This week we're making the changes I believe need to happen in order to save America from going broke and if you think America can't go broke, this isn't the show for you. You're in denial.
The people at the Cato Institute have put together some ideas — "old think" will not get us out of this mess. We can't just go back the Republicans and think that's the solution. Because, contrary to popular belief, I don't think the problems we talk about originated solely with Obama. We've been walking towards the cliff for a long time and Obama is going in the same direction, except he's sprinting really, really fast. But the problem runs deeper than just him.
It's time to think out of the box and think bigger than the empty symbolic budget cuts like Obama did a year ago (just after passing the $787 billion stimulus bill). He boldly proclaimed government must find a way — somehow — to cut $100 million dollars from the budget:
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And so what we're going to do is, line-by-line, page-by-page, a hundred million dollars there, a hundred million dollars here, pretty soon even in Washington it adds up to real money.
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"Pretty soon"? You'd have to make that $100 million cut 7,870 times before you broke even with the stimulus. Call me crazy, but I just don't see that happening. And most of the big ticket items are all locked in: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security — can't touch those.
And remember, under the president's big spending "freeze" only 17 percent of the budget is actually going to be frozen.
By 2025, interest payments, combined with the cost of Social Security, will eat up every single tax dollar that comes in. None left over for defense. Nothing for the new health care package. Nothing for roads, bridges, infrastructure, etc.
Last night I told you we need to abolish the way our entitlements are set up; we still have to make good on those who are now receiving or about to be receiving it, but everybody else — sorry, the money isn't there. We have to stop acting surprised; we knew this as kids.
Tonight we'll take a look at education. But first I want to go over two things in the health care bill: one of them America didn't know and the other Congress didn't know. First: According to The New York Times, the bill actually threatens something near and dear to the politicians' hearts: Their generous government health care plans.
The article states: "The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges."
Even better, the health care bill does not specify a start date and, according to standard interpretations, when there is no specified date, it goes into effect immediately. In other words: Anyone in Congress still receiving their fat-cat health care plan is breaking the law and they must join a state-based insurance exchange, which doesn't exist yet.
Even The New York Times realizes that maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all: "If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?"
No, they didn't realize it, because not only did they not write it, they didn't read it! However, this could be the only good idea in the bill.
The derived value of benefits (that's health care, pension and other benefits) for the average private industry employee is just under $10,000. For a federal employee those benefits are worth over $40,000.
If I were president, I don't care what the bill says, I'd be shouting from the rooftops that government employees should not have health insurance better than what citizens will be forced to get under what just passed. Government employees shouldn't get better benefits and they shouldn't get better salaries.
The average congressman makes $174,000 a year. That's a very interesting number because what is the government's definition of "rich"? $200,000. Seems they are coming pretty close to the threshold without going over. What a coincidence.
(By the way, the president makes $400,000 a year. Why? Everyone knows they will be filthy rich about 14 seconds after office. Why pay them anything?)
The average federal employee earns about $70,000 a year, while the average private sector employee earns about $50,000. Can someone please explain to me what it is that government employees do that is so special — so unique — that they deserve almost double the compensation that the private sector worker gets?
(Wait, it does take about twice the amount of time to do the work, so....)
Just by paying people what they would get if they didn't work for the government, we would save $44.5 billion. And if we made their benefits and perks mirror that of the private sector, that would save another $60 billion.
So just by evening the playing field, that's $104.5 billion saved. Wow. That kind of sounds like windfall profits, doesn't it. Hillary Clinton doesn't want to confiscate those? Do you know how many hungry children we could feed with $104.5 billion?
Sally Struthers told me for just the price of a cup of coffee per day I could save a child. That's about $50 bucks a month or $600 a year. If these greedy federal employees would just agree to give up their windfall profits, we could feed over 174 million starving kids.
Why do federal employees want hundreds of millions of children to starve to death?
Remember, Barack Obama also took over the student loan industry because those greedy middlemen had the gall to take $68 billion in profits for services rendered. So why wouldn't he be appalled at the windfall profits (of over $100 billion) of federal employees?
And that brings me to education. That was the other thing jammed in the bill that Americans didn't know about. Now the government is controlling all of these loans and, coincidentally, they are also creating more and more incentives and ways to have those loans forgiven — like, working for the government.
Well, you just saw the nice perks of working for the government, it's actually quite lucrative. But now, it's even more so. At what point do we stop calling it "service" to work for the government? It really doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice. The only one's sacrificing are the taxpayers.
We're dumping all this money into education, but what if we stop and turn the car around and go in the opposite direction. (Right now, liberal bloggers are in their basements — well, their moms' basements — their typing away: Glenn Beck doesn't want to educate children!)
No. I want to educate children. But dumping billions of dollars at schools that are failing isn't the way to do it. Since the 1960s we've been dumping money at the problem — from $12 billion in 1965 to $94 billion for the 2011 budget.
How's that strategy working out?
Between 1973 and 2008, achievement scores for math rose just two points; reading scores just one point. We've flat-lined.
Money doesn't do it. Money never does it. How do you fix education? It starts with families. James Madison's mother taught him to read and write. John Quincy Adams was home-schooled until the age of nine. Abraham Lincoln largely learned at home from books he borrowed. The story goes that Thomas Edison's teacher thought he was "feeble minded" — un-teachable — his mom taught him at home. "Good Will Hunting" got his education for $2 at the public library.
And yet this society scoffs at those who are self-educated.
When my daughter Mary was in second grade, I asked the teacher for a syllabus. Mr. Beck, she said, this is my job. I replied, "Mrs. Hoffelmyerbergwitz, teaching my child is my job. You are my assistant. That's the only kind of government assistance I want."
Unfortunately, many also try and help assist my kid with learning to have sex then helping them get abortions, while indoctrinating them about how evil the free market is and attending meetings on Marx.
It makes no sense to teach the way we've been teaching for the last 100 years considering the technology we now have. Our Founders and many others proved you don't need money to get a great education. You need desire and a good book.
Control needs to go back to the parents, back to the states. And the best way to do it is abolish the Department of Education. The federal government should only be responsible for things states cannot do. You want a State Department? Great! Department of Education? I think we can cover that one.
But let me show you how out of control our government and our thinking has become. Doing those two things — creating a disincentive to work for federal government and completely eliminating the Department of Education would only save $200 billion. That's only about a quarter of the stimulus bill.
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