Saturday, September 04, 2010

Advise on Fiscal Discipline

Roger Kimball lists some things the Federal government could do without, specifically "the two National Endowments, the one for the Arts (so-called) and the one for the Humanities;" the Department of Education (especially after this); and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I actually disagree in part--the National Endowment for the Arts performs one useful function: insuring loaned art that would otherwise make traveling art exhibits impossibly expensive. But I endorse Kimball's other ideas.

Pre-blog, I once made this suggestion: there are 15 Cabinet-level departments of the Executive Branch, plus the EPA (which is nearly that rank), along with literally hundreds of "independent" agencies. Write the name of each department and agency--exempting only the Department of Defense--on a ping pong ball, and put all the balls in a randomizing lottery machine. Every September 30th (the end of the fiscal year), draw one ball--the agency listed gets zero-budgeted. If, within a year, if the majority of the electorate misses the agency, it's restored; if not, it's terminated. Regardless, next September 30th, draw another ball.

Impractical? Sure! But it's more "fiscally responsible" than Obama's budgets.

(via Instapundit)


Joseph Somsel said...

Here in California I've long recommended saving $500 million a year by disbanding the California Energy Commission.

This agency, created by then governor Jerry Brown, has yet to make ANY energy in over 40 years of existance but has done a whole bunch to PREVENT energy development and to drive up Californians' energy bills.

Carl said...

Joseph: I might first get rid of the California Coastal Commission, but I agree that Arnold also should terminate the CEC:

"[F]or generations, California -- and its utility hostile, borderline socialist, California Public Utilities Commission -- regulated energy from cloud-cuckoo land, without regard to market economics. Population and power consumption rose, but bureaucrats -- aided by Hollywood airheads -- blocked building new gas terminals and nuclear plants, imagining instead that costly "green power" renewables could fill the gap. The state froze retail prices while underlying energy costs skyrocketed and blocked long-term energy supply contracts, forcing one of the two largest utility companies into bankruptcy."

Yet, back in early 2008, I agreed with your overall point, but thought you might have been a bit too harsh on their proposal to require "programmable communicating thermostats."