OPINION: Ideas for trimming the budget

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The idea of a cut and balanced budget always seems to be the battle cry for the conservative. I, a left-leaning liberal, agree with the premise but disagree with the execution of the idea by the GOP. The GOP is well known for making cuts to healthcare, education and benefits to the unemployed. On the flip side they allow defense and government institution budgets to skyrocket out of control. By no means is the GOP the party of small government and economic freedom, but rather the party of self-interest and window peepers. Let’s take a look at what can be cut and recognize this recovered money could go towards the previously mentioned healthcare, education and benefits to the unemployed.

CUT: NSA 

Yes, it is time to take back our liberty by cutting the already-proven-to-be-corrupt agency known as the National Security Agency. First exposed by Edward Snowden while Barack Obama was president, the NSA has been highly controversial. Although the actual budget of the NSA is confidential, the budget is estimated to be worth around $10 billion while some experts, like Gordon Adams, a former White House budget official for national security, claim it is “well north” of $20 billion. 

CUT: IRS

Cost: $11.7 billion a year. This means the government has to use an amount equal to one quarter of what the Internal Revenue Service finds a year to fund it. The IRS generally only collects 12.8 percent of unpaid taxes yearly.  For the most part, the IRS hassles small business and individuals because they have already received kickbacks from the big time offenders of tax evasion. 

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CUT: GOVERNMENT SALARIES

Ron Paul offered to take $39,000 if elected president in 2008. Of course he would have been given travel and a place to stay, but Paul is on to something. The old saying goes “cut government pay and watch how quickly things change." Senators, congressman, the president: they are all public servants and should take their job not because it pays well, but rather because it allows them to pass policies for the benefit of the people. A quick cut of salaries and the addition of term limits to senators and congressman should help put them in their place.


CUT: OTHER AGENCIES

Maybe it is time Americans realize most agencies are not around to protect us, and if they are out to “protect us," they are often doubled up. The Central Intelligence Agency gathers intelligence through spying and it uses drones to blow up random folks they consider bad. The NSA has similar responsibilities. The Drug Enforcement Administration is wasteful, nothing more than $2.8 billion in 2015 worth of Chief Wiggums.

REMAIN: MILITARY BUDGET

Yes, we could make cuts to our military budgets, but if we cut the budget on paper it will be the soldier that takes the hit. If we continue to send men and women out to the Middle East in the name of oil and opium, they need to be taken care of when they come back home. This means legislation to reevaluate the budget would be the smarter option if you really care about the troops and it is not just a bumper sticker on the back of your gas guzzler. Get these men and women real job training when they come back, make sure they have a home and a place to start out. Don’t risk their lives and dispose of them when they are “no longer of use.”

STATE LEVEL ISSUES

Arizona, what is your budget? Why must you tax us as well? I see where maybe priorities can be reset. Taking a first step is looking for other places to spend that $26.6 million you added to the Border Strike Force budget in 2018 (also, Ducey, why don’t you have the entire budget for this strike force on the governor website? Would xenophobes even say, “I think that is too much for extra border protection?”). There is already a border patrol that, well, patrols the border. 

Since marijuana is the number one item seized at the border, marijuana must be addressed. Marijuana is not a public safety issue if you legalize and tax the plant. You might find this extra tax revenue helpful, like every other state that has legalized the plant and used the extra revenue to improve their educational systems (Colorado being an exemplary example). 

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The Arizona governor's office also holds public hearings. They are held in five major cities and claim to be for residents to speak their minds about the budget. No matter what people say, an already elected official is not going to change spending patterns. These public hearings simply sound like tax-funded travel, stay, and meals; oddly enough, there is no figure on the total amount of dollars spent on these public hearings. I wonder why?

The government simply tricks people using buzzwords to push legislation, which they make in self-interest. Both the GOP and Democratic Party are guilty of this offense. The government is not for the people; if it were, it would spend its money to “promote the general welfare” (preamble of the Constitution) — not on high tech spy shit.


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