Better ways to lessen govt. spending

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, May 21, 2008.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    reduce gas by 18 cents?

    we can do more, long term

    here are some ideas i have (social liberal, fiscal conservative, registered dem)

    pull out of iraq rather quickly but without announced deadline
    reduce retirement pay of military and civil servants and make military personnel log in 25 years before retirement

    put federal and state monies into mass transit as to reduce need for foreign oil and reduce wear and tear on roads and bridges

    flatten out salaries to civil servants even more (i do realize that it is already much flatter than most small and large businesses)

    come up with socialized medicine because keeping up a healthy workforce saves money in the long run

    have medicine be more focused on prevention and nutrition

    get more cars off the road by raising the driving age a couple of years

    improve incentives for foreign professionals who get trained in the usa but bring their trade back to their native country...the usa can't lose its brainpower, even if they are from another country who we trained, largely in our government funded universities

    increase tax on alcohol and cigarettes

    ...these ideas, while extreme to some, may work better than what we have seen in the last 8 years with increased tax breaks for ultra rich and a long drawn out war in iraq which did nothing to lower gas pump prices

    reality will most likely dictate less radical ideas along those lines from both parties, and over a much longer period of time

    i hope hilary or obama, the likely president according to polls tracking electoral votes, have the guts to do something, even if it hurts their rating while in the white house

    in the event that mccain wins, because november is still far away, he will most likely do more positive long term projects than anything w would ever dare to do

    what are your ideas?
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #2
    Anything will work better then what we had the past 8 years.
     
  3. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #3
    I like most of your ideas, but I feel compelled to point out to you that you're hardly being a fiscal conservative with most of those ideas. ;)

    I especially liked the one about raising the driving age. 16 year-olds are horrible drivers and frankly don't *need* a car, barring exceptional circumstances (for which the law already has a provision). Make the driving age 18 with the ability to get a permit at 17 and a half.

    Also, raise the tax on gasoline by about $4/gallon so that we come up to par with the rest of the developed world and invest that money into high speed trains (bullet trains would be really useful in a lot of places across the US).

    Create a federally-led education initiative that allows generous grants based on tuition and GPA. College is just too expensive right now.

    I just realized I've begun to simply rattle off desires as opposed to actual ways to reduce spending. :p
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I don't see anything there that would really lead to a reduction in federal spending. Any time you raise taxes, whatever the reason, the money gets spent on some program--or that money plus some deficit obligations get budgeted. That's historical, these last 45 years or so.
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #5
    Reduce the number of people in middle management ... and the number of support staff for politicians.
     
  6. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

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    #6
    Government spend less, or even wisely? The would truly be something to see. But, you would have a greater chance of walking on the moon than that happening. Sad to say, but too true.
     
  7. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #7
    I know quite a few 16/17 year olds who actually do need a car. I would have a very hard time getting to school if I didn't have my license, and so would quite a few other people in my class. Not everyone under 18 has parents that can drive them everywhere that they need to go, especially once you start to get away from big cities. If they were to do something that dumb then they would need to get good public transportation in most places which doesn't exist most places I've seen in the US
     
  8. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #8
    While I agree with most every point you made, the only thing I am nervous about is that kids would get only six months or so of driving experience under the supervision and control of their parents before being turned loose upon the world as fully fledged drivers.

    There aren't enough cops to deal with every bad teenage driver, but there's a parent in every house, and I rather like the idea that they learn to drive while the parents still have legal influence to discourage irresponsible behavior before it results in tickets or accidents.
     
  9. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #9
    Caveat: this assumes responsible parenting.
     
  10. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #10
    Oh, that goes without saying, but any amount of responsible parenting provides a bit of that cushioning effect.
     
