Answering Obama's What-Would-You-Cut Challenge...in 3-D!

President Barack Obama yesterday was asked a question about the Tea Party movement. Part of his response:

[T]he challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do. It's not enough just to say, get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits, or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, or I'm willing to see these taxes go up.

You rang?

We aren't the Tea Party, but we're happy to help any interested citizens identify whole swaths of the federal apparatus to cut, eliminate, or reform, in order to deal forthrightly with what prominent non-libertarians from Ben Bernanke to Michael Kinsley to the Congressional Budget Office agree is an "unsustainable" fiscal future. What are we willing to cut? Agriculture subsidies. Medicaid matching funds. The Drug War. The Department of Energy. Overseas deployment of more than 100,000 troops. The Federal Communications Commission. The Davis-Bacon Act. And so, so much more.

To see the fiscal horrors that ObamaBush, HastertPelosi, and FristReid have stuffed into America's closet and under her bed, along with a thick dossier of spending cuts to answer every current and future what-would-YOU-cut challenge, go to http://reason.com/3D, order your subscription today, and get ready to see some 3-D Reason.tv videos beginning next week that will blow your mind!

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  • ||

    What are we willing to cut? Agriculture subsidies. Medicaid matching funds. The Drug War. The Department of Energy. Overseas deployment of more than 100,000 troops. The Federal Communications Commission. The Davis-Bacon Act.

    Off the top of my head - The Department of Homeland Security (especially including everyone drawing a check from the TSA), the Department of Labor, the Department of Commerce, The Department of Veterans Affairs, The Department of Education, mortgage interest tax deduction, Fannie and Freddie (and salt the ground so nothing ever grows there again), raise the SS retirement age to 68, federal funding of every "historic" battlefield and site, the DDG-1000 program, et al. If you want me to go through the entire executive branch agency by agency, you'll have to pay me.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Also the Enegery Dept, HUD, Health & Human Services, Dept of Agriculture (including the food stamp program containted therein), etc. etc.

    Also it should be emphasised that it isn't just federal government direct spending that should be cut but also the vast array of government regulatory apparatus that imposes vast costs and mandates on business - like the Disabilty Act regulations.

  • EJM||

    You rang?

    Was that meant in more of a Maynard G. Krebs sense, or more of a Lurch sense?

  • Team Blue||

    We can't cut ANYTHING except for the military! Not one cent less for next year's entitlement budgets!

  • Gilbert Martin||

    And any budgeted spending increase that gets cancelled or rolled back is a CUT!!!!

    Of course since team blue failed to actually create a budget this year, I guess they have no room to pull that one this time around.

  • Attorney||

    How about we start with something simple: 10% of every single program? That way, we get around all the bickering about whether this waste is more important than that waste.

  • ||

    Decades of experience in state budgeting has shown that these "across the board" cuts don't work in the long run.

    First off, it doesn't get you out of arguing about priorities, because everyone starts saying their program should be exempt.

    Second, it doesn't make structural changes, so the spending can easily creep right back up within a few years.

    Nope. You wanna shrink government, you have to eliminate, liquidate, zero out, exterminate, annihilate, whole programs and departments. The viscous bodily fluids of bureacrats and rent-seekers must run in the streets.

  • kiwi dave||

    We'll see: Britain is going for across the board cuts averaging 25% -- of course that'll only take them back to the spending levels of the early 2000s. See if it sticks.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I tried to explain that to the Chony Twins in the austerity thread, but they were their typically obtuse selves on the issue.

    And there are millions of Chony Twins out there. Some of 'em are in Congress.

  • rho||

    Also known as the O'Rourke Circumcision Principle: you can take 10% off of anything.

  • ||

    Well, yeah. But after it gets stroked and lubed by lobbyists and rent-seekers, it winds up even bigger than before.

  • ||

    The thing is, even if this whole issue were read out loud on every TV station and on every internet web site and distributed to every literate human being, people like Obama would still say "But they won't say what they'll cut. They have no ideas!"

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Presenting false choices and erecting straw man positions for his opponents is Obama's stock in trade.

    He wouldn't last 5 minutes in a straight up one on one debate with
    someone opposed to his policies who has the actual facts on government, spending, taxes, regulation and the ineffectiveness of the Keynesean economic policies he has been peddling.

  • James J.B.||

    How about the NEA, agricultural subsideies, and all those outrageous pork porjects that fund things like a banana museum,

    How about most federal law enforcement agencies - the DEA, ATF, etc.

    I could go on

    What really frosts me about this is the assumption that all current spending is money well spent - and can never be cut without a belt-tightening, ear-splitting sacrifice.

  • ||

    Yeah, I dunno how the Dems can complain about "no budgeting ideas" from the Tea Party, when the Dems apparently don't have a single goddam budgeting idea themselves, having failed in their Constitutional duty to pass a budget.

  • Spencer Smith||

    How's about the EPA? I mean, every state seems to have it's own version of this, why do we need a federal one also- except to cover the federally owned land (?). This could be DRASTICALLY cut back.

    The FDA could be drastically cut back. The FDIC subsidies. Wait... ALL subsidies. The department of education can do too. I think that's a start.

