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Why Not Cut Federal Government Size and Spending

Updated on January 16, 2016

Everyone, except those in charge, think that government and government spending are out of control. Now a logical or common sense person might say that the answer is to quit spending so much and quit adding to the size of the government. Unfortunately common sense and government do not always mix well. Sort of like oil and water. Because the public is feeling outraged by the size of government, debt and spending there is some pretense at cutting both. This is probably an impractical suggestion as to how to do it. Impractical because it just isn’t the way things are done.

As things are done now the politicians argue about which programs to cut and then decide to maybe trip a bit here and there. Somehow they end up spending more than ever. This is because:

· They believe that by giving taxpayer money to their friends and supporters (known as special interests) it will somehow stimulate the economy.

·Elected officials feel their legacy depends of creating new programs.

· They believe that it is their job to have the government solve all problems

· Constitutional requirements have been ignored or worse

Instead of the above, I suggest we:

  • Eliminate the spoils system that has developed.Have any “stimulus” plan be checked by independent auditors and be published for public scrutiny. Further I would like to see it all presented at public meetings.
  • Any new program or agency of the federal government should be presented to the public in much the same way. Those presenting it must be required to justify
  • Why it is needed.
  • Whether it is constitutionally a function of the Federal Government.
  • Can it be done by either private industry of a lower level of government?
  • How it will be paid for.

Cut current cost and expenditures. The current approach is to supposedly see if there is anything we don’t need. Then it becomes a matter of all groups and politicians arguing that whatever program it is cannot be cut. Even agencies and programs that are needed and necessary have a tendency to grow and expand, therefore total scrutiny is needed. I suggest that the process be reversed.

  • Every aspect of the government, except the Constitution be approached as being unnecessary. From that point, like the above, everything would have to be justified in terms of need and constitutionality and need. Some suggestion from me.
  • Are unselected officials known as Czars necessary or constitutional?
  • Does the public know what they cost or are they “off the books?” I don’t know, do you?
  • Where are their powers spelled out?
  • Are power and authority do they have?
  • Who do they answer to?
What is the Federal Government’s role in education?
  • Is it constitutional?
  • Are student loans and grants legal?
  • Who should administer them?
  • Should the Federal Government determine curriculum?
  • I do think that any land grant college owes something to the government, which I believe is represented by ROTC programs.
How about Health and Human Services?
  • Should the government tell us what to eat, or can other organizations do it as well or better? Where is this in the constitution?
  • Does the government have the right to tell non-government agencies that they have to perform abortions?
  • It is in the constitution.
  • The defense agencies may be doing things that are not sanctioned by the constitution.
  • The military may engage in things outside of its mission.

I would also suggest that the politicians who vote on it scrutinize every new bill. They in turn should be held responsible for what may go wrong because of it. Also the bills should have a self-destruct clause that requires it be reexamined to see if it is still necessary. I also suggest that the government adopt the same accounting principles as used by industry.

A case in point is in an article I read this morning on by Brian McNicoll. He reports that the government has it’s own weather bureau but almost everyone uses the weather channel. Why are we wasting money on government duplication that is better done by industry? The above is far from a complete list but I anticipate it will generate as much argument as I can handle.

Do you believe that high debt and spending by the government hurt the economy?

See results

© 2011 Don A. Hoglund


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    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Having worked in the government I know it is true about spending your budget.Government is also the only place where one is rewarded when something fails.There are some good people though despite the system.I don't think I ever met a government worker who likes the system.Thanks for commenting.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for publishing such an excellent article. I agree with all of your points.

      The problem with created giveaways is that you can rarely stop them. Every program instituted grows like a cancer. More and more people figure out how to get their nose in the taxpayers trough. People get addicted to the government teet.

      The other big problem is that bureaucracies are by nature self-perpetuating. They will spend ever dollar in their budget because not to do so will have them get less in the next budget. Since bureaucrats are employed by bureaucracies and no one votes for his own job to go away, they always find ways to "demonstrate" how needed their own program is. In fact, they spend a lot of taxpayer money doing just that, aside from their actual mandate.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for your comments. I fear politics would always get in the way.