  11. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #11
    the ideas are to save money in the long run

    if we try and save money based on a four year election cycle, then we are bound to waste a lot of money, thus strange ideas, at least to me, of an 18 cent saving on gasoline for three months as some sort of panacea

    if we invest in the people of the usa, those people we help now will pay for themselves many times over and thus the savings and conservation in the best practical matter

    short term ideas are usually only good for short election cycles like we have in the usa

    basically, our planet cannot sustain such a large population if they are committed to short term political goals made to look good, but in reality don't help anybody down the line

    every now and then in our country we have certain periods of bi-partisan agreement as in the clinton years and reagan years...times of polarity happened, perhaps coincidentally in the terms of george bush, and george w. bush, and during the carter and nixon admistrations

    it's politics as usual in the usa, a few years of getting to business, and a few years of infighting and digging the heels in...thos. jefferson got it right in predicting a change of guard every two or three election cycles

    in this day and age, we need more cooperation
     
  12. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #12
    Maybe I just have a bit too little faith in people being good, but I think a lot of people will just take the government charity and be able to live of of that and not have any motivation to go out and work, therefore never paying anything back into society.
     
  13. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #13
    This is the 2007 Budget. If you want to reduce spending, you need to look no further than the defense budget and the War On Terror (Iraq included). The damn thing is, everyone in the whole country knows the Pentagon pisses away a large part of their budget, on:

    1) Useless technology and research projects
    2) Incredibly lame purchasing analysis and procedures
    3) Theft, damage, loss and obsolesce

    The money we have poured into Iraq is just short of criminal. Well, I guess it is criminal. If we were out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we could double the budget for the environment, energy, science and agriculture.

    A number that really stands out, is what we are paying for debt service. It is a whopping $243 Billion dollars! That is slightly less than we are spending on energy, science, community development, veterans benefits, justice, environment and agriculture. Long-term spending strategy, must include paying down the national debt.

    Medicade is a huge part of the budget. Medicare is even higher. However, those receiving Medicare would have difficulty finding reasonable priced health insurance, if they could qualify at all. These are retired Americans, many with pre-existing medical problems. Medicade recipients are often younger and could qualify for insurance. I would like to see a cost benefit analysis, for funding insurance, as opposed to the government acting as the insurer.

    Every single government agency spends far too much on administration and ridiculous programs. The problem is, when you cut there budgets, to force them to correct poor spending habits, the first thing they reduce, or eliminate, is direct services to the public. For example, if you reduce the budget for the park service, instead of tightening their belts and transferring administrative personnel, they close parks. This is their way of creating public outcry to restore their budget. It works like a charm.

    Somewhere in here is the funding for the National Security Agency. The same for the War on Drugs. The cost for the NSA is staggering. They have their hands on so many things, but most is completely hidden from the public. The same goes for their budget. The cost is hidden in the most bizarre places. The War on Drugs is also difficult to pin down. We have troops in foreign countries fighting it, which comes from the defense budget. Other costs are dispersed between several different agency's budgets. Mainly what gets reported is administration costs and funds given to state, county and city governments. IMHO, the WOD is a failed program. It is over 30 years old, and it has done nothing to solve that for which it is intended. It is long past the the time to honestly come up with a strategy that will work.

    That in brief are my thoughts on this. These are broad categories, and if broken down to the detailed cost drivers, a person could then focus on the individual micro issues. That however, would entail a lengthy essay.
     
  14. aLoC macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I think that circumstances change over time, and a government program that made sense 5 years ago might not today. In order to encourage them to re-evaluate things periodically, all government payouts/entitlements should have an automatic 5-year sunset provision. As long as they don't find some procedural way around it (for example omnibus re-approval bills), it could help keep spending fresh and free up $ for new things.
     
  15. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Making the military members stay an additional 5 years would not decrease government spending. Getting rid of a soldier at 20 years and replacing that retiree with a new recruit keeps the payroll down. The retiree then only draws half of his/her base pay and the new recruit does get paid much at all. Also, forcing the military members to serve 25 years will increase their base salary before they retire and make their retirement checks bigger and more expensive over the long haul. Many military members stay past 20 years so they make more money in retirement (of course in the current structure they earn additional percentages of their base pay for additional service).

    Reducing the payroll of military and civil servants will ensure that the quality of our government forces decreases. Paying less salary doesn't always equate to reducing spending. Yes you are reducing the mony paid t salaries, but how much extra are you paying for lower quality employees. They are less efficient and waste more resources.

