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Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentGovernment · 1 decade ago

What would you do to stop wasteful government spending in Washington?

Update:

Yahoo! Answers Staff Note: Watch a video of John McCain discussing government spending.

http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=f32b3ab85714...

Update 2:

Yahoo! Answers Staff note: Yahoo! Answers is a forum for people from all over the world to engage with one another and to find information on topics that interest them. This is not an endorsement. We are not siding with any candidate or party -- in general or for the 2008 US elections. We’re hopeful that people from all perspectives will realize the great insights that the Answers community can have, and will turn to us for future discussions.

Update 3:

Yahoo! Answers staff note: Read Sen. John McCain’s own response to the Yahoo! Answers community. http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-d8pH0dcoRKeB12yOcnU...

16,740 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Reward federal agencies for coming in under budget and STOP punishing them for saving money. Right now, if a group in the federal government does not spend all the money allotted in the budget for that year, they lose the money and they are further punished by having their budget reduced by that amount the following year. This flawed practice only encourages them to spend any excess monies at the end of the fiscal year to avoid having that money taken away and not getting the same budget the following year. I have personally seen millions and millions of dollars spent every year on things that are not necessarily needed just to zero the account by the end of the year. Why not reward them by letting them carry that money over to the next year and not cut the budget the following year. If over a period of three years, the budget is still not being spent, then reduce the overage by only 50%. We need to encourage agencies to be good stewards of our tax dollars, and stop punishing them for not spending everything that was allotted them that year.

  • 1 decade ago

    A complex question and difficult to answer in yahoo answers. What is required however, is priority budgeting. Where do our priorities lie? This is where special interests get involved and this is where wasteful spending arises. I would develop a "Essential Spending" list through bi-partisan participation. Health, education, National defense etc... Secondly, I would then examine how each of theses conduct business and ask the hard questions (those would be the common sense variety questions no one ever asks) Do we really need to spend $25.00 for a water can that can be purchased at the local hardware store for $12.50? or whatever it might be. A list of special interest projects would follow and again, I would examine how they conduct business or spend the funds they ask for. If the government is funding "The Arts" at say three million and two of those million dollars goes to pay the director of the projects wages, then we have to ask why?

    I guess the bottom line is, there are many ways to eliminate wasteful spending. I think it just requires a sincere desire to accomplish the task.

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  • Dave W
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Eliminate the pork-barrel items snuck into a bill at 3 am the day of the vote because the author knows they would cause an uproar if anyone saw them. Require spending bills to be posted on the Internet for at least 72 hours before a vote. That will give all members and the public a chance to scour them and detect the pork-barrel items before they're passed.

    Require bills to stick to a single topic and related items. Do not allow, for example, funding for a ranching museum in Wyoming to be attached to funding for hurricane relief in Florida. Way too many unworthy expenditures get through because they are attached to unrelated high-priority bills that need to be passed quickly. If an expenditure is not sufficiently important to pass on its own merits, it shouldn't be approved.

    Eliminate the "whip" position...or better yet eliminate the political parties entirely. That would let us get back to the way the founders intended it to be - where the representatives/senators represent the people of their district/state and vote accordingly rather than voting based on how the party leaders and "whips" tell them to vote. If every member was allowed to vote independently, a whole lot less wasteful spending would get passed and we'd get much better laws.

    Make backroom deals unethical and punishable or, better yet, illegal. Of course, details of a related package of items needs to be negotiable, but "I'll only vote for your bill if you vote for my totally unrelated bill" kinds of deals should be banned.

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  • 1 decade ago

    First, I would cut off matching funds for presidential candidates. Since when does the government have to support those who wish to run for office? It is a real waste of taxpayers hard earned dollars. Who instituted this mess and how can we get rid of it?

    Secondly, I believe that all elected officials should not have staff members who do little or nothing but sit and collect a pay check while figuring out what to do with their gains. All too often they are relatives or someone's offspring that the official owed a favor.

    Thirdly, elected officials should not be able to vote themselves a raise at the last minute before a session ends. This amounts to robbery and they should be more accountable for their actions. Take a pay cut, the rest of us do everytime the cost of living goes up due to rising fuel prices or inflation.

    Vote them out? Oh please. The electoral system has been so hampered by those who have abused it for so long. What happened to the popular vote? IF the electoral college was abolished maybe we could get responsible people back in office.

    One man one vote.

    Fourth, Return respect to our Veterans. Now that most of the Viet Nam Era veterans are getting to their 50's - 70's it's time to turn their service time into something more tangible like a check based on the time they served not the ending rank when they retired. Those who only did a minimum tour should be rewarded with a one time tax free lump sum, say a dollar per day for each year served. Those who retired should not have to pay any taxes on their pay. Give us a break for a change. Haven't we proven ourselves enough?

    Fifth, Remove those offices that are no longer needed like the Bureau of Rural Electrification. It's the 21st century if they don't have electricity by now they really didn't want it to begin with.

    Sixth, The United States should no longer be the World's police. It's time to bring home the troops. Let the United Nations supply their own troops. Let them pay for all the troubles they can't seem to quell by words alone. Since sanctions don't work, maybe the UN should be disbanded. That's some prime New York riverfront property. I'm sure that no rent is paid for that nice building.