    Oh, half of all standing military expenditures- at least.

    Any federal border patrol agents also.

    Man, this is a good list.

  • ||

    Basically, you can cut programs and agencies all you want, but until you cut entitlements and defense, you are still in a deficit.

    My defense spending cuts would involve closing all but a handful of overseas bases. Keep a couple of strategically located major staging areas, just in case. Cut mostly Army units, but I'm sure the Navy and the Air Force could use a trim as well.

    On entitlements, step one would be to reform payroll taxes so they are transparent. Set the rate to generate enough money to cover that year's Medicare/SocSec/Medicaid assistance payments, and get rid of the hidden employer portion, so the entire amount shows up on the employee's paycheck.

    Once everyone sees what the bill really is, and understands that it will continue to consume more and more of their pay, you can start with cutting benefits.

  • creech||

    I guess Obamassiah didn't see Cato's full page ad in the WSJ. Already this morning his "they have no real ideas" is being parroted by his syncophants here in the office. Forget 18 months of me suggesting alternative policies: nope those opposed to Obamassiah are just nay-sayers and racists (though no one would have the guts to say the latter to my face.)

  • ||

    Was that the Howard Dean scream I heard at the very end of the video clip? Horrifying!

  • highnumber||

    (I cannot watch the video right now, so please forgive me if I am missing some context)

    Has anyone run these proposed cuts past the Tea Partiers? They are a different crowd from the libertarians when taken as a whole.

  • ||

    What agency should we cut? How does it go....take any three letters, arrange them in any order. That's an agency we can do without.

  • ||

    Start with raising social security eligibility to 70 on a phased in by age cohort approach. You need to signal, all evidence to the contrary aside, that the government is not a tribe of blind pandering monkeys that can't see such a monstrous structural problem. Go after structural healthcare costs by incenting High Deductible + HSA arrangements and disincenting other private insurance models. Start slogging through medicare reform targeting the 30% medically unnecessary procedures the Dartmouth Healthcare Atlas tells us we are paying for. Private plans will be able to adopt the same discipline once medicare does it. The disparity between public benefits and wage guarantees and what we shlubs in the private sector has to be closed in phase 2. Freeze federal pensions and convert them to 401k style plans. Freeze salary increases. Make each federal worker cost less long term. Phase 3 you can go after programs, but realistically you aren't going to be able to cut a program that gets enough dollars to matter. Deal with the structural stuff, get labor costs under control, then start hitting programs you think you can kill - but be realistic about how much you will be able to do in that third phase.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Oh God, it took me until right now to notice the History Victory Plate on the shelf behind the guy who doesn't have any friends who care about him enough to tell him that constantly wearing that leather jacket makes him look like Lord of the Douchebags.

  • ||

    It's supposed to be scary stuff, dude.

  • ||

    TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT…..Wake up america!!!! This goverment is the most corrupt we have had in years. The good old boy network is very much in charge.Mr. obama and pelosi are the puppet masters.How many of their good friends benefited by the agreement ” what a farce. All of the u.sSenators voted for this. I am ashamed to say I voted for the these corupted self serving politicians.With good reason they picked an out of towner to be president.All u.s departments need an overhaul. We need to rid ourselves of the puppet masters and the dept heads that bow down to obama and pelosi.I am sick of the lip service I have been getting from these dummies over violations, their friends are getting away with.in the goverment . Barack Hussein Obama , threatens friends and bows to Mmslim.
    INPEACH OBAMA ,GOD OPEN YOUR EYES.///For us there are only two possiblities: either we remain american or we come under the thumb of the communist Mmslim Barack Hussein OBAMA. This latter must not occur.THE COMMANDER.
    OBAMA goes about his business by speaking the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says that he comes "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness." Revelation 13:12 says, "and he spoke as a dragon...." Revelation 17 tells us that he was a false prophet, a prophet being one whose calling it is to speak and to teach. The armies of the world may have guns and tanks and bombs to bring people into submission; but the power of speech and ideas is a mighty power. In his initial attempts to destroy the cause of God, the devil used a serpent to deceive the woman with crooked speech: "You will be like God." Now he uses a "dragon" who speaks crafty, lying words. His speeches will be heard by millions who will hang on his persuasive rhetoric. The content as well as the form of his speech will attract. Like most false prophets, he will even be sincere and passionate. But he is a liar. He adds dashes of truth to the mix, so that his lie tastes like truth. He will use all the right catchwords, using the language of the church, even throwing in a Bible text or two. But he is the ultimate Liar, and will deceive many.
    OBAMA will use every tool available: school teachers, politicians, news broadcasters, artists, musicians, scientists and doctors, lawyers and businessmen. All will be pressed into the service of OBAMA to deceive men. But especially he will use those whose calling it is to persuade and to teach -- men who claim to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    THE COMMANDER,,, REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE .. THE END OF AMERICAIf ,one asks what he should look for in the days to come, we say this: there will be political union all nations will be gathered together into one mighty empire. This is the first of obama. There will also be religious union, joining all the religions and religious empires of the world. The powerful ecumenical movement of today, led by the religions of Christianity, will in the end fully succeed, swallowing up all the other religions of the world. You may expect to see one man over it all. obama.

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