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106 Budget Cuts Congress Could Make Right Now

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This is from The Daily Signal.

 

It is budget season in Washington and the debate is focused on who wants to increase spending and by how much.

But the debate should be focused on how to reduce the size and scope of government. Across the country, Americans remain deeply concerned about growing deficits and debt. Washington’s obsession with increasing the size and scope of government shows just how out of touch this city can be.

Within mere days of the Congressional Budget Office’s warnings that spending is going up by three-quarters—from $3.5 trillion to $6 trillion—before the end of the decade, the president’s budget laid out an agenda for more spending on programs that fall far outside the federal government’s constitutional scope.

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The Budget Book, released by The Heritage Foundation today, stands in direct contrast to President Obama’s agenda of bigger government.

 

We believe that no spending cut and no attempt to right-size government is too small. When lawmakers stand up against entrenched special interests and eliminate bad government programs, even less expensive ones, this sends a powerful message to the people in this country that lawmakers are working for them in the best interests of the nation.

The Budget Book offers members of Congress who pledged to get government spending under control 106 ways to put that promise into action.

It’s time for Congress to prove to the American people it is serious about fixing the Washington spending and debt crisis. Congress can make that case by cutting federal programs that benefit the few well-connected at the cost of the many families struggling to pay their bills. And by doing so, it can earn the moral authority to tackle the massive spending challenges posed by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

106 Ways to Cut the Budget

(All savings are for 2016.)

National Defense

1. Reduce Civilian Overhead in Department of Defense: $1.2 billion

2. Cut Funding for Non-Combat Related Research $135 million

3. Cut Commissary Subsidies: $500 million

4. Close Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS): $583 million

5. Reform Military Compensation: $2.1 billion

6. Increase Use of Performance-Based Logistics: $9 billion

7. Focus the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Spending on Weapons Programs: $529 million

International Affairs

8. End Funding for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP): $81 million

9. End Funding for the U.N Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): $10 million

10. Eliminate the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA): $56 million

11. Reform Food Aid Programs: $168 million

12. Eliminate the Export-Import Bank: $200 million

13. Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC): –$213 million

14. Eliminate Funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): $36 million

General Science, Space and Technology

15. Return Funding for the Office of Nuclear Physics to Fiscal Year 2008 Levels: $95 million

16. Return Advanced Scientific Computing Research to Fiscal Year 2008 Levels: $85 million

17. Eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E): $284 million

18. Eliminate the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) Program: $619 million

19. Reduce Basic Energy Sciences (BES) Funding: $301 million

20. Eliminate Energy Information Hubs: $24 million

21. Reduce Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) Spending to Fiscal Year 2008 Levels: $178 million

22. Reduce High-Energy Physics (HEP) Program Funding: $10 million

Energy

23. Eliminate the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership: $183 million

24 & 25. Eliminate Department of Energy Loans and Loan Guarantees

26. Eliminate the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability (OE): $150 million

27. Eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE): $1.93 billion

28. Reduce Office of Fossil Energy (FE) Funding: $341 million

29. Reduce Funding for the Office of Nuclear Energy: $293 million

30. Eliminate Subsidies for Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs): $86 million

31 & 32. Eliminate SBIR and STTR Programs: $2.746 billion

33. Auction of Assets of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA): -$5 million ($500 million savings in 2025)

Natural Resources and Environment

34. Eliminate Funding for Development and Implementation of New Ozone Standards

35. Eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): $5 million

36. Eliminate Environmental Protection Agency Grant Programs and Information Exchange/ Outreach: $131 million

37 – 45. Eliminate Nine Climate Programs: $106 million

46. Eliminate Regional EPA Programs: $422 million

47. Lease or Sell Underused EPA Space: $22 million

48. Eliminate the National Clean Diesel Campaign (NCDC): $20 million

49. Eliminate Environmental Justice Programs: $7 million

Agriculture

50. Eliminate the Market Access Program (MAP): $186 million

51. Repeal the USDA Catfish Inspection Program: $14 million

52. Eliminate the Conservation Reserve Program: $2.005 billion

53. Eliminate the Conservation Technical Assistance Program:$725 million

54. Eliminate the Rural Business- Cooperative Service (RBCS):$258 million

55 & 56. Eliminate the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Programs: $4.748 billion

