Blueprint for America’s Comeback

A Pro-Growth Plan of Action for Jobs, Competitiveness, Freedom and Opportunity for Virginia

PART 3:
Reining in the Over-Reaching, Over-Spending Federal Government

With the national debt at $14 trillion and growing at an alarming rate, America urgently needs to take control of our financial destiny. By restoring American competitiveness and unleashing our energy resources, the Blueprint for America’s Comeback will help by bringing in new revenues, but runaway spending must also be brought under control.

The federal government’s exploding debt is a national crisis and action needs to be taken now. No one outside Washington believes that the federal government is spending our money as carefully as it should. The Blueprint for America takes aim at wasteful spending, duplicative programs, and the federal government’s growing bureaucracy, including the President’s unelected, unaccountable Czars. It reverses the excesses of the Obama Administration, rolling spending back to 2008 levels and repealing and replacing Obamacare. It starts the process of improving Medicare to save the program for current and future seniors, and it begins to transfer power from Washington back to the people in the States, respecting the proper constitutional balance of power.

Most important, the Blueprint for America’s Comeback will change the way Washington does business. Only with a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment will the American people know that Congress can never again return to the free-spending ways that have put us on the current dangerous and unsustainable path that is threatening our nation’s creditworthiness.

  • Change the way Washington does business by imposing the discipline of a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment. A top priority needs to be sending to the States for ratification a Balanced Budget Amendment with taxpayer protection provisions on taxes and limiting spending to 19 percent of GDP, as well as line-item veto authority to give the President the same tool Governors use to cut wasteful spending out of larger bills. Binding Congress through the Constitution will finally and permanently get our country off its collision course with rapidly escalating debt.
  • Enact the Paycheck Penalty Act so Congress can no longer hold taxpayers hostage with threats of shutdowns and pork-filled continuing resolutions. Just like a business – if Congress fails to complete work on annual appropriations bills on time, they won’t get paid until the job is done.
  • Ban earmarks until the federal government has a Balanced Budget. Then, require a two-thirds vote for any earmark going forward.
  • Pursue Government Management Reforms similar to those recommended by the Blue Ribbon Strike Force in Virginia. George Allen’s Blue Ribbon Strike Force helped identify and cut waste and right-size State government. The Blueprint targets similarly wasteful practices in the federal government.
    • Sell unneeded and unused surplus federal property, recognize we are in the Internet age and eliminate wasteful printing and publications across the federal government, cut back the federal government’s fleet of vehicles and civilian aircraft and control to make certain those that remain in the fleet are used only for legitimate business purposes and when most cost-effective.
  • Stop the expansion of bureaucracy with a government-wide hiring freeze (except for combat troops). While the private sector has lost 6.7 million jobs since January 2008, the federal government has added 116,000 net new employees. Use attrition to reduce the federal workforce; any freeze should be managed at a governmentwide rather than an agency level, leaving discretion to prioritize personnel decisions.
    • No automatic pay increases for Members of Congress or federal employees. Enlist federal workers as partners in cutting government spending — as a financial incentive to save taxpayer money, they would be eligible to share savings if targets are exceeded through a one-time bonus.
  • Reverse the excesses of the Obama Administration.
    • Roll back discretionary spending to FY 2008 levels, before the bailouts, before the stimulus, and before Obamacare.
    • Eliminate the unelected, unconfirmed, unaccountable “Czars” and new regulators.
    • Suspend automatic spending for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) pending Supreme Court review of its constitutionality; and eliminate any and all remaining unspent stimulus funding.
  • Repeal Obamacare and replace it with portable, affordable health insurance, including options for personalized Health Savings Accounts. Americans do not want the federal government running their health care.
  • Recognizing that Medicare taxes and premiums cover only a little more than half the program’s actual cost, make needed improvements to preserve Medicare for current and future seniors and protect the program from going broke.
    • As a first step, root out the $50 billion a year Medicare wastes through improper and fraudulent payments (half a trillion over a decade) and use Medicare savings for Medicare.
    • Ensure no disruption in benefits for those at or near retirement. More than 1.1 million Virginians depend on Medicare; they need to know that their health care is secure.
    • Provide seniors with personal control, not government control, over health care choices. Apply the tested principles of individual responsibility, competition and choice to improve quality and reduce costs for the Medicare program.
    • Adopt proper protocols with health care professionals and States to reduce costs associated with the practice of defensive medicine and medical liability.
  • Free the States to be the laboratories of democracy our Founders intended. During George Allen’s service as Governor, Virginia took over the federal government’s bloated, initiative-sapping welfare program, transformed it to reflect Virginia values of work and individual responsibility, saved taxpayers money and put people on the path of leading independent, self-reliant lives. Other federal programs are ripe for similar transformation.
    • Medicaid is a shared program, but federal mandates frustrate State efforts to control costs, as in the case of Virginia being forced to undo $460 million in planned savings. Transforming Medicaid into a block grant run by the State could save approximately $95 billion a year while delivering more effective care.
    • Spending almost doubled between 2008 and 2010 for the food stamp program. Block granting food stamps to the States would allow integration with their welfare programs.

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