As the GOP debates continue and the next election year draws ever closer, the Presidential candidates continue to offer their plans for how they would run the government if elected. Rick Perry recently released another plan that goes into detail on cuts he would make to the major branches of government.
Perry has said before that he would freeze federal civilian hiring and salaries until the federal budget is balanced. While this new plan has less potential for direct impact on the federal workforce, there are still some proposals which, if enacted, would affect at least some federal employees.
The following is a summary of some of the key cost cutting measures that Rick Perry has proposed in his latest plan to “uproot and overhaul Washington.”
Create a part-time, citizen Congress
According to Perry, the United States does not need a full time Congress, but rather, a part-time Congress made up of private citizens who serve without pay for the good of their communities. He notes that rules preventing Congress from holding private sector jobs must be repealed in this effort.
Criminalize Congressional insider trading
It was reported recently that members of Congress had participated in insider trading and profited from doing so. Perry said that lawmakers who bailout publicly traded corporations should not use any inside information to make gains from investments that will be directly affected by actions of Congress.
Cut spending for Congressional staff
Perry notes that the founders of the country managed to draft the Declaration of Independence, direct the American Revolution, and write the Constitution without aid of staff members; therefore he believes that Congress can make do without the 15,000+ staffers it employed as of 2009.
Perry says that the courts often are filled with activist judges who ignore the Constitution and legislate from the bench. His hallmark proposal to deal with this is to end lifetime judicial appointments, namely to the Supreme Court, possibly via a Constitutional amendment to create 18-year terms staggered every two years, so that each of the nine justices would be replaced in order of seniority every other year.
Perry’s proposed reforms would have the most direct impact on federal employees if enacted in this area. Some of his proposals include the following:
- Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- Conduct a full audit of the federal government to eliminate waste and fraud
- Eliminate the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, and the Department of Energy
Funding and authority for education would be returned to the states, and duties of the other two agencies would be returned to “more appropriate departments.”
- Reconstruct the Department of Homeland Security
No specifics were provided here, but Perry’s report notes that GAO has noted that DHS has mismanaged funds as it has grown to be the third largest federal agency, with $256 million being identified as mismanaged in 2010 alone.
- Transform the Transportation Security Administration
Perry’s proposal for the TSA is to make it into a public-private partnership which would allow airports to hire private screening companies with federal oversight.
- Reconstruct the Environmental Protection Agency
Perry calls for dismantling the EPA in its current state and changing it into a limited organization that addresses only national or regional issues and returns more matters to the states.
Under the realm of federal spending, Perry’s plan makes these suggestions:
- Cap federal spending at 18% of GDP
- Require pay-for-performance for politicians and bureaucrats
- Reduce non-discretionary spending by $100 billion (excluding defense) the first year
- End bailouts
- Institute automatic government shutdown protection to fund government in event of Congressional stalemate
- Permanently ban earmarks