Commerce and Housing Credit

57. Let the Postal Service (USPS) Eliminate Saturday Mail Delivery: $1.285 billion

58. Cut Universal Service Subsidies

59 – 63: Eliminate Five Corporate Welfare Programs in Commerce Department: $892 million

64. Repeal the Corporation for Travel Promotion: – $38 million

65. Reform the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):$321 million

Transportation

66. Limit Highway Trust Fund (HTF) Spending to Revenues:$17 billion

67. Phase Out the Federal Transit Administration (FTA): $2.33 billion

68. Eliminate Grants to the National Rail Passenger Service Corporation (Amtrak): $608 million

69. Close Down the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and Repeal the Jones Act: $150 million

70. Eliminate the New Starts Transit Program: $1.972 billion

71. Privatize the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC): $32 million

72. Eliminate the TIGER Grant Program: $609 million

Community and Regional Development

73. Eliminate Fire Grants: $591 million

74. Eliminate the Small Business Administration Disaster Loans Program (DLP): $33 million

Education, Training, Employment and Social Services

75. Sunset Head Start to Make Way for Better State and Local Alternative: $887 million

76 & 77. Eliminate Competitive/Project Grant Programs & Reduce Spending on Formula Grants: $3.702 billion

78- 80. Eliminate Titles II, VI, VIII of the Higher Education Act (HEA): $2.374 billion

81. Decouple Federal Financing from Accreditation

82. Expand the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP)

83. Eliminate the PLUS Loan Program: -$3 million

84. Privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB):$445 million

85 & 86. Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): $296 million

87. Eliminate Job Corps: $1.721 billion

88. Eliminate Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Job-Training Programs: $3.366 billion

Income Security

89. Let Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Expire: $823 million

90. Cap Total Means-Tested Welfare Spending: $100 billion

91. Set a Work Requirement for Able-Bodied Adult Food Stamp Recipients: $5.4 billion

92. Return Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to Serve Its Originally Intended Population: $12 billion

93. Reduce fraud in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): $8 billion

94. Reduce Anti-Marriage Penalties in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): $6 billion

Administration of Justice

95. Eliminate the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): $248 million

96. Eliminate Grants within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP): $1.358 billion

97. Eliminate Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Grants:$428 million

98– 102. Reduce Finding for Five Programs in the Department of Justice: $787 million

General Government

103. Eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund: $2 million

Allowances

104. Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act: $8.112 billion

105. Open Access to Drilling and Conduct Lease Sales

106. Empower States to Control Energy Production on Federal Lands

>>> Read the full Budget Book

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Is Sending the Military to the Border a Good Idea?

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This is from The Morning Bell.

I have to respectfully disagree with James Carafano we do need to place National Guard troops to help restore security.

Obama’s immigration policy sucks and he will never change it.

Changing this out of control immigration will take a new administration..

 

James Carafano is a 25-year Army veteran, a graduate of and former professor at West Point, and a leading expert on military strategy, including border issues. In his decade at The Heritage Foundation, he has conducted extensive research on border issues, including making frequent trips to the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico. On the question of whether it makes sense to send the military to the southern border to deal with the current crisis, he is the person to ask.

Question: Have we sent the military to the border before?

Carafano: Sure. Many times over the country’s history troops have been dispatched to help restore stability and sovereignty on the border, particularly on the boundary with Mexico. U.S. military patrols on the southern border continued through 1929.

More recently, in 2006, President Bush sent more than 6,000 troops to the border to assist in the build-up of the Border Patrol. In 2010, President Obama dispatched 1,200 troops to help bolster border security missions. Some National Guard units routinely deploy to the border in support of state and federal authorities as part of annual training duties.

Question: Doesn’t Posse Comitatus prohibit the use of troops on the border?

Carafano: The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act (amended many times) limits the use of the armed forces in conducting law enforcement activities. Federal military forces can do many activities on the border that are not restricted under the act.

