Controlling Federal Spending: A New Year?s Resolution for Congress

December 28, 2006

As 2006 draws to a close and Americans begin to make New Year’s resolutions, vowing to exercise restraint and self-discipline in various areas of their lives, we look back at a Tax Foundation commentary written 25 years ago that urged the federal government to do likewise. The article outlined some basic guidelines for cutting spending, which are still relevant a quarter-century later.

From the commentary, titled “The Budget Cuts—Some Modest Proposals”:

Any effective cuts will be painful. Our bloated public sector will not lose weight easily. Our decision-makers, with a degree of resolution and political courage not usually demanded of them, must ask their constituents—and all Americans—to swallow a bitter pill if they want to get well.

Cuts must be bipartisan. Republicans would like to start a “new era.” Democrats would like to limit that “era” to the next four years. No matter. Getting a handle on the public sector and unleashing the inherent healthiness of the private sector must take priority over political strategy aimed at 1982 and 1984.

Cuts must be fair. Vendettas have no place. Just as we must put a lid on the pork barrel, we must make sure that no group shoulders an unfair portion of the burden.

The commentary appeared in the January 1981 issue of Tax Features.

Click here to read the whole article. Click here for a PDF of the January 1981 issue of Tax Features.

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