A legitimate criticism of the the Pledge to America is that it doesn't get specific about how to slash the size of government, except for repealing the stimulus and Obamacare (not bad starts, however). Reason magazine steps into the fray with this month's issue appropriately titled "How to Slash Government Before It Slashes You." If Republicans are too get serious about governing they need to look at some of the best ideas (my picks, there were many more, so go subscribe already):
- Reform Medicaid by changing the funding from a matching grant to a block grant. Matching funding encourages the states to just spend more, rather than getting costs under control.
- Reduce federal education spending back to 2001 levels. The federal government doesn't educate a single child, but the Education budget has risen 80% in the last decade.
- Switch to defined contributions pensions at the federal, state and local level. (This has been partially accomplshed at the federal level.) It won't solve the immediate issue, but the shift will pay long term benefits to both employees and taxpayers. (Meg Whitman has proposed this, I may vote for her yet.)
- End Davis-Bacon "prevailing wage" laws. The requirement was originally a racist attempt to deny blacks jobs on federal projects, its impact is to increase the cost of all federal contracts to the benefit of union shops.
- Bust up Fannie and Freddie. Because these agencies operate with the backing of the Federal Reserve, as well as the Treasury, they will continue to be a drain on the economy. Like a compulsive gambler with a trust fund, they will always take on excess risk and leave you, the taxpayer, stuck with the bill.
- Just start cutting. In the 1990s, Canada, under a Liberal government even, mandate actual cuts in the size of government to deal with a ballooning deficit. The key was a concerted campaign by the Prime Minister to convince the public of the need for cuts. This might have to wait until after Obama is defeated in 2012, but it can be done.
Reduce regulation and then fire regulators. Not only will this save money, but it will grow the economy as businesses are unburdened from the overwhelming number of new regulation that has piled up over twenty years.
There, the GOP needs to take a look at some of these ideas and get ready to govern. They better cut spending, or they will find themselves with primary challenges again. The Tea Party has shown its clout, time to use it for the good of the Republic.