Saturday, December 21, 2013

Congressman Phil Roe: 100 Reasons to Cut Spending

by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. 1st District Tennessee,

Each year, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) releases a Wastebook. This document lists 100 projects that are questionable uses of taxpayer dollars. Now that the House and Senate have agreed on a plan to avoid future government shutdowns and reduce the deficit by $23 billion, it’s time we go a step further and look at each line item in the federal budget to identify waste, fraud and abuse. Senator Coburn’s report identifies nearly $30 billion in savings—a useful first step toward lowering our $17 trillion debt. While you might be able to debate the merits of certain projects listed in the senator’s report, there are projects listed that are undoubtedly a waste of tax dollars.  

Just a few of these projects include:
  • A home loan program backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helped more than 100 individuals purchase a residence in Hawaii.
  •  A $100 million endeavor at the National Endowment of the Humanities intended to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, song and internet fan fiction”.
  • A tax deduction for brothels in Nevada totaling roughly $17.5 million.
  • At least $379 million spent to promote Obamacare and fix
  • Salary and benefits for the Fort Hood shooter.
  • $3.5 million on solar panels at Manchester-Boston airport that were eventually covered because the glare was dangerous to pilots and controllers.
  • $630,000 to increase Facebook likes for the State Department
There is no question that tax dollars should be not used to research romance novels, provide tax relief to brothels or increase likes on social media sites. And before the government invests in things like solar panels, which can help lower costs in some cases, we should be researching all possible outcomes to ensure that 3.5 million tax dollars aren’t wasted on an investment that will not work because of safety concerns.

Still, many liberals argue that the only way to cut our debt is to raise taxes on the “wealthy” to make sure everyone is paying their “fair share”. A new report released by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, found that the top 40 percent of earners pay 106 percent of individual income taxes. How is that possible?  It’s because there are so many so-called “refundable” tax benefits that are guaranteed in full to the beneficiary, regardless of whether they have any income tax liability.

The truth is: we don’t have a revenue problem in this country, we have a spending problem, and the only way to get our country’s fiscal house back in order is to stop spending money we don’t have. Senator Coburn’s report identifies billions of dollars in savings potential, and now that we’ve returned to regular order in the budgeting process, I look forward to taking a hard look at the budget and fighting to eliminate frivolous government spending.  

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website,

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