    Since when has increases taxes (such as the ones you proposed on alcohol and cigarettes) ever reduced government spending.

    It seems to me the things you have proposed are ways to continue or even increase government spending by shifting the cost of that spending to people other than yourself -- such as our military members who smoke and drink.
     
  16. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #16
    what people don't see is the human resources side of spending...many companies make this same mistake

    they get rid of the 20 year veteran making x dollars to get the new kid out of hs or college at y dollars for z savings

    but it costs more than z to train the new kid

    much of why japan was kicking our mba butts in the 80s was that they retained their senior people with the best (knowledge, skills, abilities) and had a smooth running machine

    american companies got rid of important key employees to make a short term savings initially but ended up spending way more than expected than believed due to training a new person, whether it be an office clerk or a cpa...training takes many hours and hours cost money

    let's look back at your military example...while my pilot friend takes home around 50k a year, his training cost the us air force over a million dollars, so does it make sense to bring in a new pilot at a fraction of the pay to "save money" only to put him through another million dollar training when they could have used my friend another five or even ten years?

    the cheapest way, in the long run, for any company or government organization is to keep experienced people on the payrolls, even if it means fewer of them than a larger number of fresh faced kids with no experience and a huge bank account set aside for their training

    if i am in the military, would i want to get out at 20 instead of 25 as the minimum allowed? if i was 16 would i want to drive right away than to wait for age 17 or 18, if i drove to work for a few miles would i rather have my own car and listen to the radio instead of take a train?

    probably yes to all of those, but with our defecit, we all need to make some sacrifices and the more of us that join in and contribute, the smaller the individual sacrifice may be

    from my original post, i am not knocking a summer savings of 18 cents on gas as proposed by both mccain and clinton, but since this is an election year, it's easy to make it sound like it will make a huge difference and thus was some great debt saving idea to save america

    things get taken out of context and hyperbole becomes the rule of the day while many important issues take a back burner, even during election years

    clinton and perot got it right in '92 when they would often say, "it's about the economy, stupid"...most agreed and the reagan/bush revolution, once an unstoppable 800 pound bear, got sent walking papers

    well, it's 2008, and guess what? it's about the economy, again
     
  17. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #17
    another point about new soldiers vs old soldiers vs training

    my friend is only a captain in the air force and he had that million dollar training which is so many times more than his pay

    pay is a smaller component

    a four star general only makes 2.5 times more than a sgt. major with the maximum 38 year cutoff in pay/time in service so it's not about salary
    ( www.army.com )

    and fyi, that four star general can be hired for four more years for about the same cost it took to train my friend when he was a newly minted second lt. learning how to fly several different aircraft including the trainer

    training new people all the time, whatever their military capacity, is a very costly plan if the turnaround gets too high
     
  18. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #18
    We need to work on balancing the budget and paying off more than just the interest on our debt. We can go from there. I do support a lot of what you're saying though, just maybe not to that extent.
     
  19. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #19
    As far as I know, most districts still provide school bus services.

    There isn't so much a need as a social desire to have a car for teenagers.

    You can make the argument that many teenagers work part time, etc, but those factors can be mitigated with better busing and better city planning (which incidentally will reduce many other problems as well).

    Which is why we need to change that. We shouldn't defer to convention simply "because." Most other developed countries do not have their teenagers engaging in such dangerous activities as driving (and let's face it-teenagers are by far the worst drivers on the road).

    Imagine the funds we waste on paramedics and emergency response services because of the high number of teenager-caused fatal accidents. That money can, and should, be spent better elsewhere.
    Although technically that's all the law requires at the moment IIRC. The standard age to get a permit is 15 and a half, and one can have a license by the age of 16.

    Unless the laws have changed in the past 3 years, which they easily could have; I'm basing my info off of my license experience.
    Definitely. If we're not going to restrict licenses for those under 18, we should at least make the required permit length 1 year+.

    Well I don't disagree, but I'm just pointing out how a fiscal conservative in the traditional sense would not view things in such a way.

    People often confuse wise planning with fiscal liberal. ;)
     
  20. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #20
    Even when they're licensed, though, they're still minors, and their parents legally have both responsibility for and authority over them. The parents of a bad 17 year old driver, even one with a full license, can still take away the keys and ground him. Once they turn eighteen and go off to college, all bets are off.

