Free speech restrictions on social media could squash harm reduction and addiction recovery efforts
Congress is hell-bent on a spooky spending spree
It is not the ghosts and goblins that taxpayers should be worried about as Halloween approaches, but rather the frighteningly high amount of spending that is growing like weeds on Capitol Hill. While there is song and celebration for trillions of dollars in spending, the ghost of government waste is lurking, which is apparent in the 2021 Prime Cuts report, and CAGW's 2021 Tricks and Treats list.
The current national debt of $28.9 trillion is set to grow at a record pace to $41.2 trillion by fiscal year (FY) 2031, and that does not account for the proposed infrastructure bills that could total as much as $7 trillion. The fiscal morass is being made even worse through the abusive spending habits of members of Congress, who are like pigs feeding at the trough, acting like a bunch of boars and sows chewing on the earmark gravy train now that the moratorium on this corrupt, costly, and inequitable practice has been lifted.
Since March 2020, Congress has allocated $5.7 trillion on various COVID-19 relief packages, with at least $1 trillion yet to be spent. It is time to not only take a surgical pause before digging further into taxpayers' pocketbooks, but it may also be time to simply stop this process altogether. Imagine if Victor Frankenstein had done that - double checking before sticking a criminal brain into his creation. Would the monster have been half as scary?
Even with $1 trillion in unobligated funds still available from the pandemic relief packages, they are demanding that taxpayers fork up another $1.2 trillion for the bipartisan infrastructure package, and at least another $3.5 trillion (with some estimates of $5.5 trillion or more) for President Biden's "human" infrastructure package. And the president says all this spending will be "free." Such magical thinking is being echoed throughout his Cabinet and by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). None of these proponents of new and excessive spending has said a word about cutting government waste. One would think that at least one of the 580 recommendations that will save $380 billion in one year and $4 trillion over five years would be of interest, at least those that Joe Biden supported when he was vice president.
For example, the Obama-Biden administration routinely recommended cutting funds for the Community Development Block Program because "the demonstration of outcomes [is] difficult to measure and evaluate." The administration also recommended in its FY 2012 budget that the Denali Commission in Alaska should be terminated. Then there is the Market Access Program, a prime example of corporate welfare that gives profitable companies and trade associations money to advertise their goods overseas. The Obama-Biden administration's FY 2012 budget suggested there should be a 20 percent cut in the MAP budget. The Heritage Partnership Program was the target of budget cuts in every one of the Obama-Biden budgets. And perhaps the Biden-Harris administration could close, consolidate, or sell at least one of the nearly 17,000 warehouses, 16,570 parking lots and garages, 5,066 bathrooms, 2,427 schools, 1,500 prisons, and 766 hospitals that were identified as federal real property by the General Services Administration in December 2017, as required by the Federal Real Property Management Act signed into law by President Obama one year earlier.
Instead of considering a single penny of the cuts he fought for as vice president, Joe Biden is doing absolutely nothing to reduce spending. In fact, he has not even mentioned "government waste" in anything he has said since he was sworn into office.
At a time when the nation is facing the continued fiscal impact of the pandemic, including 10 million job openings, this is not the time to vastly expand the welfare state and enable even more people to sit at home and become more dependent on the federal government. And the programs that are being proposed are incredibly wasteful. There is really no need to spend $2.25 billion for a new Civilian Climate Corps, which will amount to little more than individuals being paid to pick up trash along the highways and telling people the climate is changing.
As Congress moves forward with the "infrastructure" bills and the regular agency budgets during the remainder of 2021, there must be a full accounting to the American people before the House and Senate vote to use their tax dollars to pay for all these various new programs. They cannot be taken seriously if they can't find a penny of savings to offset this unprecedented expansion of the size, scope, and power of the federal government.
Deborah Collier is vice president of Policy and Government Affairs at CAGW.