    • profile image 6 years ago from upstate, NY

      dahoglund- Excellent suggestions my friend! I think this might work,there is a strong sentiment to return the government to its Constitutional limits. I believe that a renewed large scale effort needs to take place, to promote and educate poeple on the basics of the Constitution. Keep up the good Work-WBA

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting. The United states is in the process of political parties choosing candidates for the coming presidential elections. as a result politics is on peoples mind.Unemployment is high so the economics is a major issue for the elections.I am really not that political but it is the season for it, so to speak.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      My brother, thanks for showing me about this. I thought it seems almost happened with many countries where the government should cut the spending. There's a hot issue in my country about spending for "new government employees ". Sorry, I am not good enough in commenting about political issue. God bless you!


    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      You are right some of the founders were deist. You are also right that deists are not theologically strictly Christians. However, they still have their roots in Christianity.I've been a long time out of college so I would have to do a lot of reading to get up to speed to argue this further.They do mention God and the Creator and feel that it is necessary to acknowledge a higher being.Since I belong to a faith that was not particularly liked at that time, namely Roman Catholic I would not want a Protestant God to be specified. there was one catholic signer of the Constitution, I believe.People then believed we were out to have a Theocracy under the Pope, which was a bit silly. However, it was not dispelled until John Kennedy was elected.

      some of this boils down to what one means by a "christian nation."

      We are somewhat at cross purposes. I think our culture is Christian for and against. It is hard to understand American Literature without some familiarity with the King James Bible. See the religious motifs in our western movies.

    • Valentine Logar profile image

      Valentine Logar 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I suspect people are deadened to thinking, they have been anesthetized by reality television, talking heads and sound bites. Education is focused on passing tests not truly broadening the mind and expanding knowledge. We are in a sad state in this nation, truly.

      I do have to address one issue though, that is your second point and it is an important one. The framers of the Constitution were in large part Deists and Unitarians, not Christians, as the term is understood today. That is why you see no mention of God except in the dating of documents anywhere in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The one mention you do find, in the Declaration of Independence is as follows:

      'the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.--We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'

      This is a decidedly Deist statement focused on Natures God, not the Christian God or Jesus Christ, but a more broad term for a higher entity.

      Further to this, the nation was settled by those who were escaping persecution in Europe primarily for their religious beliefs. The Framers of the Constitution recognizing the problems of religion and government were clear in their intent, this can be found in many of their writings that there would be a clear 'wall of separation' between government and the church. Later this was spelled out even further in the Treaty of Tripoli, verbatim 'that we are not a Christian Nation'.

      Sorry, for going on about this. It is one of my hot buttons. I have written broadly about this issue in the past and debated on the issue in many forums. I do believe the Constitution is as relevant today as it was in the past; not a living document but a framework for how this nation defines itself.

      As for Christian Reconstructionist / Theocratic Dominist, they are a scary bunch. One of the best views of who they are was written in 1994. Still relevant today.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting.If these are your easy ones I don't know what your difficult ones would be. I'll try to answer as best I can.

      1.As far as applying the constitution verbatim,I am not sure that can ever be done. It is largely made up of principles which have to be applied. It seldom spells out details.

      2.I agree that we are not a Theocracy.I have no problems with a candidates religion. I would vote for the right candidate be they Christian, Jew, Atheist or some other religion.I don't know what a Christian re-constructionist is.The nation was formed by Christians largely on Christian principles. The constitution, I believe, is meant to prevent the government from controlling religion.It did not effect the state governments as the rule was for the federal government, not the states.

      3.I am not sure I can address the civil rights you mention as I am not sure what all it includes.

      4. I do have problems with the war on drugs and think a different approach is needed. It might be done like we did with alcohol by having it regulated.The California approach I don't think is good.

      5. You and I feel the constitution is relevant but it seems that many judges, educators and politicians do not think so and look for ways around it.

      I wrote this hub mostly with the hope that it would set some people thinking rather than actually expecting it to be applied. You have obviously thought about some of these issues and that is good.

    • Valentine Logar profile image

      Valentine Logar 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I don't believe the Constitution should be ignored either. However, I don't believe it can be applied verbatim to the issues of today. We have to be conscious of the world we live in, the changes brought about by technology and a global economy. These are critical to our analysis of what we need as a nation.

      Lets take the easy ones, shall we? Just a simple review would show us how far we have stepped out of sync with the intent of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. Most people want to pick and choose though.

      We are not a Theocracy, we were intended to be a Secular government respectful of each persons right to worship or not as they chose. No state religion, certainly not a Christian Nation. Certainly not a Christian Reconstructionist nation, yet here we are with two front runners in the Republican race both with deep ties in that group. Thousands of people in this nation believe we are indeed a Christian Nation and they are ready and willing to overturn history and the Constitution to prove it.