    Lastly, Review all government contracts for outrageous costs. I worked for a contractor who was charging the government $25 per hour for labor but paying their employees $12.50. A 100% markup. Gee if the common man tried that he'd be arrested for profiteering. The lowest bidder? And donkeys fly!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Since there is always someone who thinks that a particular government program is NOT wasteful, we must force Congress to prioritize. The simplest way to do that is to impose a spending cap -- no exceptions. Every year the cap goes up with the rate of inflation (plus, perhaps, the population growth of the country). Balanced budget amendments don't work. You'll just raise taxes.

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  • Mr. McCain,

    The general public does not know the budget process, line items, emergency spending, supplemental bills. Nor do they know how Budget and Appropriations work, as well as Controlling Boards and the Finance Committee process. To many Americans, the Congressional Budget process is a shadow government that tells us the spending priorities, even though we vote you in office. We are left to the media telling us outrageous results, that often dents congressional credibility to the overall public. We are not involved in the decision making process. I think Congressional offices should send out official mail survey responses on government spending and priorities, then provide the results. The final product should look like our understanding of the issues. If they do not, congress should be held to task and then the media should be held to task by congress, we can't do both. Lastly, show us the numbers that sustains congress. What is the budget for your health care and what do you get from tax payer dollars? Is it better than the people you represent? What are the congressional perks the institution provides? How much does this cost the tax payers? Congress should provide leadership and make sacrifices before their consistiuencies, if not, then we have a bunch of kings and queens. Surely, this would not have been the idea of the founding Fathers of this Republic.

    Source(s): Informed voter.
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  • Andy
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    A Balanced budget will force a tax for every expenditure, and force a drop in taxes for every cut in government programs; the carrot of slashing wasteful spending.

    Privacy protection will enforce equality so that the government can neither tax nor benefit any individual or group differently than another. Politicians will lose their power to manipulate the people to support wasteful pork barrel spending, because there no special interest group or faction can benefit from it more than any other person or group.

    Those two will stop wasteful government spending, but until then the FairTax (HR25/SR25) together with any simple balanced budget proposal are a good transitional start. Under the FairTax, a tax breakdown of the top five categories and the amounts collected for each would go a long way in educating the people concerning the true burden of government on the major levels and in heightening an interest in reducing that burden.

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  • 1 decade ago

    A start would be this, although the exact numbers would need to be worked out. These numbers are for illustration.

    Except for times of war or declared emergency the following would hold.

    The budget can not exceed the intake by more than 5%. For every % over the 5%, Congressman would lose an equal % of their pay up to 25%.

    So if the budget was 20% higher than the intake, Congressional pay would be reduced by 15%. Also, in any year this happens, pay would be frozen so they didn't just give themselves a raise to cover the difference.

    As I say the numbers need to be worked so that it does hurt them in the pocket book most years. This would at least make Congressman take a serious look at these budgets and eliminate as much of the waste as can be found.

    The second idea is a simple one. No department or program can have a continuous budget. At least every five years, programs like welfare and social security have to be reintroduced and passed fresh. If not, they expire. Again, this would force Congress to look at each program.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Having worked for the government and being married to someone who is approaching 50 years working for Uncle Sam, we have seen a lot waste.

    The biggest waste of time is all the mandates (also known as CR--) Congress passes. Apparently in an attempt to make themselves appear busy in indespensible, they pass conflicting legislation.

    Congressmen (or their staff) need to know the rules and regulations before they send out "Congressionals" demanding immediate response from the agency. Often the very regulation the Congressman is inquiring about is some bit of legislation they themselves sponsored and passed. My husband spends 40% of his work time some pay periods answering these inquiries. He wishes he could respond, "Read the legislation you helped sponsor and pass."

    And whoever thought government could do more with less individuals.....hahaha! The only way to cut the staff is to cut the garbage coming from Washington and let the agencies do their job!

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  • Bear
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    There is only one solution. Career politicians all need to be voted out (of course the majority of people do not vote!) Accountability needs to be the key, and if the money is not already there, it shouldn't be spent. This country will be in big trouble because of an increasing debt. No more lobbyist, no more two party system, a simple way to vote, no more political contributions, equal press time for ALL candidates

    Ego and power, and self interest is what is controlling this country, not what is in the best interest for the people. The people in Washington have not had to struggle to work for the basics in life, and have absolutely no perception of the common person trying to work a fair days pay for a fair days work, and paying the fair share of taxes for benefits for all people, not just a limited group.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Personally I'd vote out all of the Republicans. The Democrats no longer deserve their reputation for being big spenders. Republicans spend far more money and do it far more irresponsibly. The fact that it's borrowed money rather than tax money doesn't make it better. It makes it worse, because sooner or later that money is going to have to come from somewhere. The current administration doesn't even have a plan for repaying it other than, "It will be someone else's problem." If you can find a way to turn that trend around, there might be some hope for your party, but otherwise I will vote against every Republican candidate because it's the most intelligent and responsible way to vote.

    If you're serious about cutting spending, then don't let any brainless loose cannon President start another war just on a whim or for personal revenge. Do what any sensible person would do with his own money and don't spend money you don't have. If the taxpayers aren't willing to pay more taxes to support your causes, take that as a not-so-subtle hint that they don't agree with how you're spending their money.

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