To: Members of Congress and the Administration:
In the face of a credit downgrade, you apparently can only find $27 billion of savings. I've heard a number of you -from both parties - argue that we must avoid "draconian" actions. News flash: we were just downgraded. It is already past time for draconian actions.
Since you are apparently bereft of ideas, here are some to get you started:
1. Approve the Free Trade Agreement with Columbia. It is failure to do something simple and easy like this that makes Americans of all parties believe you aren't serious about aiding the economy.
2. Ditto Korean Free Trade Agreement. Or is your goal to screw around until the Chinese and the French jump in and strike deals with all those local businesses?
3. Close the Department of Energy. Lay everyone off.
4. Close the Department of Education. Lay everyone off.
5. Cut the EPA budget 50%.
6. Amend the Environmental Protection Act to exclude new nuclear, wind and solar plants from the requirement to file an environmental impact statement.
7. Amend the Environmental Protection Act to exclude new high-speed rail projects from the requirement to file an environmental impact statement.
8. Amend the Environmental Protection Act to clarify that the EPA has no jurisdiction over carbon dioxide.
9. Cut the IRS pay 10%.
10. Appropriate $50 million in additional capital project spending for each and every Veteran's Hospital, but it must be spent in no more than twelve months.
11. Raise the pay of everyone who works at a VA hospital 20% effective immediately. We want our returning service men and women to have the best care possible. We want service members to PREFER going to a VA hospital and non-vets to wish they could.
12. Bring 100% of contractors and soldiers back from Iraq and Afghanistan now. If war breaks out between the Sunnis & Shia and whatever other various kinds of Muslims, I would take it as a sign that is what Mohammed wants. If the Taliban and Al Qaeda start building camps again, bomb the hell out of them.
13. Ignore the whining from the SEC for more money. Wasn't someone at the SEC assigned to review the Madoff account screwing someone who worked for Madoff? While others at the SEC were watching porn? They don't need more money, they need new people.
14. If you were born after 1971, your Social Security retirement age is 72. Early retirement options are eliminated.
15. If you were born after 1966, your Social Security retirement age is 70. Early retirement options are eliminated.
16. Cut Planned Parenthood and Public Broadcasting government subsidies to zero. I know that it is small money, but when one is cutting costs, symbolic cuts are very important. These are charities. If they serve a good purpose, they can attract donors.
17. Close the FTC and lay everyone off. It has far outlived its usefulness.
18. Eliminate the ethanol subsidy immediately.
19. Eliminate sugar price supports and the U.S. sugar cartel immediately.
20. Convert TVA into a "C Corp" with 300 million shares issued and outstanding. Give one share to everyone with a Social Security number. That is the way to privatize something.
21. Do the same thing with Amtrak - but give them a five year exemption from environmental impact statements for new rail, rail extensions, expansions and train stations.
22. Close the Department of Housing and Urban Welfare. It is very obvious that we have more than enough houses - prices just dropped another five percent.
23. Place a one-year surtax of $20 on every person to fund a Manhattan Project approach to Alzheimer's' research. If we don't make monumental progress on this disease in ten years or less, Medicare will be overwhelmed with baby boomers in nursing homes with Alzheimer's. Structure research grants so that taxpayers, not pharma companies, end up with the patents.
24. Merge ATF into the FBI, and make some serious cuts. First, sniper shots at Ruby Ridge that were questionable decisions at best. Then they flame-broiled the Branch Davidians. Now they sell high-powered, large-clip weapons to Mexican drug lords. Three strikes and you're out. I'll take my chances that we will have a few more moonshiners.
25. Overhaul the patent law process. Time to reign-in the patent trolls, who are simply extorting money from companies for zero economic benefit.
26. Overhaul the patent law process #2. Eliminate the business process patent. It's hogwash, and it is stifling innovation.
27. Eliminate the treatment of carried interest as capital gains and convert it to ordinary income. The decision to hold interest rates at effectively zero has been a remarkable gift from the savers of America to private equity, which has refinanced dozens of billions of high-interest-rate debt at rates far below their wildest dreams. They've been richly rewarded; they can pay some tax.
28. Similarly, ignore whining from companies about a tax holiday for repatriation. I'll admit that the U.S. tax code punishes U.S. companies, and our corporate tax rate is now among the world's highest (lower than FRANCE!!!). Want to do something? Cut the rate.
29. Apparently there are 2,400 generic drug applications sitting around awaiting approval at the FDA. How stupid is that? Approving those is like a monster tax cut for individuals, companies offering health care and any agency or charity involved in healthcare.
30. For companies operating only in America, if you are audited and have a clean opinion letter, you get to pay tax on GAAP net income. No tax return, no tax accountants required. Businesses save millions. IRS reduces headcount. Everyone wins except for my friends who are tax accountants.