TwitterFacebook

What About Some Liberal Cuts To Government Spending?

A few suggestions…
Opinion • Views: 23,919

As the “fiscal cliff” looms unthreateningly, media hype notwithstanding, I’ve been wondering if liberals like me have ever suggested broad government spending cuts. I’m sure they have, somewhere, but you rarely see any in the mainstream media doing so, and a quick google search shows only one prominent blog post that even comes close to qualifying: Derek Thompson’s “The Liberal Case For Cutting Domestic Spending”, on Ezra Klein’s blog-

You don’t see many liberal economists writing about the best places to cut domestic spending in the next few years. But maybe they should be — if only for the selfish reason that it might clear the way for their spending ideas. When I asked Adam Hersh, an economist from the Center for American Progress, to identify some non-security discretionary items he could part with in exchange for infrastructure money, he acknowledged that the pickings might be slim. But there are still pickings.

“You could shift spending from activities with low stimulating multipliers to higher job multipliers — like shifting timber subsidies toward infrastructure and R&D,” Hersh said. Cut farm subsidies, eliminate duplicate and wasteful domestic programs, and throw in the president’s promise to freeze non-security discretionary spending and federal wages, and you’ve got tens of billions of dollars that could offset spending projects under the conservative House’s cut-go rules. Who knows if this would lure Republicans across the aisle. But what’s the harm in identifying cuts that would make important initiatives more palatable to moderates?

I have nothing against such neutral ways of shifting spending from less to more productive programs, but it seems to me that liberals should be able to identify a lot of government spending that could be cut outright. Here are just a few ideas (including ones involving the military), each of which I’m willing to be convinced would not work or should not be done-

1) Cut military programs (e.g., big-ticket weapons systems that the Pentagon has said it does not need or want). The concern about displaced military-industrial workers could be eased by providing modest tax credits for converting military factories to more productive uses. And, of course, close unnecessary bases overseas, and try to avoid being drawn into endless conflicts.

2) End the war on drugs (a no-brainer, dude). This would also cut the prison-industrial complex. Shift resources to less expensive medical treatment options for drug-abusing addicts.

3) Cut subsidies to Big Oil, Big Agriculture, and any other industry that is obviously self-sufficient.

4) Cut Homeland Security. I’m all for a strong Intelligence community, but does anyone really believe that, since 9/11, there has been no serious waste and duplication of effort in this area?

5) Drastically simplify the tax code. Doing so should reduce the size of the IRS, and free up private resources for more productive uses than tax-minimization, thereby increasing revenues. This is an issue liberals should champion just as loudly as conservatives (if not more so, since the current tax system has been constructed by special interests with the money to lobby Congress and give big donations to candidates).

6) Control medical costs directly. Anyone who has ever looked at a medical bill knows that the price of medical goods and services is ridiculously high. The Affordable Care Act already limits the profits that medical insurance companies can make. Next, pass a law to limit the profits of medical equipment suppliers, drug companies, and perhaps hospitals. (I’m leaving medical personnel off this list, but only because we presently need to encourage more people to enter those professions). This would significantly reduce Medicare and Medicaid expenses, and hence spending. (I realize that profits have to be high enough to encourage private R&D, but particularly over the next thirty or forty years of baby-boom retirement, these sectors should be highly profitable even under reasonable controls).

7) Increase the age of Medicare eligibility by a year or two. I know this is not a respectable suggestion in some liberal circles, but it seems to me a reasonable response to the projected Medicare deficit and significantly increasing life-spans. If The Affordable Care Act is properly implemented, most seniors could probably afford to purchase private medical insurance for at least a couple of years, and those who couldn’t should be eligible for subsidies.

8) Election reform. Limit election seasons to a month or so, by law, and limit candidates’ election fund-raising to a couple of months prior to the (shortened) election season. This might make politicians more productive, and hence save the tax-payer a little money. Also, to decrease the cost of elections and increase access, develop secure ways of voting via the internet (if and only if doing so is technically feasible).

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, and there are probably problems with each of them that I haven’t recognized (not the least of which being the lack of political will to see them realized). But surely there are hundreds of other sensible cuts liberals could propose, and thereby help to counter the conservative charge that liberals just want Big Government. Suggestions, anyone?

(Cross-posted at blogherenow.)

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
Man Who Killed Soldier With Car Was Radical Muslim, Authorities Say
NBC I will once again point out that it's not the Southern border that GOP demagogues should be riffing on if they are honestly worried about terrorists. The man who allegedly drove his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, ...

1 hour ago
Views: 80 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
Lumberhead
Moulton Underplays Military Service - Metro - the Boston Globe
This really is remarkable. I came across it over at Charlie Pierce's blog at Esquire. Imagine, a politician downplaying his heroic war record. The American political graveyard has more than a few monuments to politicians and public officials who embellished ...

1 day ago
Views: 166 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
FemNaziBitch
The Truth About Period Pain — Don’t ignore this
The science lesson in which we covered human biology focused primarily on puberty - things would change, we were told in a serious voice: hair would grow in new places, breasts would sprout, shoulders would broaden and voices would ...

1 day, 5 hours ago
Views: 252 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Souliren
Natalie MacMaster Fiddle school
This is a short (under two minute) video of Natalie teaching a technique for "Athole Brose," in Cape Breton style.

1 day, 18 hours ago
Views: 163 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
MichaelJ
Amazing RED Camera Footage Kelly Slater’s 540 Air
More: Amazing RED Camera Footage Kelly Slater's 540 Air There's a reason why people refer to 11-time world champ Kelly Slater as "the king". This clip/maneuver is yet another ground-breaking moment in the history of surfing.

3 days, 15 hours ago
Views: 395 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 5
Rightwingconspirator
1934 Had Worst Drought of Last Thousand Years-We Made It Worse
"It was the worst by a large margin, falling pretty far outside the normal range of variability that we see in the record," said climate scientist Ben Cook at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Cook ...

4 days ago
Views: 481 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
Skip Intro
The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction
arstechnica.com

1 week ago
Views: 715 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
I Stand With Big Sodomy!
Daniel Johnston-True Love Will Find You In The End.
A simple, imperfect, brilliant song, by a fascinating man. Link

1 week, 1 day ago
Views: 516 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
Bubblehead II
High Court Lifts Hold on Gay Marriage in Idaho
[large]YES![/large] WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court says same-sex marriage can go ahead in Idaho. More: High Court Lifts Hold on Gay Marriage in Idaho [large]YES![/large]

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 723 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 12 • Rating: 2
HamSandwich
How Islamic extremists convinced two French schoolgirls to join jihad in Syria
Sahra and Nora are among some 100 girls and young women from France who have left to join jihad in Syria, up from just a handful 18 months ago, when the trip was not even on Europe's security radar, ...

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 989 • Comments: 15
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
 Frank says:

There will never be a nuclear war; there's too much real estate involved. -- Zappa on the Tonight Show, C.A. 1988