Sen. Rick Scott is a brave man. He wants to “reduce waste and save taxpayer dollars.”
Wow, what a courageous position. What next, Sen. Scott, laws favoring motherhood, apple pie, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the American flag?
Sadly, despite his cloying attempts at false patriotism (He didn’t criticize Trump for forceable attempts to overturn America’s Presidential election and for snuggling up to QAnon, Proud Boys, 3 percenters, et al), Scott is dead wrong about waste and taxpayer dollars.
“Waste” is in the eye of the beholder.
To a Republican, anything that benefits the poor — Obamacare, food stamps, free school lunches, etc. — and any other Democratic spending proposal, constitutes “waste.”
So, to prevent such “waste,” Scott wants to:
1. Create a 13 member bipartisan Commission to review the efficiency and public need for each federal agency.
Require the Commission to review and report to Congress on all legislation introduced in Congress that would establish a new agency, or a new program to be carried out by an existing agency.
2. Require the Commission to annually recommend, in the form of legislation, whether the reviewed agencies should be abolished, reorganized, or continued and whether the responsibilities of agencies should be consolidated, transferred, or reorganized.
3. Require Congress to vote on the Commission’s timeline for the abolishment of agencies within a year of the bill’s passage.
4. Expedite the process for Congress to vote on a joint resolution either adopting or rejecting the recommendations of the Commission.
Here are some of the “bold” statements from Scott & Friends:
Senator Rick Scott said, “Our nation is on track to reach $30 trillion in debt and reckless, unaccountable spending by politicians in Washington has put us on a path of economic self-destruction.
The so-called “path of economic destruction” has been in existence for at least 80 years. In 1940, the federal debt was about $40 billion.
Today, it is about $25 trillion and as a result, our economy is the strongest in the world. We still await the “economic destruction.”
Senator Joni Ernst said, “Congress’s job is to hold federal agencies accountable and to work to prevent unelected bureaucrats from wasting hardworking taxpayer dollars.
Congress is elected. Would the commission be composed of Congresspeople or of “unelected bureaucrats”? If Congresspeople, why would they be trusted more than Congress itself? If unelected, why should they overrule our elected Congress?
Senator Mike Braun said, “When I built my business back on Main Street, if you weren’t constantly evaluating whether your money was being well-spent, you’d soon find yourself out of business. The federal government should do the same.
False comparison. The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, is nothing like Braun’s hypothetical, monetarily non-sovereign business back on Main Street.
Senator Mike Crapo said, “The federal government must be limited, and taxpayer dollars must be used efficiently to effectively help Americans.
Mike Crapo, not understanding economics, doesn’t realize that the federal government (unlike state and local governments) doesn’t spend taxpayer dollars. It creates new dollars, ad hoc, each time it pays a creditor.
Representative Michael Cloud said, “Hardworking American taxpayers have to make difficult decisions every day to make ends meet and so should Congress. It is vital we restore trust with the American people in how Congress spends taxpayer dollars.
Rep. Cloud, also not understanding economics, doesn’t realize the federal government does not have to “make ends meet.” It has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, the U.S. dollar.
The problem is that we already have a bipartisan commission to evaluate laws and agencies. It’s called “Congress.” It’s a 541 member commission, elected by the U.S. voters.
In essence, Scott and his pals wish to substitute the will of our elected Congress with 13 elected or unelected (?) Commissioners who will decide whether Congress is right or wrong.
Perhaps, for efficiency, should we simply should do away with Congress and allow these 13 Commissioners to do the work? That would eliminate a great deal of waste in salaries and expenses, wouldn’t it?
Once we get past all the Scott & Friends cloying sophistry and economic ignorance, we only can conclude that Scott wants to take credit for a no-brainer, flag-waving piece of drivel.
After all, who would dare to argue against fighting federal waste?
Well, me for one.
Sure, we all love federal spending that accomplishes something we like, and we dislike federal spending that accomplishes something we hate.
I, for one, think making children stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance is a waste of time, and the entire federal tax-collection is a monstrous waste of resources.
Those are my opinions. Put me on the Commission.
Except for one fact:
Federal “wasteful” spending is better than no spending at all.
Consider the infamous Gravina Island Bridge, commonly referred to as the “Bridge to Nowhere.” It was to connect Ketchikan, Alaska with Gravina Island, containing the Ketchikan Airport as well as 50 residents. The bridge was projected to cost $398 million.
Most people would have classified that as a colossal waste, except for two facts:
- It would have cost taxpayers nothing. The federal government would have created the dollars at the touch of a computer key. No tax dollars would have been involved.
- At least (probably more than) $398 million would have been pumped into the U.S. economy. Jobs would have been created in several industries.
No harm; no foul.
The project eventually was canceled, and that cancellation cost the economy the $398 million it would have received. So which was worse, the cancellation or the project itself?
A BIT OF HISTORY
Years ago, Senator William Proxmire created the “Golden Fleece Award,” a tongue-in-cheek criticism of what he considered federal wasteful spending.
It was great public relations for Proxmire, but sadly for America, some of the recipients of the Golden Fleece Award were research projects that later resulted in valuable results.
That’s the way it is with research. You don’t know where it will lead. Only later can you look back and determine whether if was worthwhile or “wasteful.”
By contrast with “wasteful,” there are some expenditures that are “harmful.”
I believe spending billions on the border wall was a harmful waste when the same billions could be used to vet and process valuable immigrants, while using the justice system to apprehend those that commit crimes.
And for what? To prevent the entry of drugs, the vast majority of which come in via legal channels.
With that wall, we do ongoing harm to innocent human beings and to the American economy. How many potential scientists, soldiers, teachers, business leaders, and consumers have we lost because of that wall.
“Wasteful spending is in the eye of the beholder. What some consider waste, others consider practical.
Federal “wasteful spending” is not like private sector wasteful spending, i.e not like your wasteful spending nor mine, not like business wasteful spending, nor state/local government wasteful spending.
Private sector wasteful spending adds nothing to the economy. It doesn’t add money or accomplishment.
Taxpayers do not pay for federal spending. Sadly, federal taxpayers pay for nothing. Federal taxes are the ultimate wasteful spending.
Federal “wasteful spending” adds money to the economy, and if it is not actually harmful, so-called federal “wasteful spending” stimulates economic growth.
Dumpster diving can uncover some valuable stuff.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty Twitter: @rodgermitchell Search #monetarysovereignty Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT IS TO IMPROVE AND PROTECT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE.
The most important problems in economics involve:
- Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
- Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics. Implementation of Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
- Eliminate FICA
- Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
- Social Security for all
- Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
- Salary for attending school
- Eliminate federal taxes on business
- Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually.
- Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
- Federal ownership of all banks
- Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9%
The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.