Sweat the small stuff

Budgetary responsibility could be possible, one minor cut at a time

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Remember the 1993 movie Dave? Kevin Kline's character, masquerading as the president, sneaks his accountant friend into the Oval Office to help balance the entire federal budget -- which they accomplish through a slew of nickel-and-dime nips and tucks.

A recent report, titled "Toward Common Ground," reads much like that.

Often -- but not often enough -- lawmakers grab whips and chairs to try taming the big budget monsters, like bloated entitlements. But further substantial savings can be realized by chipping away at comparatively smaller projects.

That's the advice from the two strange bedfellows that collaborated on the report: the Ralph Nader-spawned U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the fiscally hawkish National Taxpayers Union.

The advice? Spend less -- and when you do , spend more intelligently. A whopping $354 billion can be saved just by reforming inefficient contract and acquisition procedures; remember the legendary $437 Pentagon hammer from the 1980s?

Also, cut programs you don't need, and improve the ones you want to keep. From the report: By recalibrating payments to cover actual costs for Medicare's graduate medical education program, $22 billion can be saved.

Eyeing the big picture is good, but minding the smaller brushstrokes will paint a better budgetary landscape for the government. Congress should heed the best parts of this new report.

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dichotomy
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dichotomy 11/23/10 - 11:25 pm
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All of this assumes that our

All of this assumes that our Congress has a clue about where the money they appropriate actually goes. They don't. The budget basically is put together like Obamacare. Staffers in back rooms slap some numbers on a few thousand pages of a spreadsheet and then the representatives, who have never looked at the thing, take a vote on it. It's called an out of control government and we have it. You want your representative to start looking at the buget? Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment and I guarantee they will start paying attention to where the money goes.

justus4
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justus4 11/24/10 - 01:12 am
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The budget for the FBI/CIA
Unpublished

The budget for the FBI/CIA have unknown amounts associated with their secret missions called "Black Ops." (No one known their true costs) Close 1/2 of the 137 military bases around the world; Stop the defense contracts to a representative's district and lay off those workers; Get rid of the Bush-created-monsters of the TSA and Homeland Security; Shut down NASA and sell parts of our interstate tolls roads; Increase the age for Soc Sec to 69 and stop the 3 billion each annually in foreign aid to Egypt and Israel; Freeze the pay of SES, active duty general officers and GS 09-13s and COLA. U think any of these costs will be reduced - No! Our government is being run by special interests/lobbyists and the (D)s and (R)s are just their puppets. So, it's not gonna be pretty for many citizens and their anger will be on display for all to see.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 11/24/10 - 02:17 am
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someone should forward this

someone should forward this to fred russell...

GGpap
528
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GGpap 11/24/10 - 03:12 am
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Another rare one for the AC!

Another rare one for the AC! A calm, sensible suggestion for dealing with the problem of governmental overspending. Good job!

GGpap

GGpap
528
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GGpap 11/24/10 - 03:16 am
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Unfortunately, the folks that

Unfortunately, the folks that should be reading this article (AND the responses posted on this thread) will be out on the golf course playing a foursome with their favorite lobbyists.

GGpap

gijoe7898
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gijoe7898 11/24/10 - 03:41 am
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well retired army, like the

well retired army, like the old saying goes, "be part of the solution or get the hell out of the way."

i think you should step aside and let the rest of us see through what we started 2 Nov 2010. only a liberal would scoff at rational money saving ideas.

Techfan
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Techfan 11/24/10 - 04:53 am
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Let's see how quick the

Let's see how quick the Republicans scoff at rational money saving ideas such as eliminating the F-35 (partially built and assembled in Texas).

orgpsych
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orgpsych 11/24/10 - 04:54 am
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Joe, you seem to think that

Joe, you seem to think that what happened 2 Nov is a solution. How deluded.

Those new faces will be just as corrupted as the old faces in 2 years.

Most people look for the simplest solutions ... the big cuts that will solve everything and take the attention off of the other parts of the problem. The real solution is almost never that easy. The "small strokes" referred to here are the ways that we will get lasting reform. The way is not and never will be easy, but it has to be done eventually.

Good editorial.

carcraft
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carcraft 11/24/10 - 06:27 am
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There is an old saying,

There is an old saying, "watch the pennies and the dollars take care of themsleves". Tech and Retired army, it is interesting you bring up Halliburton but leave out Brown and Root..You are worried about the cost of the Iraq war we can't do any thing about that, the money is spent, but don't give a tinkers damn about the billions upon billions that are going to be wasted in Obama care.

Mad Hatter
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Mad Hatter 11/24/10 - 08:05 am
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Retired Army. When was their

Retired Army. When was their a "lie induced war with Iran."

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/24/10 - 08:15 am
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Mad Hatter, I wasn't going to

Mad Hatter, I wasn't going to say a word. Heh.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/24/10 - 08:23 am
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There is no bigger conflict

There is no bigger conflict of interest in the history of this country than the Obama-General Electric union. GE gets bailout money for anything under the sun. Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, is Obama's advisor and meets with the White House staff almost daily. Of course, MSNBC owned by GE, carries Obama's approved messages as well as Pravda used to carry the Soviet official line.

Techfan
6464
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Techfan 11/24/10 - 08:24 am
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car: From '62-'07, KBR WAS

car: From '62-'07, KBR WAS Haliburton. What's your point?

justthefacts
35095
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justthefacts 11/24/10 - 08:50 am
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Funny, Haliburton was awarded

Funny, Haliburton was awarded a $600 million, no-bid contract just this year by the Obama admin.

Techfan
6464
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Techfan 11/24/10 - 09:05 am
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So when Issa investigates

So when Issa investigates this, will he go back to Cheney and investigate those as well?

robaroo
929
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robaroo 11/24/10 - 10:16 am
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Excellent editorial.

