Leadership starts at the top

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Next I’d turn to the nearly three million federal employees. We can either cut positions or we can all agree to take a 5 percent across-the-board pay deduction. It will save the American public about $10 billion, and everyone gets to keep their jobs. I’m suggesting another $1 billion saved from frugal efforts by cutting things like conference costs to office supplies and travel.

In 2010, the Simpson Bolwes National Commission to reform government brought forth a plan that was not acted upon. I would instruct the heads of our 22 civilian and military departments to look at those recommendations and surgically trim their expenditure, not to include any staff reductions, but to trim 2 percent from other expenses, which should save about $48 billion.

Over the years, we’ve repeatedly piled programs on top of pre-existing ones. We should begin today to identify these programs with an estimated goal of cutting $25 billion through the elimination of and merging of certain agencies.

We must put Social Security and Medicare at the top of our lists to ensure their sustainability while reducing costs.

Last year, more than two dozen Fortune 500 companies paid zero federal income tax, short changing the country by $20 billion. We must put an end to corporate welfare and preferential tax deals.

Every American over age 18 must have a financial stake in our country, and I would propose a minimum citizen tax of $250 or about $4.80 a week. For each person over 18 years of age, if you’ve paid nothing into the system, the government will deduct $250 from your refund (benefit) check. That will raise $28 billion.

With all Americans citizens and corporations now having a vested interest in our country, we can create a new culture to rein in costs and once again create a promising opportunity to the future generations.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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