Home > Budget > Tea Party Electees Struggle to Suggest Budget Cuts

Tea Party Electees Struggle to Suggest Budget Cuts

November 7th, 2010

The Huffington Post:

Signaling how difficult it will be for the Republican Party to live up to its campaign promises of cutting spending while preserving the Bush tax cuts and not cutting benefits for seniors, Tea Party favorites Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.) struggled on Sunday to actually name any specific cuts they plan on making.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Christiane Amanpour repeatedly pressed Paul to move beyond “slogans and platitudes” to “direct information” on how the Republican Party will balance the budget and cut the deficit.

Paul immediately reiterated that he was going to push for a balanced budget amendment and said that cuts needed to come from across the board — including defense spending. Whenever Amanpour asked whether a specific program — such as Medicare, Social Security and health care — would be cut, Paul simply kept reiterating that he was going to be looking “across the board.” He was unable, however, to actually name anything significant that would be on the chopping block.

It’s easy to criticize when someone else has the ball.  Now the ball is in DeMint’s and Paul’s court, it isn’t quite as easy to do the slice and dice thing on the budget.  Those who criticized the loudest will continue to be questioned, every single day.  The clock started Wednesday, November 3.  We expect great results.  Surely those with the best sound bites can come up with a cut or two.  So far all I have seen is BS and blather.  It seems we have evolved some since 1789.

AMANPOUR: One significant one. No, but you can’t just keep saying all across the board.

PAUL: Well, no, I can, because I’m going to look at every program, every program. But I would freeze federal hiring. I would maybe reduce federal employees by 10 percent. I’d probably reduce their wages by 10 percent. The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year. The average private employee makes $60,000 a year. Let’s get them more in line, and let’s find savings. Let’s hire no new federal workers.

 

Where is he getting these figures from?  How do we not hire more federal workers?  Someone today said to cut FBI agents.  Get serious. 

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  1. Raymond Beverage
    November 7th, 2010 at 23:14 | #1

    “The average federal employee makes $120,000 a year.”

    ohhh really??!!?? Gee, somebody ought to tell my big sister who is an LPN working in the Peds Clinic at Navy Hospital Camp Lejuene NC. She is a GS-7 maxed out for $44K+ a year. She retires in two years. Think her hourly rate is somewhere around $30, but it has taken her a whole career to reach that amount.

    Think I’ll cut and paste the news item in an email to her…seems nobody is telling the workabee masses what that average is!

    • November 7th, 2010 at 23:32 | #2

      @Mr. B

      I thought that sounded extremely high. Where are these clowns getting these figures? When the CEO of Anthem makes $10 million dollars, I find it hard to believe that private industry is that far below government levels. Someone is comparing apples to oranges, methinks.

  2. Pat.Herve
    November 7th, 2010 at 23:38 | #3

    The rubber meets the road now, and they cannot continue with just sound bites. They just say “Waste, Fraud and Abuse”.

    I do hope that they can get the budget and deficit under control. I will give Boehner and the house the opportunity to do just that once they get into office, and lets see what vision/ideas they have. I also hope that they do not go down a path of proposing unrealistic proposals and then saying that are prevented from doing anything. Partisan bickering will not get us to where we need to be.

  3. marinm
    November 7th, 2010 at 23:39 | #4

    Raymond, it’s been discussed before but I know your new to the blog. Ref http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-08-10-1Afedpay10_ST_N.htm

    It’s for pay and benefits (i.e. total compensation) not just straight salary.

  4. Raymond Beverage
    November 8th, 2010 at 00:03 | #5

    Marinm, thanks for the article link…I’ll give them this much they acknowledge the lower paying jobs are outsourced. The GS-4 Admin Asssistant I had once upon a time made a whopping $25K a year, with benefits bringing it up to around $30k or so.

    I am long familiar with this arguement on government vs. civilian pay. It bled over to the military side of the house, and every year we used to get these papers saying this is what our Annual Compensation total dollar value is if we factor in Base Pay, Housing, Medical, etc etc etc based on our civilian equivalent. I always enjoyed that paper – especially at 4 a.m. standing in my military quarters with lead paint on the walls, and the cockroaches complaining I had no cream to go with the coffee.

    Taking my sister again as the example, even factoring in her benefits, it probably comes up to $50K a year after working 26 years in Civil Service. I also think I see where the average being quoted is coming from.

    If you factor in the top pay being the Senior Executive Service pulling in base pay beginning at $150K – $200K a year, then it starts to make sense where that average of $120K comes from…considering many of the lower grade GS-1 to GS-4 positions are long, long gone.

