Discretionary Spending, including for Education

While the portion of the federal budget spent on discretionary spending has been slowly diminishing in recent years, the fact remains that federal agencies waste a tremendous amount of money, often doing things they choose to do that are outside their lawful authority and purpose. Overall, these expenditures should be cut by 15 percent. Military spending should be cut by eliminating more than half of the roughly 800 foreign military bases—more than ten times the total foreign bases of the rest of the world combined. Endless foreign wars need to end.

The primary role of the federal government should be protection of the people (from foreign powers, terrorism, etc.), their property and the environment. Government is a means of doing necessary things that cannot be practically done individually, on a group basis. Thus, annually balancing budgets makes complete sense.

The federal roads and the federal judiciary system are proper federal activities. Thus, they should be sustained and supported. Education is incredibly important.  Education is best handled locally. In this regard, since the U.S. Department of Education was created in 1979, mixed reviews have existed regarding the results, while federal spending on education has skyrocketed. In 2019, approximately $71 billion was spent by the Department of Education. Thus, the Department of Education should be eliminated and the federal government should get out of the education process altogether, except for issuing grants and low interest rate college loans to a reasonable (less than current) degree. Similar to health care, the influx of third party money (i.e., largely from the federal government) has caused the price of college to increase at much greater rates than the ordinary inflation rates. WSJ article – College Financing – Apr 18 2016 (PDF)  One study concluded that tuition at federal aid-eligible schools exceeded the tuition at schools where aid is not available by roughly the amount of the aid.  WSJ article – College Coshttps://www.buckleyforsenate.orgts – Aug 22 2016 (PDF)  Note to young people: For the vast majority, in the long run, where you went to college won’t matter.  And, a very significant percentage of successful business people don’t have a degree; they are or were smart and ambitious. Socialism has not worked well; it would not be beneficial to the U.S. Up to $10,000 of loan payments by an employer should be tax-free.

We don’t need a Department of Commerce. We need the CDC, CIA and the FBI. With the exception of antitrust laws (that I believe need to be kept), the free market is the best means of regulating commerce. A freeze of federal employees’ compensation that is in excess of private sector average compensation should exist until federal pay is ten percent (10%) below comparable private sector employees’ pay, to account for much more job security. In this regard, in 2017, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that, on average based on five job type categories, federal employees are paid 17 percent more than their private sector counterparts. (There are some exceptions. Some federal employees are underpaid–especially professionals.  They should not be underpaid.) It also said, “Overall the federal government would have reduced its spending on wages by 3 percent if it had decreased the pay of its less educated employees and increased the pay of its more educated employees to match the wages of their private-sector counterparts.” Federal employees’ jobs are much more secure than private sector jobs. CBO 2017 article comparing compensation of federal employees to private-sector employees (PDF). Also, take ten percent (10%) of the total pay and allocate it among the most productive employees. Making these changes would save approximately $30 billion per year.