Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 103)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below:

Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

On May 11, 2011,  I emailed to this above address and I got this email back from Senator Pryor’s office:

Please note, this is not a monitored email account. Due to the sheer volume of correspondence I receive, I ask that constituents please contact me via my website with any responses or additional concerns. If you would like a specific reply to your message, please visit http://pryor.senate.gov/contact. This system ensures that I will continue to keep Arkansas First by allowing me to better organize the thousands of emails I get from Arkansans each week and ensuring that I have all the information I need to respond to your particular communication in timely manner.  I appreciate you writing. I always welcome your input and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any issue of concern to you in the future.

I just did. I went to the Senator’s website and sent this below:

“Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity,” Heritage Foundation, May 10, 2011 by  Stuart Butler, Ph.D. , Alison Acosta Fraser and William Beachis one of the finest papers I have ever read. Over the next few days I will post portions of this paper, but I will start off with the section on federal spending reform.

Replacing Farm Subsidies with Farmer Savings Accounts. Intended to remedy low crop prices and farmer poverty, the current farm subsidy system does neither. Farm subsidies encourage overplanting, which drives prices down further, necessitating even more subsidies. Moreover, rather than focusing on low-income farmers, most farm subsidies go to commercial farmers who report an average annual income of nearly $200,000. Claims that the agriculture industry could not survive without large subsidies are contradicted by the fact that nearly all subsidies go to growers of just five crops (wheat, cotton, corn,
soybeans, and rice), while fruit, vegetable, livestock, and poultry operations thrive with almost no government aid.

The real problem—yearly income fluctuations due to crop and weather
unpredictability—can be solved inexpensively with farmer savings accounts. Under the Heritage plan, growers of all crops, not just the “big five,” can save money during boom years in tax-deductible IRA-style accounts and withdraw those funds during bust years as taxable income, thus smoothing out their yearly income fluctuations. An improved no-net-cost crop insurance system will assist when major disasters deplete most farmers’ accounts. All farmers can participate in the new system regardless of income or crop grown and at a fraction of the current cost to taxpayers.

Capping and Reforming Antipoverty Spending. Since 1990, federal
antipoverty spending, including Medicaid, has expanded 236 percent faster than inflation, from $190 billion to $639 billion (an increase of 2.2 percent of GDP). Antipoverty spending has grown as much as Social Security, Medicare, defense, and education spending combined. Overall, the federal government spends approximately $28,000 per family with children in the bottom third of the income table without encouraging independence. Many of the programs do not include enforced work requirements and continue to reward illegitimacy and other destructive behaviors that block the road to independence. Once the unemployment rate drops back to normal levels (projected in 2014), the Heritage plan returns total federal antipoverty spending to its 2007 level (adjusted for inflation) and then caps total spending growth at the inflation rate (using the medical inflation rate for the health care portion). Congress or states could shift spending among antipoverty programs to increase effectiveness
as long as total spending does not exceed the cap. This cap and flexibility will force lawmakers at all levels to reexamine the size and goals of the welfare state and tailor assistance more efficiently to help families escape poverty and dependence and achieve independence.

Other Spending Reforms. Multiple federal programs should be returned to the state or local levels. For instance, there is no compelling reason for Washington to finance local job training, justice, environmental, or community and economic development programs. Therefore, the plan eliminates these federal grant programs with the expectation that state and local governments will determine whether to address these local issues with local funds and be held accountable by local voters. Energy research and development spending that is commercial in nature is moved to the private sector. Lawmakers are also expected to pare $15 billion in costs associated with the estimated $125 billion in annual federal payment errors.

Asset Sales. The federal government currently owns and controls vast
assets, including huge swaths of commercial land, especially in the West; power generation facilities; valuable portions of the electromagnetic spectrum; underutilized buildings; and financial assets. Given the federal government’s huge debt, it makes sense to sell at least a portion of these assets, especially those that are currently generating revenue below market levels (in which case the sale value would be above the present value of the current income on the assets). Sales of assets would immediately reduce the government’s operating deficit and debt, reducing future interest costs.

The Heritage plan includes a program of asset sales totaling approximately
$260 billion over 15 years. This includes partial sales of federal properties,
real estate, mineral rights, the electromagnetic spectrum, and energy-generation facilities.

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