- Politics and Social Issues
Cutting the cost of government
The cost of government at the state and federal levels are skyrocketing in these economic times. The problem is primarily centered on the fact that government is more involved in our daily lives than ever before. Government in the past was less intrusive and we had more control over our lives and the lives of our families. Involved in this situation is the fact that government expenses and government income do not equal. It is true there are many responsibilities between the state and federal government as defined in the Constitution. While each level of government needs to address their budget to match expenses with the income it is receiving the actions being taken appear to be kicking the can down the road. Leaving problems for future congressional sessions..
Tough decisions and prioritizing legislative actions in terms of importance to the public and whether they are a responsibility as defined in the Constitution is a difficult task. Today there are many programs which have been created at the state and federal levels some of which are needed and some are the responsibility of each government entity. Prioritizing legislation should start by comparing government responsibilities at each level with the defined responsibilities in our Constitution.
Changes in the structure and the authority of some government entities need to be made but these changes must in most cases be made through legislative action which is signed into law. The present structures of government at the state and federal levels have had some changes but some of those changes have been an increase in the responsibilities of various government entities. Efficiency in government is a concept that the public feels has been lost in these economic times and to some extent they are correct. Government is constantly creating legislation which put in place requirements which we as citizens or business owners must understand and comply.
Legislative actions and the regulations needed to address the requirements seem to be growing at a fast pace especially at the federal level. This causes an increase in the costs of maintaining government responsibilities. The manner in which the legislative actions are currently operating involves duplicate legislation on the same topics. It should make no difference which political part initiates the legislative action on a specific topic the point is to address the topic and the actions required to resolve any problem involved. An efficient organization spends its money wisely which the perception today is that this does not exists.
The key to cutting the cost of government is a proper evaluation of programs, laws, rules and regulations in place to reduce duplicate efforts by multiple agencies or departments. This evaluation and accomplishing the objective must look at the general responsibilities of a government entity to assign responsibility where it should be placed. One example to be considered is the connection between the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which is under the Department of Health and Human Services. A unique approach to be considered would involve the Department of Agriculture generating laws and regulations associated with Agricultural activities and products with input from the FDA.
The FDA has primary responsibility over the safety of our food and drugs but it does not mean they should have total control over other agency operations. There is nothing wrong in changing responsibilities from the FDA to departments such as Department of Agriculture. Each government department or entity should have the control associated with their primary purpose with input from applicable organizations.
As identified in a report by the government accounting organization there is much duplication within the federal government. Many departments and agencies are involved with different aspects of issues and appears that the problem with making decisions is hampered by taking apart various aspects and assigning specific responsibilities to multiple departments and agencies. It is important that there be proper input from departments for which their responsibilities may be impacted but the final decision should be assigned to the department or agency which has direct responsibility. Another example involves the Department of Energy which should have total responsibility in making decisions affecting our energy system.
It is also important to remember that Congress has the ultimate responsibility to be a check on the executive departments and their agencies in addition to decisions made by our justice system. It is their responsibility to know what is going on with respect to decisions being made or not made. The cost being created by the executive departments and agencies through their rules and regulations has been unprecedented in recent years and has existed over multiple administrations of both political parties. Our debt is skyrocketing and Congress has control of the purse strings with regards to what money is spent and on what through the appropriation process.
It is a well-known fact that there is much waste with regards to allocating money to projects or programs that have no justification to exist. This fact has been identified through various watchdog organizations which have been beneficial in informing the public. It is time Congress and those we have elected to serve in the next Congress devote time to address the unjustified expenses now taking place. The President along with his team should examine the problem of unjustified agencies and programs in the budget presented to Congress through the state of the union address. Getting rid of agencies and programs may take some time but both the President and Congress must begin to address unjustified costs. The proper allocation of funds is not taking place as it should. Some departments are receiving more than they should while others are not receiving enough.
There are hundreds of agencies within the executive departments which have been created over the years and many may not have the justification to exist. If such is the case the funds should be stricken from the department in which the agency exists which will reduce the costs of running that department.