Further, National Guard forces can be mobilized in one of three statuses. They can serve as “State Duty,” where they operate under the direction of the governor.In addition, they can be mobilized under “Title 32,” where they remain under the command of the governor, but the federal government funds training and operations. They also can be mobilized as “Title 10” forces, where they are, from a legal standpoint, indistinguishable from active-duty military.

If National Guard troops are deployed to border areas either under State Duty or Title 32 status, Posse Comitatus does not apply.

Question: What should troops do on the border?

Carafano: Military manpower is not a cost-effective solution to fulfilling long-term manpower needs for border security. Military manpower does have utility as a stopgap or supplementary measure. In crisis situations, they serve best at freeing up or supplementing Border Patrol and CBP officials to focus on critical tasks by providing additional situational awareness on the border as well as logistical and engineer support.

Question: Can military force solve the border crisis?

Carafano: The short answer is no. They key is reducing significantly the numbers trying to cross the border. That has to start with reversing disastrous immigration and foreign policies that have precipitated the current crisis.

Consumers Hit With Surcharge to Cover City’s $15 Minimum Wage

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This is from The Daily Signal.

Surcharges, price increases and layoffs will be the norm in the Seattle area.

Lower income and people on fixed incomes will be hit the hardest.

 

 

In the city of SeaTac, Wash., where the minimum wage is now $15 an hour, one business is charging customers a “living wage” surcharge.

An airport parking service, Masterpark, “is charging customers an additional 99 cents per parking day,” reported Northwest Watchdog.

Near SeaTac, Seattle also is hiking its minimum wage. On Monday, the city council voted unanimously to raise the minimum wage over several years until it reaches $15 an hour. In an Associated Press interview afterward, City Council member Kshama Sawant, a self-described socialist, noted that “$15 in Seattle is just the beginning.”

 

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What’s wrong with SeaTac’s $15 min wage in 1 photo — Local businesses are now adding 8.25% “living wage surcharge”

MARIJUANA IS HARMFUL: DEBUNKING 7 MYTHS ARGUING IT’S FINE

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This is from The Heritage Foundation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhjGhbz1eIo

 

 

Don’t believe the hype: marijuana legalization poses too many risks to public health and public safety. Based on almost two decades of research, community-based work, and policy practice across three presidential administrations, my new book “Reefer Sanity” discusses some widely held myths about marijuana:

Myth No. 1: “Marijuana is harmless and non-addictive”

No, marijuana is not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin, but calling it harmless or non-addictive denies very clear science embraced by every major medical association that has studied the issue. Scientists now know that the average strength of today’s marijuana is some 5–6 times what it was in the 1960s and 1970s, and some strains are upwards of 1020 times stronger than in the past—especially if one extracts THC through a butane process. This increased potency has translated to more than 400,000 emergency room visits every year due to things like acute psychotic episodes and panic attacks.

Mental health researchers are also noting the significant marijuana connection with schizophrenia, and educators are seeing how persistent marijuana use can blunt academic motivation and significantly reduce IQ by up to eight points, according to a very large recent study in New Zealand. Add to these side-effects new research now finding that even casual marijuana use can result in observable differences in brain structure, specifically parts of the brain that regulate emotional processing, motivation and reward. Indeed, marijuana use hurts our ability to learn and compete in a competitive global workplace.

Additionally, marijuana users pose dangers on the road, despite popular myth. According to the British Medical Journal, marijuana intoxication doubles your risk of a car crash.

Myth No. 2: “Smoked or eaten marijuana is medicine.”

Just like we don’t smoke opium or inject heroin to get the benefits of morphine, we do not have to smoke marijuana to receive its medical effects. Currently, there is a pill based on marijuana’s active ingredient available at pharmacies, and almost two-dozen countries have approved a new mouth spray based on a marijuana extract. The spray, Sativex, does not get you high, and contains ingredients rarely found in street-grade marijuana. It is likely to be available in the U.S. soon, and today patients can enroll in clinical trials. While the marijuana plant has known medical value, that does not mean smoked or ingested whole marijuana is medicine. This position is in line with the American Medical Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Glaucoma Foundation, National MS Society, and American Cancer Society.

