By Jonathon Moseley
Conservatives are forgetting their most important lever: Voters logically must support raising taxes if they believe that every dollar of Federal spending is needed. But if some spending is unnecessary, cutting spending is correct. America is divided by assumptions about whether the Federal budget includes a lot of lard or is completely necessary.
Conservatives need to return to what built the conservative movement, to return to what works. We need to stop talking as if helping rich people become richer is our main priority. Despite years of effort in the past, conservatives must now explain all over again to today's generation of voters how their tax dollars are being thrown away.
Could we save money without harming anyone? Recently, news broke once again -- this time in New York State -- about welfare program debit cards being used in ATM machines at strip clubs, bars, liquor stores, porn video shops, hookah parlors, and tobacco shops. There are two problems: welfare cash is being spent for optional extras, not survival. Also, ATM fees cost the welfare program millions of dollars per year for the cash advances. This is not an insult to those who need help. This is a "to do" list for improvements to do a better job.
Promoters of more spending are implying -- to hoodwink low information voters -- that every penny Washington spends is necessary and well spent. If we cut necessary spending, then people will starve and America will fall apart. Bridges will collapse. Our food will be poisoned. Planes will fall out of the sky. Public schools will be boarded up. Liberals are bankrupting the nation based on the lie that spending cannot be cut without harm.
Examples are easy to find. Every year, Citizens Against Government Waste releases "The Pig Book" -- a list of absurdly unnecessary spending in the Federal budget. Since 1993, CAGW has published "Prime Cuts" -- a precise list of cuts that won't be missed. CAGW has already identified easy savings of $391 billion per year, $1.7 trillion over five years.
If Speaker John Boehner were serious, he would call an up-or-down vote on the outrageous examples already identified for Congress. How hard is that? Many of CAGW's recommendations won't please everyone, but CAGW is certainly not the only organization one can look to. CAGW should also organize "Former Government Employees Against Government Waste" to tell the public what is really going on inside the bureaucracy.
Ask our voters: should the government spend $1.7 billion a year on empty buildings? The Office of Management and Budget estimates that 55,000 properties are underutilized or entirely vacant. Maintenance on those properties costs taxpayers $1.7 billion annually. Selling unnecessary Federal property could raise $15 billion. The Federal Government owns 900,000 buildings and structures. Note that there is already a process for other agencies to call "dibs" on any building or property they can use.
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