30 January 2012

15. Downsizing the Federal Government

Downsizing the Federal Government - Chris Edwards

Here is a book full of awesome ideas to fix problems our country is having. I love most of them and have for quite some time. I have voted for people who promoted these ideas for decades now. The problem is that those people wither failed to follow through or were blocked in their efforts. That does not mean I will change. I still vote this way.

Chris Edwards is an economist who works with the Cato Institute. That is a Washington DC think tank along the lines of the Brookings Institute and Heritage Foundation. The big difference is that Cato is not liberal or conservative. They are a mixture of both. They are pro free markets and also anti war with liberty being a huge factor. They are libertarian if you had to put a label on them. You can keep your Democrats and Republican die hard garbage. Neither party is right or does what they say they will do. I will vote with the guy who is closest to doing what Cato stands for every time, and that has been from different parties all my life.

I have been reading articles and content on the website Downsizing the Federal Government for years. The site is an offshoot of the same ideas displayed in the book. You don't have to read the book if you don't want. You can go the website and see the same ideas in a different format. You won't see as much depth or explanation, but maybe it is enough to get you to want to learn more.

There is a free ebook version of this book on that site. I had downloaded it a long time ago. This is exactly why having that free kindle is awesome. I just loaded it on that little gadget and took it with me when I went places. I was never going to sit in front of a computer and read this and I would not spend the money to buy a new print version when I have a stack of other printed books sitting here waiting to be read. So, the kindle allowed me to read this book.

I think it is awesome! I love these ideas. I totally believe that most of what Mr. Edwards say is absolutely the best course of action.

I found it funny when he was busting chops of politicians in the book. He slammed Newt Gingrich and George Bush a few times because they were supposed to be budget watching smaller government proponents and both did exactly the opposite when they got into a position to make a difference. I liked that.

He didn't slam Democrats much. Why? He explains that it is because they don't say they are going to make government smaller and therefore can not fail to live up to that expectation. He just plain old disagrees with their philosophy of what government is and should be doing...just like I do. He did give a few Democrats some props though. He mentioned a few that actually did push a limited government agenda. He mentioned Paul Douglas, an Illinois Senator from 1949-1967, who was a harsh critic of government waste while also a champion for civil rights. Another guy was William Proxmire, Senator from Wisconsin from 1957-1989, the inventor of the "golden fleece" award for the biggest tax-payer ripoffs each month.

Anyway, promoting the ideas are what this book is really about. Stuff like cutting Defense, Education, Energy, HHS, HUD, Transportation, Labor and many other departments where there is wasteful, duplicated or obsolete programs. He is a proponent of privatization of much of what the federal government controls.

He suggests we sell assets; make discretionary spending cuts; make entitlement spending cuts (don't freak out, it is not what you are told by the fear-monger people); make 10 year budget plans; hammer waste and then hammer is some more; attack government fraud and abuse; erase duplicate programs across different agencies; eliminate obsolete, ineffective and chronically mismanaged programs; reform government bureaucracy; enact Congressional term limits; reign in the special interest spending and lobbying; eliminate corporate welfare; deal with economically damaging programs; freedom limiting programs; socially damaging programs; environmentally damaging programs; correct the size and scope of federal grants for all kinds of things; privatizing stand-alone businesses such as postal services and passenger rail services; privatizing infrastructure; tax reform!; budget process reforms; and so on and so on....

Mr. Edwards goes into specific examples of each category he brings up. He explains why he has his opinion and what he would do to fix a problem. If you want to see those details you will undoubtedly have to read the book, or at least the website.

I loved it.

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