How I will know when Republicans are serious about the deficit

1. The defense budget will start coming under serious scrutiny. Our military is the absolute archetype of inefficient government bureaucracy and lack of accountability to boot. We are #1 in military spending per capita by a long shot.

2. There will start to be a serious conversation about drug legalization. For one thing, making drugs illegal is excess government regulation which Reupblicans claim to be against. Other countries, like Portugal, have legalized all drugs, and it has been a blinding success. Assuming we have 2 million people in prison (it’s probably closer to 3 million than 2) and assuming it costs $40k per year per prisoner (it’s actually more expensive) we spend $80 billion to keep people behind bars. About half of those inmates are in for drug crimes. Decriminalizing all drugs and instead focusing on rehabilitating those who are addicted has the potential to save a huge amount of money, opens up a modest revenue stream for the government through taxation (this will probably just fund programs to help those who are addicted) and it frees up a lot of prison space.

3. Tax rates will be adjusted to account for changes in where wealth is being earned. While I think we need to examine ways to get the economy rolling in a way that expands the middle class (I feel like calling it that is so degrading to our society), from the perspective of getting the government’s books straight, we need to raise taxes for groups of people who are earning a huge amount of money.

4. There will be an increased focus on how to actually run more efficiently. Right now, when budgets of government programs get cut, services get cut for people who need them, which in turn exacerbates the problem of a bad economy. Instead of just slashing budgets, we should look to how the private sector addresses these issues, because they are incredibly good at cutting costs without cutting services, and they do it quickly. Astoundingly, I have yet to hear of an idea like this being pitched to Congress. We need to hire the Bobs and see if we can’t clean house a bit while at the same time continuing to provide the same level of service Americans have grown to rely on.

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