• Carroll's Corner article for February


  • December 11, 2017

    Government officials usually say the cliché that “they want to run government like a business.” With most of them never running a business having the headache to: manage their own money to pay salaries, manage marketing costs, manage employee costs, put up with onerous government regulations, increase taxes and fees, keeping up with the competition, just to mention a few, I wonder how government officials really envision that “business like” model of government.

    Why is the conversation about the federal budget always so complicated that it goes over the heads of the average person?  Is it by design so that the very people elected to office who create these problems put themselves as the only savior of the people?

    In a true business model, high priorities are placed on reducing spending and controlling employee costs. These are the two fundamental areas government officials never put forth when crafting a budget. Government officials see other people’s money, “the tax payers money,” as an endless faucet of money flowing in to use for political favors, securing their reelection, and they never have to worry about the competition unless a fresh mind and solid leader emerges like Senator Rand Paul to challenge their warped way of fiscal obligation to the tax payers.

    If the congress or any government entity really wanted to have a balanced budget, they would make sure that funded programs are what government should be funding per the constitution. The way government fiscal policy operates is by continuing to fund failed government programs that continues to exist and get bloated without showing much success. For example, poverty programs which continues to get bloated every year without oversight. These poverty programs objectives should be to work their way out of existence by demonstrating the success of retraining and getting people back to work.

    What effective and fiscally “business minded” government officials should be doing annually is to review funded programs to validate that the money is being appropriately used with accountability and measures in place to validate prudent government spending of tax payers’ money.

    One thing that the congress exploits is that tax payers do not really have a concept as to how government gets its money. The money acquired by government is taken in the form of taxes and fees from hard working tax payers dedicated to going to work every day. That is the single most important machine that churns money for government official to freely spend. And keep in mind, the people who pays the most taxes into the system, and I’m not talking about the so called “rich,” seldom gets back half of what they’ve paid into the system. Case and point, take a look at your projected statement from the Social Security Administration. If tax payers had an option to place their retirement money elsewhere they would exponentially get a better rate of return. As an easy example to compare, just see the retirement plan option for railroad workers. According to the Social Security Administration, railroad workers have the choice under the Railroad Retirement Benefit (RRB) which offers unique unemployment and sickness benefits, as well as Tier II benefits that resemble private pensions for their retirement plan. Tier I benefits that RRB provides for its beneficiaries are designed to take the place of Social Security. https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v68n2/v68n2p41.html Under the Railroad Retirement Benefit plan those retirees realize exponentially more retirement earnings than those placed into the Social Security System.

    A budget plan that does not put spending reduction as a priority is not a good budget. Real government spending controls will only be realized if across the board zero based budgeting in place.

    The congress cannot continue business as usual to say that they have to pay for reductions before reductions takes place. This thinking is asinine at its best and will not make the government budget “business like.”

    For spending cuts to take place and bring government accountability and measures for spending hard earned tax dollars, it will take bold leadership by the very people who claim to want to do what’s right by the American tax payers. Zero based budgeting will be that vehicle.

    Jennifer Carroll

    Former Lieutenant Governor

    << Back to previous page