Friday, June 18, 2010

YouCut Week 4 results, Week 5 "Candidates"

Week 4 results for House of Representatives Minority Whip Eric Cantor's YouCut program are up, as well as  next week's "candidates" for the Federal Spending Chopping Block.

For Week 4 the "winning" suggestion was Sell Excess Federal Property, with a potential savings of up to $15 billion
The Office of Management and Budget estimated in 2007 that the federal government is holding $18 billion in real property that it does not need. Rather than selling this property, however, Federal law usually requires that it first be offered, often at no cost, to other government agencies, to state and local governments, to non-profits, and others. The federal government has conveyed at no cost: a building in Las Vegas that is intended to house the “mob museum,” land in Massachusetts for a private high school where tuition is over $29,000 a year, and a building in Florida that the federal government now leases back at a cost of over $100,000 a year. This proposal would amend federal law to require an expedited process for selling unneeded federal property with 80% of the proceeds used to reduce the deficit.
It lost, of  course.  The vote tally does not show "D" or "R", but I can tell you that no Washington State Demonrat voted for it.  Not surprisingly.

This week's five proposed "cuts" are:
Prohibit Hiring New IRS Agents to Enforce the Health Care Law
Savings of $5 billion to $10 billion over 10 years

According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next ten years the IRS will require between $5 billion and $10 billion in funding to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka the new health care law). These funds will be used to hire thousands of additional IRS agents and employees. Reforming our health care system shouldn’t require expanding the IRS. By prohibiting funding for both the expansion of the IRS for this purpose and the enforcement of the individual health care mandate, we can protect taxpayers while we work to repeal the law.

Terminate Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners Program
Savings of $87.5 million over ten years

The Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners program provides non-competitive grants to support culturally-based educational activities "to assist Alaska Natives, native Hawaiians, and children and families living in Massachusetts linked by history and tradition to Alaska and Hawaii, and members of any federally recognized Indian tribe in Mississippi." The President has proposed terminating this program in part because it is non-competitive in nature, there is no reliable performance data by which to measure the outcomes of the program, and it has "narrow goals [that] are more appropriately served with State, local, and private funding."

Terminate Taxpayer-Subsidized Political Party Conventions
Savings of approximately $33.6 million every four years ($67.2 million over ten years)

Since 1976, taxpayers have subsidized a portion of the cost of political conventions, with the money derived from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. In 2008, the Republican and Democrat conventions received a total of $33.6 million for grants to hold their political conventions (this is in addition to appropriations they received for security costs). These taxpayer funds covered approximately 20% of the cost of the conventions with the remainder coming from private sources. By requiring political parties to fund their conventions with private money and not taxpayer money, we can reduce the deficit. (This is also a RSC sunset Caucus proposal.)

Require Collection of Unpaid Taxes From Federal Employees
Savings of potentially $1 billion +

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that over 97,000 federal employees were delinquent on their federal income taxes, owing a total of $1 billion in unpaid taxes. This includes 1,151 employees who owe $7 million at the Department of Treasury which oversees the IRS. By requiring at a minimum that the IRS to work with federal agencies to withhold a portion of each employee's paycheck who is determined to have a "seriously delinquent tax debt," we can ensure that federal employees are paying their fair share of taxes. Failure to pay required taxes should result in disciplinary actions designed to ensure that the taxpayers are made whole. In addition to collecting back taxes already due, this reform will ensure future unpaid taxes are also collected.

Terminate Funding For The Duplicative National Drug Intelligence Center
Savings of $440 million over ten years
First created in 1993, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) has been criticized since its creation as duplicative of already-existing drug intelligence centers (e.g. DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center). In 2005, U.S. News and World Report ran a detailed story on the agency calling in a "boondoggle." A Congressional Oversight Committee also determined in 2006 that "NDIC was never able to fulfill its original mission of centralizing and coordinating drug intelligence, given its remote location and the unwillingness of the other Federal agencies to contribute significant information..." Previous Administration’s have recommended terminating NDIC and consolidating its operations with other federal drug intelligence centers. And in 2008 on a bipartisan 17-4 vote, the House Intelligence Committee voted to terminate the agency. Yet the program continues to this day and the Administration has requested another $46 million for the agency.
I confess that I want to vote for the biggest "bang", but, on the other hand, I'm leery of voting for "potential" savings.  My inner optimist says that ObamaCare is going down anyway, so #1 won't actually save any money--it's symbolic.  (A nice symbol, granted, but still...)  And number 4--collecting back taxes owed by Federal Employees"--is also listed as a "potential" savings.  Then again, that's the IRS's own number.  Whether that means we should trust it or not is another question. 

Certainly we taxpayers should not be involuntarily footing the bill for political party's conventions.  (Number 3.)

You can vote online or by texting a number listed for each individual suggested cut, here.

You can also suggest other programs for cuts here:  Your Idea.

No comments: