Friday, April 15, 2011

The Proper Way to Balance the United States Budget

The Republicans and Democrats are competing to see who can do the best job of improving the fiscal status of the United States. They are both going about it the wrong way (as is the Tea Party also). It takes a lot more work, but if you really want to get the country's economy in good shape, you don't reduce the budget. The proper technique is to wipe out the budget altogether. Take it to zero, and then, item by item, decide what should go back into it. If our government had the commitment and stamina to set up a group to completely rebuild the budget from scratch, we would end up operating the country at a much lower financial level. The problem is that our politicians would never approve the process. They would have to justify each and every item in the budget, which would be a colossal job, but more important, it would expose the flimsy justification for many of the components of the existing budget. There are many parts of the federal budget that are there just because they pay for doing things the way we have done them for a long time in the past. As Shakespeare said, "The past is prologue." The only way they will find most (but not all) of the unjustified spending is to throw everything out, and start over. The nature of politics is that some waste will find its way back into the new budget because of the need to compromise and horsetrade between opposing views, but a huge amount of what we now spend will not be justifiable to either side. Assign three of the best minds from each party plus a couple of economics professors to a special committee, and the job will become doable, even if extremely difficult.