The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meat Cleaver

There’s little doubt that the political fight over deficit and spending reductions will have liberal-Left Democrats demonizing those who suggest that spending on programs, such as the earned income tax credit, can be cut. As you probably know, 47 percent of our populace pay no income taxes whatsoever. None. A significant percentage of those who pay nothing actually get something instead—a check, euphemistically called an earned income tax credit. The intent, however well intentioned, is nothing more than a transfer payment from those who pay taxes to those who do not.

Today, we learn that the Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report with the following statement:
The GAO has listed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Program as having the second highest dollar amount of improper payments of all Federal programs. The IRS has made little improvement in reducing EITC improper payments since 2002 when it was first required to report estimates of these payments to Congress. The IRS continues to report that 23% - 28% of EITC payments are issued improperly each year. In Fiscal Year 2009, this equated to $11 billion to $13 billion in EITC improper payments.

Hmmm. $11 – 13 billion in “improper” payments in one year. $100 billion over the last decade! And that’s just one government program.

I’m beginning to think that the only solution to deficit reduction is to take a meat clever to the problem—a 10 percent across the board cut in every government program (including entitlements) for three consecutive years. The administrators of each federal bureacracy (along with Congress) would then be tasked by the President with prioritizing needs, reducing waste and fraud (which is rampant) and living with 10 percent less. If they do a poor job, the voters will have the last word at the ballot box by electing leaders who can get the bureaucracy in line. To do this, congress would have to modify the civil service system so that mid-level functionaries could be fired for non-performance. Given that hundreds of thousands of competent middle managers are out of work, it might not be a bad idea to replace incompetent public sector management with a people who have private sector experience.

Dream on.