Myth No. 3: “Countless people are behind bars simply for smoking marijuana.”

I wholeheartedly support reducing America’s incarceration rate. But legalizing marijuana will not make a significant dent in our imprisonment rates. That is because less than 0.3 percent of all state prison inmates are there for smoking marijuana. Moreover, most people arrested for marijuana use are cited with a ticket—very few serve time behind bars unless it is in the context of a probation or parole violation.

Myth No. 4: “The legality of alcohol and tobacco strengthen the case for legal marijuana.”

“Marijuana is safer than alcohol, so marijuana should be treated like alcohol” is a catchy, often-used mantra in the legalization debate. But this assumes that our alcohol policy is something worth modeling. In fact, because they are used at such high rate due to their wide availability, our two legal intoxicants cause more harm, are the cause of more arrests, and kill more people than all illegal drugs combined. Why add a third drug to our list of legal killers?

Moreover, marijuana legalization will usher in America’s new version of “Big Tobacco.”

Myth No. 5: “Legal marijuana will solve the government’s budgetary problems.”

Unfortunately, we can’t expect  societal financial gain from marijuana legalization. For every $1 in revenue the U.S. receives in alcohol and tobacco taxes, we spend more than $10 in social costs. Additionally, two major business lobbies—Big Tobacco and the Liquor Lobby—have emerged to keep taxes on these drugs low and promote use. The last thing we need is the “Marlboroization of Marijuana,” but that is exactly what we would get in this country with legalization.

Myth No. 6:  “Portugal and Holland provide successful models of legalization.”

Contrary to media reports, Portugal and Holland have not legalized drugs. In Portugal, someone caught with a small amount of drugs is sent to a three-person panel and given treatment, a fine, or a warning and release. The result of this policy is less clear. Treatment services were ramped up at the same time the new policy was implemented, and a decade later there are more young people using marijuana, but fewer people dying of opiate and cocaine overdoses. In the Netherlands, officials seem to be scaling back their marijuana non-enforcement policy (lived out in “coffee shops” across that country) after witnessing higher rates of marijuana use and treatment admissions there. The government now only allows residents to use coffee shops. What all of this tells us about how legalization would play out in the U.S. is another point entirely and even less clear.

Myth No. 7: “Prevention, intervention, and treatment are doomed to fail—So why try?”

Less than 8 percent of Americans smoke marijuana versus 52 percent who drink and 27 percent of people that smoke tobacco cigarettes. Coupled with its legal status, efforts to reduce demand for marijuana can work. Communities that implement local strategies implemented by area-wide coalitions of parents, schools, faith communities, businesses, and, yes, law enforcement, can significantly reduce marijuana use. Brief interventions and treatment for marijuana addiction (which affects about 1 in 6 kids who start using, according to the National Institutes of Health) can also work.

And one myth not found in the book: “Colorado and Washington are examples to follow.”

Experience from Colorado’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana is not promising. Since January, THC-positive test results in the workplace have risen, two recent deaths in Denver have been linked to recreational marijuana use, and the number of parents calling the poison control hotline because their kids consumed marijuana products has significantly risen. Additionally, tax revenues fall short of original projections and the black market for marijuana continues to thrive in Colorado. Though Washington State has not yet implemented its marijuana laws, the percentage of cases involving THC-positive drivers has significantly risen.

Marijuana policy is not straightforward. Any public policy has costs and benefits. It is true that a policy of saddling users with criminal records and imprisonment does not serve the nation’s best interests. But neither does legalization, which would create the 21st century version of Big Tobacco and reduce our ability to compete and learn. There is a better way to address the marijuana question—one that emphasizes brief interventions, prevention, and treatment, and would prove a far less costly alternative to either the status quo or legalization. That is the path America should be pursuing—call it “Reefer Sanity.”

Kevin A. Sabet is the author of “Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana” and the Director of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Sabet appeared at The Heritage Foundation to discuss his new book. Watch his talk here


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