Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Jihad on the federal budget

I just posted this in the comment section of HotAir, but it's too good to leave it languishing in the comment section of a blog with a mere 6 figure daily readership. So here it is for the one dude who drunkenly stumbled onto this blog searching for "thrusting anal".

I can think of a couple of things that could take a good chunk off of the budget. They are probably all political suicide though:

1. Immediately end new defined benefit retirement plans for all federal employees excluding enlisted military. Honor the commitments that have already been made, but stop digging the hole. Replace it with a 401(k) match like the private sector.

2. Eliminate 10 percent of the federal workforce. The largest expenditure behind transfer payments is the combined salary of federal workers.

3. For the workers who remain, enact an across the board 10 percent salary cut. These three policies will bring the pay of federal workers back into line with the private sector.

4. Eliminate the following departments: HHS, Transportation, Education, and HUD. Determine the essential functions (the most important 25% of the respective budgets) and roll those functions into the remaining departments.

5. Eliminate the department of Homeland Security, and transfer the major functions over to the DOD. This won’t save a tremendous amount of money, but the functions of the two departments overlap. Unifying the two departments will, in theory, improve communication and coordination between military and security forces.

6. The big toxic enchilada: Social Security Reform.
– Leave benefits the same for anyone receiving SS or within 8 years of retirement.
– Gradually raise the age to receive full benefits to 70 over a period of not less than 10 years.
– Re-determine benefit levels for those 8 years or more from retirement such that the average retiree will receive exactly the present value of their contributions in their lifetimes. As it is people are receiving far more than they ever contributed in taxes.
– Finally allow those more than 25 years from retirement age to opt out of a portion of their Social Security contributions, instead putting the money into a 401(k) or IRA.

These 6 things will reduce the overall budget by billions of dollars, and will extend the fiscal solvency of Social Security decades into the future. Unfortunately Most of these suggestions are politically radioactive, so we get to suffer the slow motion death spiral instead.

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