Friday, January 28, 2011

The Economy Strikes Back

When it comes to running the country, left wing politicos have more morally corrupt ideas than an imaginative college freshman stranded on a desert island with nothing but Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry and an industrial-size barrel of Wesson Oil. There are two differences though. First, the three castaways won’t spend your retirement funds and your kids’ college tuition money while telling you to “go along or go to jail.” Second, the college freshman won’t spend his spare time trying to run an economy he doesn’t understand while taking some citizens’ money and giving it to other citizens.

I’m not the first to say it, but Congress has a spending problem. I’ve seen cats in a field of catnip who display more self-control. It’s time to free the economy: reduce regulations, reduce spending and get out of the way.

The ugly truth is that no matter how ridiculous or specialized a Congressional spending item is, there is someone who will scream bloody murder if that item is cut from the budget. Understand that someone was influential enough to get that silly item put in the budget to begin with, so chances are someone in Congress will listen when the wailing begins. There is no such thing as a painless reduction in federal spending and that’s what Congress is hoping for. Guess what, Washington? The Great Pumpkin ain’t comin’ this year, either.

To reduce the federal budget is going to be painful, but it must be done. Freezing our spending levels, as President Obama suggested, will not work and neither will timid reductions of spending. Put down the paring knife and pick up the cleaver.

The argument is going to be that it took years to raise federal spending to this level so it will take years to reduce it. That is wrong and a non-starter. The more quickly we reduce spending, the less painful the overall result will be.

It’s not a matter of trimming programs. It’s a matter of cutting entire programs. Programs which are outside the scope of the federal budget need to be completely scrapped. Hello and goodbye to the Department of Energy and the Department of Education, a whole bunch of subsidies and regulatory restrictions that benefit some special interest groups at the expense of taxpayers. And that is the beginning of the beginning.

One thing that can be done that will have an effect within 18 months: “Drill here, Drill now, Pay less.” Directional drilling from existing oil platforms can be used and we can see a domestic oil production increase that soon. In the meantime, drop ethanol subsidies.

Subsidies for ethanol can be immediately scrapped and I’m sure Archer-Daniels-Midland will recover nicely. Less expensive cereals, milk and beef will be the result of canning that failed experiment and American families can use that reduction in food prices. Corn was never, ever the best source of ethanol, but even if we used better sources, such as sugar cane, the government would still have to subsidize ethanol and that’s an expense we can drop. As Thomas Jefferson said, “If we were directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should all want bread.”

This is no time for sacred cows. Fire up the grill and let the slaughter begin – with absolutely no apologies to the PC Police. It’s time to be honest. This is a real crisis. Not the namby-pamby “crises” that liberals evoke every few years. The economy is now our enemy. We abused it in such dire fashion, that I can’t blame it. Debt is about to lay waste to our country and the federal government has been encouraging it to do so for over 70 years.

There are many other federal programs and subsidies that can be terminated immediately. While Congress is at it, they should also look at regulations which are unnecessary and negatively impact businesses. I wonder if the country is ready for “Free the Economy” bumper stickers. I think it’s about time.

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