Couple the government shutdown with the debt ceiling deadline, and there is something that should be clear to everyone at this point – Washington D.C. must be rendered inconsequential in the everyday lives of Americans.
Despite Obama’s protestations to the contrary, the shutdown was not the cataclysmic event he proclaimed it to be. If the government can operate without 800,000 federal employees who are deemed nonessential and do so for more than two weeks, then the obvious question is: why did they have a job in the first place? Obama recently stated that he would indeed negotiate with the Republicans (in an effort to present the perception of involvement), but he flatly rejected all proposals offered by Republicans, without offering his own counter-proposal. Obama canceled all meetings with Congressional leadership while letting Harry Reid run the federal government in his place. Both the Senate and the House just came up with proposals to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling with numerous overlapping points; but Obama and Reid declared the Republican plan dead on arrival, even though the plan had not been fully revealed.
The message is clear to those who can form an independent thought. Anything short of total capitulation by the Republicans in this stand-off was not going to be accepted by Obama.
Since this same debacle is going to replay itself in just a few short months, it is time for the Republicans to do what is in the best interests of the country and gut the federal government. Here are a few examples they could consider in their “negotiations” with Obama:
- If 800,000 people are considered nonessential, then any proposal put forth by Republicans should not include funding for these people at all.
- If an agency such as the EPA–where approximately 94% of the personnel were considered nonessential– has more nonessential personnel than essential personnel, then funding for the agency in its entirety should be removed. The department or agency is clearly superfluous.
- If there is a state equivalent of a federal department or agency (such as the Department of Education), then the funding for the federal government should be reduced and capped at 1/10th of its current amount to allow for some general reporting, oversight, and arbitration between states if needed with reductions of funding implemented as needed.
- If the states have to implement a bureaucratic structure or program to fulfill a federal requirement, then the funding for the direct federal oversight should be eliminated as it creates an unnecessary level of redundancy. The states could provide the necessary reporting directly to Congress to ensure compliance.
- If there is overlapping functionality between federal departments or between agencies within the same department, then the funding for the overlap is eliminated.
- Permanent elimination of all “Czar” positions within the executive branch.
- Dissolution of the federal employees’ unions. Salaries are commensurate with a similar position in the private sector or on the state level.
- All entitlements are capped at their current level of funding. Any future increases would require Congressional approval and a corresponding decrease in spending in other areas of the federal government.
- Balanced budget amendment added to the U.S. Constitution, with the only exception of the U.S. being in a state of declared war.
Taxes should be reduced enough to ensure that more money would be available for the states to implement the needed changes on their end. This would also do a better job stimulating the economy as the money is returned to the people to do with as they please.
As has been shown in the rollout of Obamacare, the sticker shock alone is going to ensure its demise as the people will either not enroll or simply pay the fine because of financial concerns. Tying the defunding of Obamacare to anything is no longer necessary. (Simply communicate the actual costs of the insurance.) The people are going to defund it through lack of participation.
The original intent for the central government at the time of the Constitution is for it to be strong enough to actually perform its duties but not extend its reach into every aspect of the lives of Americans. As a commenter mentioned on my previous article, the Constitution was the most anti-government treatise ever written.
The Republicans can fulfill that intent by funding a limited government and render the impact of Washington, D.C. on the lives of Americans to an inconsequential annoyance.
Photo credit: DerFussi (Creative Commons)