Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) issued the report ‘Back in Black’ on Monday, and even a quick stroll through the numbers shows federal spending can be cut quickly.
Coburn said his 614 page plan was “the result of a thorough and exhaustive review of thousands of federal programs.” Some of the federal programs such as Hollywood liaison offices, will come as a surprise.
Coburn was very impartial in his recommendations. After all, as he pointed out, Washington created the crisis by putting off decisions until the last minute.
Among Coburn’s numerous recommendations for cuts are:
•Hollywood liaison offices: $10.4 million annually.
•Senate and House of Representatives accounts: $3.8 billion (includes freezing pay for members of Congress for three years).
•Executive Office of the President: $5.4 billion (includes eliminating duplicative offices such as the Council of Environmental Quality).
•Dept. of Education: $409.10 billion (perhaps the most unnecessary and unjustifiable expense in the entire federal budget).
•Dept. of Housing and Urban Development: $88.73 billion (includes bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, $317 billion and discloses HUD has lost 39 cents on the dollar for every home it resold).
Coburn’s report is a much needed guide that explains how taxpayer money is used and often squandered on endeavors that should not be undertaken by the federal government. Some of the federal agencies/programs are even outdated—the Parole Commission, eliminated by Congress in 1984, should end, saving taxpayers $12.9 million a year.
Coburn also looks at entitlements, focusing on fraud and waste as well as repealing parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (popularly called ObamaCare). Those parts, said Coburn, “dictate the practice of medicine and interfere with the patient-physician relationship.” Coburn is credible on that point because he is a physician.
Coburn’s report suggests some of the loudest voices in the debt debate are also some of the least informed. There is no good reason to obstruct cutting costs for programs that are not accountable or valuable to taxpayers and even to those who pay no taxes.
Coburn took a very objective approach, targeting reductions whether they were in spheres considered conservative or progressive. He said, “Both parties will no doubt criticize portions of this plan and I welcome that debate.” He said he wanted to “show the American people what is possible and necessary.”
Coburn also said, “[D]oing nothing is a tax increase, a benefit cut for seniors and the poor, and a betrayal of the core values both parties hold dear.”
President Barack Obama and leadership in both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives should welcome dialog about Coburn’s report. “The plan I am offering…gives Washington 9 trillion reasons to stop making excuses and start solving the problem,” he said.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 19, 2011)
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