The following is commentary intended for discussion. Add your comments.
In most spending contexts, it works something like this: estimates are obtained for needed products and services. The products and services are obtained within a pre-prescribed budget.
As you know, the federal government doesn't work this way.
Instead of determining, philosophically, what range of responsibilities belongs to the federal government, deciding upon a reasonable low tax rate, figuring how much that will bring in, then prioritizing services that can be provided within the budget; the government spends unlimited taxpayer funds and then tries to find more and more money among those paying the bill.
One could confiscate every penny from every corporation and individual in America and still not be able to fund all of the things that some people want to fund.
Do you think the federal government is constitutionally or otherwise limited in the functions it's supposed to provide? What do you think should be covered?
Should federal agencies be required to prepare a zero-based budget, at least once in awhile? (This means starting at zero and justifying every penny they ask for line by line rather than just adding a percentage each year.)
Many of us know about "silly season," the end of the fiscal year when government agencies rush to spend any leftover money on anything and everything so that they don't show anything left at the end of the year. One federal paper supplier told me that he's called at the end of each fiscal year to pick up thousands of boxes of unused paper at various agencies to shred. He felt so bad about this, he tried to donate the boxes to DC area schools that were crying poor and claiming paper shortages, but he says they didn't want the paper.
Christopher Holliman says
That is all coming to an End. I hope those that did this goto Jail.
Periodic zero based budgeting is a great idea. Maybe once every 5 years (since it is a fantasy). Also somehow rewarding for cost savings in some meaningful way that will encourage right thinking.
Greg Hill says
Probably something on the order of 80% to 90% of the executive branch, including the entirety of most of the "departments" like DHHS (which includes the FDA, CDC and NIH) and DOE ("Education") are not authorized by the Constitution and should be completely de-funded by the Congress. They don't even need a Presidential signature to do that. All they have to do is refuse to pass bills allocating their funding. The single best thing we can do to clean out the swamp of entrenched "deep state" bureaucrats (like Fauci and Walensky) is to entirely eliminate the unconstitutional jobs they hold.
On a related note, we don't need a new Constitution or even more amendments to it as many are claiming. What we need is for the Constitution as it already exists to be strictly enforced. Fortunately, as their recent decisions on Roe v. Wade and West Virginia v. EPA cases suggests, at least we currently have a Supreme Court that seems to be leaning in that direction. Individual state governments also need to get a lot more aggressive in their use of what's called "nullification" (recently used by South Dakota and Florida) whereby they simply tell the feds that they can take their unconstitutional edicts and "shove them where the sun don't shine."
John White says
Zero-Base Budgeting. All agencies start at zero every year and must justify everything they propose to spend. Sunlight, etc.