The members of the Super Committee, the folks who are tasked with coming up with 1.5 trillion dollars in spending cuts before Thanksgiving, have been announced:
John Kyl (R-AZ)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Max Baucus (D-MT)
Chris van Hollen (D-MD)
Xavier Beccera (D-CA)
James Clyburn (D-SC)
Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
Dave Camp (R-MI)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Their task is monumental, and they have been set up for failure before they even start. Failure is what Democrats are hoping for - if an agreement does not come out of the committee that cuts the requisite amount of spending, then that much gets cut automatically, with about half of it coming out of the Pentagon.
Well, not that they will pay attention, but here are some common sense items that would serve well as a starting point. I don't know if doing these would add up to 1.5 trillion, but they certainly are a waste of our money. I'm going to put these in general categories:
Cut contributions/payments to the United Nations by 50%. Half of the money we give to that corrupt den of thieves is lost to waste, fraud, or outright theft. If they complain, invite them to leave and find somewhere else to infest.
Cut off all foreign aid to any country that is recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism, a violator of human rights, or is actively engaged in efforts detrimental to United States' interests.
Cut off all aid to any country that invests in United States' debt. It is simply a waste for us to give money to countries that turn right around and loan it back to us, with interest.
Cut off all humanitarian and monetary aid to countries like those in Africa, who constantly drain millions of dollars from us without any tangible result. Aid can be restarted when governments of those countries prove that the aid is being used for its intended purpose.
Elimination of all overseas grants/payments to any country or entity supporting the exploration or production of energy resources, unless the United States is guaranteed dollar for dollar compensation in free energy supply, plus interest.
Immediate cut of 10% of the Federal Government work force, excluding uniformed military personnel.
Immediate 10% pay cut for all Federal Government employees, excluding uniformed military personnel.
Immediate rollback of all pay increases and bonuses received by Federal employees over the past 3 years, excluding uniformed military personnel.
Immediate staff reduction for all members of Congress by 25%. Elimination of all publicly funded positions related to political affiliation, electioneering, and fund raising.
Elimination of all personnel and expenditures in NASA on projects not specifically related to AERONAUTICS and SPACE.
Elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts.
National Institute of Health - strict oversight by an independent, bi-partisan, even split Congressional panel that will specifically authorize any and all expenditures for research and other programs. Complete elimination of any expenditures for anything outside United States' borders.
Elimination of all subsidies provided to manufacturers of any product, unless that product is declared to be an essential foodstuff. No more oil and gas subsidies, no more dollars for corn/ethanol producers.
Elimination of the Department of Homeland Security. Get the functions back to the organizations where they can be done correctly and efficiently. Stop wasting tons on money on this bureaucratic mess.
Elimination of the TSA. Replace with proven, private security contractors for a much more cost effective, efficient security screen.
Elimination of all funding/aid for illegal aliens.
Eliminate taxpayer funding for fundraising/electioneering trips by politicians. If a trip by a politician contains ANY fundraising efforts, the cost of the entire trip, including support and security, must be paid for by that politician or his/her party.
Overseas trips by Executive and Congressional staff members to be limited to essential personnel only at taxpayer expense. Subject to independent audit by Congress, with prison based penalties for infractions.
Limits on the number of vacation days the President/Vice President can take per year. Limits on the number of those days that can be spent outside United States' borders. Violations to be paid for in their entirety by the politician or his/her party.
Elimination of tax payer funded vacations by White House staff or families, unless the President is participating.
Top to bottom review of Defense, with a mandatory cut of 10% of total spending. There is that much or more waste and rendundancy in that budget that can be eliminated.
Complete elimination of base line budgeting and automatic COL increases to any Federal budget department/item.
Elimination of cost plus contracts signed by the government and contractors. All contracts should be fixed price, with bonuses and penalties for early/late delivery.
Increase Social Security and Medicare retirement ages to 67.
Increase the dollar cap on Social Security payroll taxes to 200,000.
Immediate rollback of Obamacare in its entirety. A few of the provisions in it are worthy of consideration - they should be brought before Congress for debate and vote as seperate legislative items.
Complete overhaul of the US Federal tax code. Lower tax rates across the board, with elimination of almost all deductions. Increasing the tax base into lower income brackets, so that the 50% of the population that currently pay no income tax will pay a proportionate level of tax. Elimination of any tax 'refunds' to anyone that does not pay any tax. Elimination of loopholes that allow individuals and corporations to avoid paying all or a mojority of the taxes they should. Elimination of offshore tax shelters and entities that allow money to be improperly shileded from taxes.
Cut the IRS by 50%. Aggressive simplification of the tax code and enforcement will make half of that agency redundant.
That is by no means a complete list, but just a starting point to the cuts that need to be made to get our fiscal house in order. Being realistic, almost none of these items would make it through the committee.