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Washington needs budget advice from Texas

Jan. 16, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

It's bad enough politicians loaded the fiscal cliff settlement and Hurricane Sandy relief package with hundreds of millions of dollars of porkbarrel projects for political friends and special interests, but the $18 billion loss of taxpayer money so President Obama could reward union stooges in the auto industry bailout shows a total lack of fiscal responsibility.

What are taxpayers going to get from saving typically overpaid United Auto Workers worker jobs? Certainly not cheaper cars or a lesson for the Fed about how the unpaid billions could have been used had Government Motors (GM) repaid the bailout, in full, like Lee Iococoa did at Chrysler decades before or the profits the Fed made from forcing AIG to sell its most profitable accounts during the banking industry bailout.

Perhaps the leaders in Washington, D.C., could learn about responsible money handling from Texas. For example, between 1993-2003, Texas expanded its criminal justice system to address problems with overcrowding, and by the time the expansion ended, more than 74 additional prisons, state jails and correctional youth facilities were put into service at the taxpayer cost of $2 billion. When the project was completed, everybody employed by Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Inmate Construction Group, excluding the incarcerated inmate workers, was laid off so Governor Perry could make good on a campaign promise giving teachers a pay raise.

While nobody liked losing his/her job as a skilled state employee, it was a wise financial move that benefited taxpayers three fold: by accomplishing its goal without waste or additional taxpayer expense, by avoiding setting up a civil servant entitlement program to save employee jobs and by not creating a slush fund for rewarding special interests or buy votes among political friends.

If only the U.S. Congress and President Obama could be as monetarily responsible, the United States could learn to spend only what it brings in and over time reduce the $16 trillion-plus national debt piling up on us, our children, grandchildren and future posterity by ending useless programs, halting wasteful handouts, closing inefficient agencies and laying off unproductive civil servants. If only ...

Mack Simons, Wharton

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