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Kent Conwell: A Stinking Gift


Last updated 8/29/2012 at Noon

If you’ve been following the news, you are well aware the political fur is flying. One accusation after another is being hurled by all sides at each other.

More than once in the last few weeks, my jaw has hit the floor upon viewing various political advertisements. Who or what can we believe? All I can suggest is take it all with the proverbial grain of salt.

It is difficult to pin facts to the mat, a heck of a lot more difficult than trying to give a cat a bath.

When I ask myself if I’m better off now than I was four years ago, I have to say ‘no way’. Why? Basically, the economy. I base it on my own personal and family expenses. Four years ago, my weekly trips to Walmart averaged about $90. Today, the same items hit almost $120, a $30 increase. And if you’re on a fixed income, that $30 takes away from some of your other ‘like to dos’.

The same type of increases hold true all other areas. Fast food is up; medical expenses are higher; insurance costs more; autos are outrageous; and on and on and on. When prices increase, most families, me included, look for ways to shave our own spending so we can balance our budget.

Let’s forget politics for a moment. Let’s forget that some fanatics bleed blue or red--Libertarians? I don’t know. Maybe they bleed pink. But let’s forget about the color of our blood and concentrate on putting the American budget back in shape.

Unless you are a welfare cheat—no, I shouldn’t have said that. Welfare cheats don’t read columns like this. They’re too busy spending food stamps on lobsters and beer.

There isn’t a concerned citizen who doesn’t know the ultimate fate of our country if such spending continues.

With all its moles and warts, the Ryan tax plan addresses the issue. At least it is a start on winnowing the chaff from the grain. I know, I know, there are hundreds, yea, thousands of questions, but we have to begin somewhere.

The House has sent a couple budgets to the Senate where they died long and painful deaths. I found a list of items the Republican side of Congress wants to cut. After reading them, you’ll be as shocked as I was not only by their number, but by the way obscene amounts of tax monies are spent.

Right up front, the plan doesn’t cut Social Security nor Defense. What I read is that while it does make an effort to reform SS, those citizens over 55 are not affected.

There are fifty-four items on this list.

They range from eliminating taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for a $12.5 million annual savings to repealing the eighty-one year old Davis-Bacon Act for more than $1 billion annually.

Some of the other programs on the list to be either required or eliminated are: Eliminate Presidential Campaign Fund.

775 million savings over ten years.

Eliminate Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants $2.5 billion annual savings.

IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget -- $1.8 billion savings over ten years.

Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees.$1 billion total savings.

Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees $1.2 billion savings over ten years.

Eliminate Mohair Subsidies $1 million annual savings.

Sell excess federal properties the government doesn’t use.

$5 billion total savings No funding for federal office space acquisition.

$64 million annual savings.

A perfect example of just how careless those jokers are with our taxes is clearly illustrated in the two previous examples.

One wants to sell unused government properties and the other wants to eliminate funds for federal office space acquisitions (only in Washington can they justify spending money by working against each other).

Here are only ten examples of the list, which contains forty-four others.

They are all as wasteful as these next two.

For example, we could save $1.565 billion by eliminating Amtrak subsidies and $17 million by getting rid of the International fund for ‘Ireland’ (whatever that is).

One last example of Washington’s obscene spending is the Congressional Death Gratuity.

When a member of Congress dies, his family is given his yearly salary as a death benefit.

In addition to insurance.

Some deal, huh?

The list totals $2.5 trillion savings over ten years. Will Congress follow these suggestions? I doubt it. While the alternative is unthinkable, we best think about it or we’ll end up like Greece. Like I said, we’ve got to start somewhere. If we do, then in six decades, our kids and grandkids can have it all paid off. That’s some stinking gift we’ve left them, huh?

If you should want the entire list, e-mail me. Happy to oblige.


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