Excellent editorial. Sweating the small stuff is important. Unfortunately, the US spends the bulk of it's income on the military, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and paying interest on the debt we already have. None of those fall into the category of "small stuff".

People are completely addicted to the deficit spending. Whoever makes significant cuts will not be reelected. Don't expect the Republicans or Democrats to take a leadership role is saving us from bankruptcy. All they will do is blame each other for the mess.

chascush
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chascush 11/24/10 - 11:09 am
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Retired Army, ‘And all those

Retired Army, ‘And all those no-bid contracts to Haliburton in the runup to the lie induced war with Iran?’
Thanks for pointing out the no-bid contracts with Haliburton. The Clinton administration signed a deal with Haliburton where they had no-bid contract to support the military in case of an emergency.

dani
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dani 11/24/10 - 12:42 pm
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The reason they give for

The reason they give for giving the contracts is that there are no other company that can handle such an enormous project. Some companies don't want the hassle so refuse to bid, like it or not Haliburton is ALL we have.

follower
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follower 11/24/10 - 12:49 pm
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Re: No bid contracts In

Re: No bid contracts

In reality, there are few companies that are qualified to handle the scope and size of projects that Haliburton does. When a reporter trying to make a name for him/her self is bent on finding something to second guess, they control the ink and the microphone, and therefore the content of the message. It's relatively easy to slant a news article and create an issue when one doesn't exist. [No, I do not own Haliburton stock or have an agenda]

The $437 hammer: Regularly, engineering firms and companies are requested to build a "one off" product, or low production product, to fill a very specific need. The cost of engineering and tooling is extremely expensive and must be recovered per item. Of course, we never receive the "whole" story concerning those items.

Is there waste, no question. Can we save millions from addressing many of those issues? Yes. But it seems we all give information sound bites too much credibility.

#1 it takes a desire to address the waste #2 it requires hard decisions be make #3 it would help if those in the position to enact these changes had actually owned a successful business, or at least had a job.

On #1 and #2, they don't seem to have the desire or guts to do so.
#3, few qualify, including the POTUS.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 11/24/10 - 12:56 pm
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Rudy Giuliani wanted to clean

Rudy Giuliani wanted to clean up New York City so he started with scrubbing away the graffiti, sweeping the streets, cracking down on shoplifting and strong arm robberies, and limiting the areas for panhandlers. As the little stuff was taken care of, the big stuff began to be handled as less of it took place.
This wonderful example of management shouldn't be ignored just because it doesn't embrace the foolishness of political correctness.

ameliaf
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ameliaf 11/24/10 - 03:31 pm
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Very good editorial and

Very good editorial and thanks.

Johnston.cliff, your comment at 11:56 is great. I think we start whereever we are and with even the small stuff and our thinking starts changing, too.

Interesting reading is on the web site of the Citizens Against Government Waste - read their pig book.

Chillen
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Chillen 11/24/10 - 06:51 pm
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Executive order will kill any

Executive order will kill any budget work that Congress tries to implement (assuming that they do anything at all). Our executive branch is out of control. Too much power centered around one individual regardless of political leanings is a very bad thing.

gijoe7898
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gijoe7898 11/24/10 - 11:52 pm
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orgpysch>> Joe, you seem to

orgpysch>> Joe, you seem to think that what happened 2 Nov is a solution. How deluded"

how dare you resort to shallowness and untruth. my post is right above yours.

"and let the rest of us see through what we started 2 Nov 2010."

The key word is "what we STARTED". It doesn't read "what we SOLVED..."

If you are so resigned to our government never improving, I'm not sorry for you, I've no time for that. What happened 2 Nov was optimism and folks getting the message across that we are awake, watching and will hold them all accountable. Dem or Rep.

If you've been following current events lately, or more to the point, FNC, you'd hear about Senators up for re-election in 2 years. D & R's are concerned. The movement is here. Get on board or get the hell out of the way.

Little Lamb
56925
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Little Lamb 11/25/10 - 12:42 am
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Riverman1 wrote: There is no

Riverman1 wrote:

There is no bigger conflict of interest in the history of this country than the Obama-General Electric union. GE gets bailout money for anything under the sun. Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, is Obama's advisor and meets with the White House staff almost daily. Of course, MSNBC owned by GE, carries Obama's approved messages as well as Pravda used to carry the Soviet official line.

I never saw it until Riverman posted it here. Absolutely true! Obama wants wind power and GE conveniently makes wind turbines. Obama bails out the financial industry and GE's worst-performing sector recovers.

I nominate Riverman's post as Post of the Month for November!

gijoe7898
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gijoe7898 11/25/10 - 02:15 am
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Liberalism achieves the exact

Liberalism achieves the exact opposite of its stated intent.

These people aren't interested in "Green". No more than Al Gore, who ignored his "The Oceans are gonna rise, The Oceans are gonna rise!" long enough to buy a $8.75 million ocean front mansion.

Anyone notice the Chicago Climate Exchange closed 22 Oct? It was the sham behind global warming, to be the middle man to buy and sell "carbon credits".

From a global warming perspective, lets imagine the millions of tons of steel that will have to be produced and transported. Carbon, oh no. Hundreds of miles of METAL electrical cable, sheathed in petroleum derived plastic, to tie into the grid. The coal or gas power plants that still have to be built to pick up the slack when the wind is not enough or too much.

And don't forget enviromental impact. Float those things off shore? Whoa, it's got to affect some unknown fish specie. What about migratory birds?

Electric cars? The darling of enviro types. They want a world of electric vehicles. Do they understand where the power comes from? Same people who complain about tree harvesting and live in wooden houses.

The whole enviro movement is a scam. Don't confuse it with most people's natural tendency to protect the wonderful resources we have.

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