Budget 2012

President Obama has responded to the demands of Congress and the media, giving his blueprint for spending for the next 12 years.  He calls for cuts in the projected growth of it, he wants the military to tighten its belt a little, and he would like for the rich to pay more in taxes.

I guess it’s fine that the President has a vision regarding government spending.  This might especially be true for Obama who occasionally gets accused of being reluctant to take a stand (look how often he simply voted “present” when in the Illinois state legislature, etc.).  But I think I would be okay if he only spoke in generalities on this issue.  Congress is supposed to pass budget bills; the President–constitutionally speaking–is only required to sign ’em or veto ’em.  If he’s going to write them, too, then maybe Congress should just go home.  I think I would be okay with it if he just offered some general ideas about what he would accept and what he wouldn’t.

Moving on from that, the raising of taxes on the rich is apparently popular with voters, according to the Washington Post, but it is interesting that Obama couldn’t push this through when his Democrats controlled both Houses.  What’s to be gained by talking about it now?  Also, since the unemployment situation is still pretty bad, do we want to cut into the profits of people in a position to do the hiring?

Here’s a blueprint for the future:

1. Term limit our Members of Congress, so they won’t throw money at constituencies just to win votes.

2. Offer no retirement benefits to any incoming Members of Congress–let them truly be public servants.  But we would still need to pay for current Members.  You have to honor the rules set for those who are already there.  Would you want your pension yanked after it had been promised to you when you took your job?

3. Cut all federal support for National Public Radio.  Setting aside the politics of it, it is ridiculous to spend money the government doesn’t have for a radio station when there are countless stations, TV channels, and Internet options for anything that might appear on NPR.

* Critics might say that my changes are small compared to the size of the problem.  I would disagree and more significantly, my suggestions could offer the start of a change in the culture of spending that has dominated in Washington.