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Monday, November 07, 2005

Quixote sounds like a salsa

I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package.

What is that, tu preguntas? Well, the details are here, at The Truth Laid Bear's porkbusters site. They're tracking fiscal discipline initiatives now. While "Pork" per se isn't the biggest problem in federal spending, the bill named above would save 130000000000$US over the next couple of years.

It could delay the end of our civilisation by three or four years, depending.

As quixotic a goal as fiscal discipline deserves some support. There's a good chance that significant spending cuts will be made soon, since the public temporarily wants that. However, we should not miss this opportunity to create structural reform in the budget process. By 'we' I mean politicians who have no incentive to do so except their own jaded principles.

I mean structural reform such as introducing the pay as you go system, or limiting spending to inflation and population growth, or making it a policy to outsource federal projects to private firms whenever possible.

I like the outsourcing method, as a bidding process *theoretically* causes the bidders to struggle to keep costs down. Currently, bureaucracies struggle to spend their entire budget so it won't be cut the following year. The unfortunate reality of government contracts is that they are usually awarded by pulling the winning contractor out of a hat, which encourages overbidding. This process is one of the few government shenanigan I mean systems where reform would be possible.

But don't take my word for it; whine to your congressman that spending needs to be cut. If you think it will help, tell him that you don't care about you local federally funded penguin art and multiculturalism center.

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