My Turn: Building a bottom-up budget

For the Monitor
Published: 11/6/2021 7:00:16 AM

Let’s use Sen. Warren’s three cents of every dollar formula to reduce the waste in the federal government. Biden should charge every department in the government to cut three cents of every dollar out of its expenditures.

This can be done by employing the sound approach to budgeting by building the federal budget from the bottom up. This means that each department starts at zero and builds the budget based upon what activities work and eliminates the expenditures that do not work anymore.

Our government has been using a top-down approach that does not allow for the waste to be extracted from this budget. It just adds to the waste. Congress is now doing what they always do which is to increase the debt ceiling. Did you ever hear our Congress say let’s reduce the waste instead of increasing the debt ceiling?

This is what we do in our households. If you have a subscription that is automatically charged on your credit card and then, after a while, you find that that subscription is no longer serving your needs. Do you let that automatic charge keep charging your account or do you cancel that subscription? You are smart. You cancel that wasteful spending. We need to hold our Congressional delegation accountable to pass legislation to employ these same prudent actions to the federal budget because it is our money that Congress is spending foolishly.

Here is a solution to paying for our real infrastructure needs. Of the $1.2 trillion bill that is now being held hostage by the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, about $550 billion is being used for real infrastructure. With the 30-year treasury bond rates being the lowest in over a generation (about 2%). We can take a page out of President Eisenhower’s playbook and create a trust fund, as we did to pay for our amazing Interstate Highway system in 1956 and use those proceeds to pay for the $550 billion infrastructure cost.

This trust fund would be paid off by a combination of gas tax receipts and user fees. We can pay for these costs without increasing our short-term debt with no provisions to pay that debt off. Just like the Interstate Commerce Act financing structure of 1956, we have a clear path to paying off this cost so our children and grandchildren do not have to wonder how they will at least pay off this portion of our $26-plus trillion national debts.

Biden has said that if you make under $400,000 per year, you will not be taxed for all of this debt. Well, if you make under $100,000 per year and you put gas in your vehicle to go to work or you buy groceries for your family, you see these high costs and you know that you are being taxed due to inflation.

It has been said that when politicians realize they can give citizens benefits from the public coffers without having those citizens have to pay for them, it is the beginning of the end of democracy in America.

We need to contact our Congressional delegation and ask them to propose a budget built from the bottom up instead of just continuing to increase the federal debt ceiling.

(Joseph Mendola lives in Warner.)

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