Date: September 28, 2017
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Thomas Schatz
Listen: MP3 | Order
America’s national debt nearly doubled under President Obama and before mid-September 2017, the debt surpassed 20 trillion dollars. Fortunately there’s an organization that has charted a pathway to get us out of economic calamity as they’ve produced a comprehensive account of options that the federal government possesses to cut into our ever-growing debt.
Joining Jim to look at this problem was Thomas Schatz. Thomas is the president of Citizens Against Government Waste and also its lobbying affiliate, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. They are a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational organization working to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in government. He’s testified numerous times before Congress as well as state and local government.
Why does the federal debt continue to plague us? Politicians promise to bring spending under control yet year after year the debt continues to grow. Short of the VA scandal where lives were lost, Thomas noted that no one really gets fired in Washington for wasting money. The other problem is that although candidates will talk about doing something on the campaign trail, when they come to Washington, the solution to everything seems to be to create a program, not to solve the problem.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle like to use the power of the purse in the sense that they end up with overspending and earmarking and that’s what leads to the duplication and overlap. The power of the purse was never meant to have such a broad definition and cover so many programs and projects. The founders meant for it to be a limited power and not an expansive one. In other words, the power of the purse operates in the other direction as well, meaning our politicians must learn that it’s prudent to close the purse at times as well.
Citizens Against Government Waste has recently released a revised book called, Prime Cuts 2017. It’s a comprehensive compilation of spending cuts, consolidations, terminations and efficiencies. In this latest edition, there are 607 recommendations that would save taxpayers 336.2 billion in one year and 2.3 trillion in five years. That’s enough to balance the budget in 3 years and after that, move the nation toward paying down the 20 trillion dollar debt.
As this Crosstalk moved along, Jim had Thomas look at places to trim such as the Rural Utilities Service, the sugar subsidy, earmarkings for additional joint-strike jet fighters, Medicare improper payments, raising the retirement age for Social Security beneficiaries, federal subsidies for Amtrak and more.
Citizens Against Government Waste