  5. marinm
    November 8th, 2010 at 00:39 | #6

    Roger. I worked for a guy that got out as a SSgt in the Corps. When he went Contractor he thought he just needed a few thousand more than what he was currently making (salary-wise) to make ends meet. He didn’t take into account that in the private sector benefits cost money. He ended up leaving two months later when he couldn’t make ends meet. The idea of ‘total compensation’ for him was learned after that point. :)

    But, as you can remember from those AC statements what you see on your paycheck is only a part of what it costs the govt (the taxpayer) to keep you employed. And, that number climbs for those that retire with 20+ years of service. The private sector doesn’t care about 5, 10, 15, 20, or even 40 years of service. You (for the most part) get what you put in to your retirement plan (as most companies don’t offer pensions anymore) unless of course your a union employee. The Postal and Treasury services also skew (muck up) the numbers you see on the USA Today story as those compensation/benefits/retirement skew up for them.

    “Averages, of course, hide a lot of critical information. Every federal employee is paid more or less than the average. For example, federal agencies employ 15,500 “medical officers” paid an average of $185,000. There are also 23,700 lawyers paid an average of $131,000. I agree that’s too many and far too much, but these two categories pull up the average. The Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission employ 1,850 nuclear engineers who are paid $122,000 each. Clearly, government has its share of high-demand, high-pay occupations.” – Govexec.com

    My current job is slated for ‘conversion’ to the government service. Assuming I accept the offer (GS13/8) my base comp will be 109,807. Not bad for a 1.1 high school GPA. Add to that my federal benefits (my company benefits are worth about 22K IIRC). So, my base pay and benefits go up if I accept the govt’s offer. After a year of service — good luck firing me for poor performance. ;)

    I think the only GS4 positions left are the guys that hand out basketballs at the gym on base. In my field (IT) the lowest GS I’ve seen/talked to was an 11.

    FWIW, I’m not sure I’m going to convert. I’m stalling and haven’t made up my mind.

  6. I’m baaaack… as hello
    November 8th, 2010 at 08:05 | #7

    These guys haven’t even been sworn in yet and the George Soros funded Huffington Post is already bashing them for not having ‘specifics’?

    • November 8th, 2010 at 11:55 | #8

      @ I’m back …sort of…

      Arianna Huffington has enough money to fund her own paper.

      It doesn’t matter if they have been sworn in or not. They can still have goals. Have you checked around to see how many other news groups have called on both tea party and republicans to state their goals? You might want to look before you start bashing.

  7. November 8th, 2010 at 12:55 | #9

    Ryan has had an entire program out. NO media published. Heritage and Cato (not the poster here) have also had cut plans, which I linked to elsewhere.

  8. Slowpoke Rodriguez
    November 8th, 2010 at 13:23 | #10

    I heard the audio this morning on the way to work. They sounded as specific as they could get. Hopefully, people have learned that if AAhhhhhriana HuffandPuff is upset, you must be doing it right.

  9. Slowpoke Rodriguez
    November 8th, 2010 at 13:24 | #11

    They want specifics like the libs have offered: I want everyone to pay more taxes!

  10. marinm
    November 8th, 2010 at 13:34 | #12

    Some information at the state level.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/us/politics/08govs.html

  11. November 8th, 2010 at 12:38 | #13

    If those 2 had specific cuts, why didn’t they articulate them?

    It doesn’t matter where it comes from, Slow. the deflection isn’t going to fly. Your guys can’t seem to spit it out. Blaming Arianna for their inability to articulate budget cuts is just wimpy. Shooting the messenger doesn’t make it go away once we move out of sound bite territory.

  12. November 8th, 2010 at 13:19 | #14

    I actually want more people to pay taxes too. Everyone above the poverty level pays 15% of the money above the poverty level. If we must have an income tax, then everyone has to have a stake in it. Too many people are voting in politicians that promise the moon, but they don’t pay for it.

  13. November 8th, 2010 at 15:24 | #15

    not everyone, if I may be a lib for a moment, Slow, just the upper 2%. And there are creative ways to do that.

    Actually, I agree with Cargo, I think. Too many people are escaping with no federal taxes being paid. I am not even sure Iwould make it 15%. I might make it just a little–but pay something.

  14. Slowpoke Rodriguez
    November 8th, 2010 at 19:39 | #16

    I’m a flat-tax fan myself. No escapes, no excuses, just a flat tax.

  15. Raymond Beverage
    November 8th, 2010 at 21:23 | #17

    When the great Warren Buffet comes out and says he is not paying enough tax, the world can’t be all bad!

  16. November 8th, 2010 at 23:22 | #18

    There’s nothing stopping Buffet from putting his money where his mouth is….oh. Wait.

    He just put it into a protected trust….for charity. Instead of paying more to the government.

    If he wants to pay more taxes, let him. He can pay mine.

  17. Starryflights
    November 10th, 2010 at 02:45 | #19

    If those tea baggers are serious about deficit reduction, they need to cut social security and medicare. Cutting the federal workforce, in addition to weakening the DC area’s already shaky economy, will barely make a dent in the deficit.

    • November 10th, 2010 at 04:39 | #20

      @Starry, I don’t think they have the nads.

      They don’t need an entire army of gray panthers after them.

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