Editorial

10/8/2012

Good judgment leads to proper budget cuts

As the federal government prepares to engage in sequestration to shrink the deficit, it might want to consider another money-saving measure. This is guaranteed to trim millions from the annual budget.

It's relatively simple. All that's needed is a dart board, a dart, two colors of paint, dark tape, a blindfold and a 5-year-old child.

Paint each half of the dart board a different color. These colors will represent the two senators a state sends to Washington. Put the initials of one of the two in each color.

You will need to find out how many members each state sends to the U.S. House of Representatives for the next step. Let's take Georgia, for example, which now has 14 U.S. House districts. With the tape, divide the circle into 14 equal pie pieces and mark each with the initial of one of the representatives.

Now, blindfold the 5-year-old, put a dart in his hand and instruct him or her to throw it at the board. The senator whose initials are in the color the dart hit would be ejected from Congress and his salary, staff and all costs would be deleted from the budget. The same would go for the darted U.S. House member.

Repeat this process for the other 49 states for a total of 100 elected officials - 50 senators and 50 House members, all of whom would be removed from Congress for a substantial tax-dollar savings.

Needless to say, in addition to being unlawful, at least the way the current Constitution is written, this budget-cutting idea makes little sense. It does, however, make about as much sense as sequestration. One just doesn't blindly throw a meat cleaver at military spending, for example, to determine what projects, purchases or other costs will be voided out. The selection should be based on need, purpose and value to the nation.

There are far superior ways to tackle overspending, and those who have been in Washington for a decade or more know a good many of them. Just recently, Rep. Jack Kingston mentioned a few, like discontinuing the production of armored tanks. The Army doesn't need them, so why build and pay for them, Kingston asks.

Another idea pitched by the Georgia Republican and one of his Democratic colleagues is the elimination of expensive sponsorships the various branches of the military pay for to promote themselves. This includes sponsorships of race car drivers. This is an absolute waste of tax dollars, and even more so now with downsizing on the horizon.

Congress must use sound judgment to get federal spending under control, not blindfolds and darts, which are as effective as sequestration.