      Amendment 10 says all powers not delegated to the federal government or prohibited are specifically reserved respectively to the states and the people, yet we have civil rights for groups of people that are specifically prohibited due to their orientation (this is a religious issue quite frankly).

      We have a 'War on Drugs' that continues to create nothing but profit for the private prison industry and tear families apart. We now have three generations of mostly black and Latino men sharing the yards of prisons across this nation for crimes their white counter-parts get parole for.

      Is the Constitution relevant? Of course it is. Should we make it more relevant? Of course we should. It is the oldest Constitution still in place in the world, as we are the oldest Republic still somewhat on our legs. However, I still believe we have to first look at what has been done to it through active legislation from the bench - Citizen United is a great example of this, fix what is broken and then Amend it if necessary to make it relevant for the world we live in, perhaps starting with a Balanced Budget Amendment (sensible one).

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting.It worries me that the constitution is not even important in schools anymore.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I totally agree, dahoglund. If we don't like what the Constitution says, we should amend it, not just claim it means whatever we want it to mean.

      After all, it's not printed on rubber...yet!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting. Yes, the public has to become more aware.To a large extent our officials seem to have lost here way and forget why they are there in the first place. Many start out idealistically but get caught up in the Washington culture.They forget why they were elected in the first place.

    • kashannkilson profile image

      kashannkilson 6 years ago from Portland, OR

      Thanks for posting this Hub.

      The one thing that stands out to me is getting the public involved- bringing some transparency to the table. I would go so far as to say that for something like a "stimulus", it should go to a general vote. Let the people decide or at least have some input.

      How much confidence can you put in our elected officials (each side of the aisle is just as guilty) to control the government's money if they are all in the pocket of one special interest group or another?

      If your local police force was taking money in exchange for extra favor, heads would roll. But it's OK that Washington does business that way? Nonsense.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      That would be like "Mr. Smith goes To Washington' the old James Stewart film. Anyhow, I wouldn't have the stamina for it.In a way I am more interested in rule of law than common sense. The constitution is our rule of law but I am told it is old fashioned.Without the Constitution we have nothing to base our society on.I am writing more abou what should be the case, not what will be. The TV show Star Trek had a few good plots along this line.I don't know if I want a cowboy like Captain Kirk running things either.I do hope to make some people aware of the problems with big government and lack of respect for the constitution. Thanks for your comment.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I thinking that common sense and government don't mix. I think you need to run for office. Do you think you can whip them into shape. Your suggestions sound like you could.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I hold that the constitution is just as valid today as it was when it was first written. Much of our problems today are from ignoring the constitution by folks who think it is old fashioned. Yes, the world changes, but that is why there is a provision in the constitution to amend it.I also disagree with those who say it is a "living document" because that is their excuse for making it mean whatever they want it to mean. No, I do not think it is foolhardy to follow the constitution. the founders were wise because they wrote it in such a way that it could be amended for the time. We need a solid foundation for our society and that, I think, is the constitution.

      Thank you for commenting.

    • Valentine Logar profile image

      Valentine Logar 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Some of your suggestions are quite good and make great sense. The issue becomes of course, the Constitution was written when the nation was much smaller, the population smaller and the needs of the nation less. Now we have something much different and to rely entirely on what was defined by those wise men within the context of their times would be foolhardy of us.

      What we need is some thoughtful analysis of what is necessary for this nation to thrive, to be healthy and productive. What do we, as a nation, need to be competitive in a global economy? Who can best serve us in each critical area of growth and concern? These include infrastructure management, defense, education, economy, science and discovery, health and welfare, resource management and host of other things. Often we will find it is a partnership between public and private.

      You have some great ideas, engaging the people of this nation in the changes that must come is the first step.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks WB for commenting.I realize that my suggestions will not go over too well. government is too big to downsize. Sort of like companies being too big to fail or whatever it was. I do sort of hope people might think about if maybe somebody should be accountable for the mess.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      There you go applying common sense, DA. You know the government did away with it because it did not make sense and it was a real stickler to them when they were trying to perform their shenanigans If you look back through history, much of how we have come to be today has happened as a result of some dilemma or historic point in our history...for example Johnson's "Great Society" was the backside of the Civil Rights Movement. Roosevelt's programs were the backside of the depression. These were all points at which Americans were the most "receptive" to embracing change. Obama capitalizes on the same approach...making everything urgent and of the moment requiring an immediate decision. There is no time for thought and no thought is given. WB