While Obama Cuts The Military In Virginia, Raises Taxes On Everyone, Why Not A Fat BRAC?

Nothing unites Republicans and Democrats faster than a pair of magnets than military base closures in their states. Last week was no different when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would close (see Army Times) the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk as part of a pare down in defense spending. On cue, a bipartisan group of Virginia's Congressional delegation, including both senators, rushed to JFCOM's defense (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). At risk is as many as 6,000 jobs in Virginia. (The conspiracy theory is that Virginia is being targeted by the Obama administration for its aggressive legal challenges to the health care law and the unilateral cap and trade policy implemented by the EPA.)  Secretary Gates has the unenviable task of convincing Congress (other states will face cuts as well) — during a recession his boss has exacerbated, if not created — that the Defense Department's mission is to protect the country and not create jobs. He may well be right, but while JFCOM may or may not be needed, while he's cutting fat out of the military, why isn't his boss cutting fat everywhere else

Several years ago, Congress created the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to target base closings to save money and submit those recommendations to Congress for an up or down vote, because the normal appropriation process presented a more formidable barrier than the Great Wall of China. Congressmen would trade votes to protect bases in each others' districts, regardless of the merits. Political cowardice aside, it still amazes me that Washington insiders are willing to cut the military to save a few billion dollars out of a nearly $3.5 trillion budget, of which $1.5 trillion is borrowed money, while not cutting anything nearly as important

If Congress can pass the buck to a commission to cut the fat out of the Pentagon, then why not create a commission to cut the fat out of non-defense spending? Call it the Fat BRAC. There are numerous reports by think tanks and watch dog groups, as well as individual congressmen, of deplorable spending (see McCain-Coburn Report). A commission easily could mold these findings into a package of cuts for an up or down vote.

While the Obama administration wants to raise taxes on almost everyone in the middle class and up by letting the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions expire, to generate $700 billion over several years (assuming the tax increase doesn't jack up the unemployment rate above 10 percent), it increased spending more than one trillion dollars in one year — $787 billion in one fell swoop with the so-called stimulus bill (more when you factor in interest on the additional debt it created.) That's arrogance and irresponsibility of the highest order. The waste in that bill (and other bills) is of deplorable and unprecedented proportions.

There is something you can do, however. As we mentioned in this post, House Republicans started YouCut, a chance to tell Congress what programs you want to see it eliminate. Each week House Republicans post a list of programs citizens want cut. The GOP Conference brings to the floor the one with the most votes. Hundreds of thousands of people vote each week. We have a permanent link to YouCut on the lower right side of this site. We encourage you to take an active role in this and make your voice heard. Then think about writing your representative and Virginia's two senators, and tell them you want a BRAC for Big Fat Federal Spending.

What Can You Do? Take Real Citizen Action At YouCut!

We live in a time unlike any other in American history. People are as depressed as the economy. Optimism and employment are down, there is an environmental catastrophe, the country is near bankruptcy, basic issues of life and family are either being ignored or worse, attacked and redefined; and government is expanding at the expense of freedoms and fruits of labor. Americans are frustrated not because we face problems — we love to rise to the occasion — but that our own government is creating these problems. It leaves hard working, law abiding, God worshiping Americans despondent. "What can I do?" is the despairing refrain.

One thing is vote. Elections do have consequences. Make an informed decision and work and vote for candidates who best reflect your views. Support organizations (such as The Family Foundation, shameless plug) that work for the principles in which you believe. Get others involved. Be a force multiplier. Then stay on those elected to live up to their promises.

Of course, we live in a we want it now society. Instant satisfaction, if not gratification. We want results and we want to see them — now!

Okay, already. Since we believe in the positive change and equalizing nature of the new media and Internet, here's something you can do now and have an impact. Not just impact anywhere, either. Impact in Congress. The House of Representatives in particular.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) started YouCut, an online program where five areas of wasteful federal spending are highlighted each week. Citizens can vote for the one they most want to see cut. The "winning" program then will be brought to the House floor for an up or down vote (see The program was launched a few weeks ago, but already is attracting millions of online voters. It's so simple it's brilliant. Not only does it involve citizen input, which average people desire in an age when we are governed by elitists, it is, quite frankly, great politics. It also puts on record members of Congress so we can see who genuinely wants to reduce the scope of federal spending. The fear of embarrassment of supporting such waste may actually result in some good votes.

We encourage you to check it out. We now have a permanent link to YouCut on the bottom right corner of this blog. (Perhaps we can get the state government to do such a thing.) It is something you can do . . . and truly make a difference.

Citizen action in its purest form, with real results. YouCut is a program where you can decide what federal spending gets cut.