Thursday, May 8, 2014

Debt and the Federal Budget

     The following was written in April 2014, as part of a response to the Campaign for Liberty's 2012 survey questionnaire for candidates running for federal office.

14. Will you vote against any budget that increases our debt?

     Yes, I will vote against any and all proposed budgets that would increase the nation's debt, and in times when no annual budget is passed, I will also vote against large omnibus spending bills.
     The people of the United States do not need a federal government spending a quarter of the wealth produced in the nation annually. The 21% of GDP spent under the 2013 budget is an improvement over this, but more work has yet to be done. The costs of having a federal government would be cut immediately upon the adoption of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which two-thirds of the states now want for themselves.
     I will support efforts to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and I will urge all states to do the same as soon as possible. I will seriously consider supporting any proposed Cut-Cap-and-Balance type legislation, although I will not support any such legislation which does not go far enough towards achieving balanced budgets.
     The federal government should close all remaining tax loopholes, and reduce spending. Proposed budgets in the near future will likely need to have $600 to $700 billion trimmed from them, and $1 trillion will likely need to be cut from the White House's requested spending total. Any surpluses resulting after such cuts should go first towards paying off foreign and public debt, and then towards tax decreases.
     The attitudes that we should or can increase government spending during a recession, or set spending at whatever level is necessary to fund worthwhile government programs, reflect a lack of principles about the proper role, size, and scope of government, and compound the risk that a lack of fiscal restraint will lead to unfunded liabilities, deficits, and debt.
     All of this is possible as long as the Department of Commerce, national defense (the single largest discretionary spending item), the Departments of Homeland Security and State and the intelligence programs; the medical entitlements; the Departments of Education, H.U.D., Justice, Energy, and Interior; the E.P.A., and the Departments of Transportation and Labor are considered the primary targets for spending cuts (in that order).
     This could be done without cutting Social Security, and even without completely abolishing any federal department besides the Department of Commerce. However, I believe that no progress on taxation can be made unless and until the federal government cedes all of its land back to the states and the people therein, so that states may fully tax the unimproved value of that land, instead of taxing (and effectively discouraging) productivity occurring on the land, such as sales and income earnings.

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