long as they held office, and that they should be subject to the same Obama Health Plan as the rest of us lowly Americans.

Bet if that was on the table they would have worked a bit harder to develop a fair and balanced plan…

There are lots of ways we could repair our ailing economy and make cuts that would be fair to everyone. You don’t even need to be an economist to think of ways to do it.  How about if we eliminate “pork” programs that fund unwanted and unneeded government studies?

How about if we drop  subsidies to oil industry giants and other big businesses and make them pay their fair share of taxes?

Let’s downsize every single federal department by eliminating ineffective and unneeded programs that are not doing what they should and give the ax to any duplicate services that are already provided by other programs and the private sector. Example? Federal employment and training programs that have been proven not to work!

In the military we could reduce our overseas deployment a little, a relief to the service families here and a real cost savings. We need to concentrate on direct terrorism threats against America and require that other “free” nations do their fair share to keep this world safe. Did you know that the Department of Defense spends $5,800 for every household in America? Save some dollars by bringing the military presence back to 2001 levels.

We also spend an unbelievable amount of money on agricultural subsidies, tariffs, price supports and product controls. Let’s allow food and dairy prices to stabilize without all the red tape but based simply on cost and demand like other products. It would be good for the consumer and for the producers.

I know there’s a lot more that could be done to bring our government spending under control and reduce that deficit. If the household income doesn’t match your spending, you need to cut back on unnecessary items don’t you? Simple math here folks.

But then what do I know? I’m just one of the “little guys” that has to live within my means and “bite the bullet when our representatives don’t act in our best interest…

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