    College freshmen go a little crazy as it is. For them to also be operating cars with only six months of supervised experience is positively terrifying.

    I'm quite amenable to a compromise that doesn't automatically make kids eligible for a full license until 18 no matter when they get their learner's permit, but still allows them to get a permit to drive with a parent or driving instructor at 15.5 or 16 or so.
     
  21. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #21
    I see your point, and fully agree. Let them have a permit at 15.5; as long as they can't drive on their without a considerable amount of training and hours behind the wheel. It will make them better prepared to be responsible drivers when their parents or an instructor isn't looking.
     
  22. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #22
    The first question to ask is what flavor of government? Federal, state, county, city? We have a somewhat unique system here in the US, but one of the downfalls is that we have too much government. One federal system, 50 states, north of 3000 counties, and no telling how many municipalities. All those layers on the cake cost money.

    The problem is that hardly anyone in government treats the public coffers the way they would their own wallet. Why should they? It's not "their" money, it's the big amorphous blob of "the public's" money, and no matter how much they spend, there will always be more, as they can always mandate themselves more if they want via taxation.
     
  23. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #23
    A lot of state, regional and local spending is mandated by the federal government. Education and health care being the two most expensive mandates.

    One of the biggest problems I see cropping up repeatedly is the lack of cooperation between overlapping authorities.

    The Bay Area is a prime example. There's a multitude of public transit authorities with 4 or 5 major ones. Rarely do the systems link together effectively. Lots of waste there.

    The same goes with urban planning, a nice little gated community here, business park there, distressed urban zone there and what you end up with is a mess of zoning laws.

    Nobody wants to give up power and the result is a massive power struggle between every faction under the sun.

    The federal>state>local government system that was set up 200 years ago is ill suited to today's megalopolises. What we need to to is start thinking in terms of regional governments and start ridding ourselves of the phenomenal waste that is a result of an outdated system.
     
  24. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #24
    Don't they even obfuscate the issue further by refusing to include war budgets in the federal budget and opting instead to do supplemental spending bills to fund the WoT?

    I don't necessarily fault them for their research projects, yeah they may seem wacky and useless but some of them stumble upon some very interesting phenomena and devices (the Microwave Oven being one of them), and if they are working on non-lethal methods to subdue the enemies I think the options deserved to be looked at.

    Their purchasing process definitely needs to be looked at and revised, the way most contracts are handled they go to the lowest bidder but they are written in such a form that budget overruns are also paid by the government. So the low bidder likes to get the contract and then almost immediately strike back with a request for more money for the inevitable budget overrun. Of course a lot of the defense industry is run poorly and money gets juggled around from project to project so if you don't use up your money early enough and actually plan your program well, you can end up having your budget sapped by another program that blew its money months ago, even if they did it irresponsibly.
     
  25. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    You do have to remember that the military is not a business. Though an old four star general is a great deal monetarily (they run bigger organizations than most CEOs and get paid a fraction of what their civilian counterparts make) they do not do very well flying planes, driving tanks, or shooting rifles. You have to hire young lieutenants, privates and airmen to do those jobs. We currently do not have a shortage of leaders in the military. There are plenty of generals, colonels, and senior enlisted. The positions and jobs available for people with more than 20 years become increasingly competitive and many members are forced out of the military (into retirement) because they can not reach the rank required to stay beyond 20. If you stretched out the career progression of military members, leaving older members in lower ranking positions longer, you would end up with people not in their prime engaging in missions where top physical fitness is required.

    Raising the retirement age to 25 would not help our military in any mission related way and would end up costing additional money to pay to for longer careers and higher retirement checks.

    My question to you is this: do you not think that a member in the military who has put up with the BS the military puts its members through deserves to retire after 20 years? It is a tough career, hard on both the members and their families, especially in today's military where we have been cutting back on personnel and increaing the mission requirements. Soldiers are deployed the majority of the time leaving their families behind. When they finally get home they are moving to a different base and deploying again.
     

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