Clinton promises nearly $300 billion in new spending

In what’s shaping up to be a race of who can spend the most, Hillary Clinton on Sunday released a new plan she says would bring jobs and economic development — at a steep price tag.

Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled the first piece of a new jobs agenda on Sunday, promising hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh federal spending in an effort to compete with the liberal economic policies of her primary challengers.

Her initial proposal, a $275 billion infrastructure plan, falls short of the $1 trillion pledged by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to rebuild the nation’s crumbling bridges, ports, highways and airports. But it marks an effort by Clinton to fulfill her party’s desire to use national programs to boost the middle class without alienating independent voters more concerned with increasing the federal deficit.

It’s perhaps telling — and unsettling — that nearly $300 billion in new federal spending is considered a compromise for those concerned about the debt.

Spending at such massive levels does not occur in a vacuum. Irresponsible spending can have ripple effects across the entire economy and drive even more reckless policies on the credit card. People across the political spectrum want government to stop spending recklessly, and political candidates would do well to stop pandering with our tax money.


Coalition urges Congressional leadership to adopt cost-saving flood standards

Today, SmarterSafer, a broad coalition of which CRS is a member, sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging the adoption of Federal Flood Risk Management Standards and a greater emphasis on mitigation, not putting taxpayers on the hook for greater costs when disaster strikes.

As the letter states,

Natural disasters wreak havoc on communities and their residents. The scale and cost of natural disasters has been on the rise; so too has the federal share of disaster costs and the amount the federal government spends to clean up and rebuild after a disaster strikes.  Unfortunately, while the federal spending post-disaster has dramatically increased over the last few decades, spending on proven, pre-disaster planning and mitigation still falls woefully short of what is needed to better protect people and their property.  We know that mitigation, and smarter safer building protects people and their property.

Read the full letter here.

Bydlak: Now more than ever, keep an eye on spending

Writing in Rare yesterday, CRS President Jonathan Bydlak responds to recent tragedies in Paris and worldwide unrest, arguing that in times like these, it’s all the more important to focus on the Pentagon pocketbook.

Especially in times of international crisis, even the most stringent of fiscal conservatives want the nation’s military to be funded adequately and the constitutional duty to ensure the national defense fulfilled.

It’s perfectly fair, though – even necessary – to question whether the nation’s safety is rising as fast as military contractor stock. After all, ensuring the national defense does not necessarily mean spending more, and it certainly does not mean spending unwisely. Did the $120 million for new Abrams Tanks in last year’s defense bill keep us safe? The Army leadership who have repeatedly said they do not want more tanks would likely disagree. . .

Despite small recent limits, the Pentagon budget remains massive. It’s the single biggest non-entitlement driver of our national debt, and its bureaucracy is riddled with a well-established history of waste and abuse. This enormous system hasn’t even been audited!

Terrorist attacks and foreign threats do not make these problems disappear. Instead, they make the urgency for fixing them that much greater.

Read the full piece here.

CRS joins broad coalition opposing Sea-based Deterrence Fund misuse

The Coalition to Reduce Spending was proud to sign on today to a broad coalition letter urging appropriators to exclude Sec. 10017 of the House-passed defense appropriations act, which would have authorized up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money to be transferred to the sea-based deterrence fund.

As the letter points out, “the sea-based deterrence fund is a gimmick that would take pressure off of the Navy to set priorities among different Navy programs, which are all national programs, based on both the strategic need and affordability.”

Read the letter in full here.

Can free-market incentives help cut spending?

According to a new paper from the R Street Institute, the answer is yes — they could.

In myriad sectors of the U.S. economy, from military technology to medical care, the federal government serves as the single-largest spender. As such, many of the innovations, inventions and discoveries that could propel economic growth in the future also would have a direct and measurable impact on federal spending.

To offer an incentive to research and development that yields significant taxpayer savings, we propose an “innovation savings program” that would serve as an alternative to the traditional patent system. The program would reward teams or individuals who develop discoveries or technologies that produce federal budget savings. In effect, a portion of those savings would be set aside for the discoverers. To be eligible for these rewards, the researchers and inventors would not receive patents on their discoveries or processes.

This perpetual, self-funded federal prize system would be based, in part, on the successful False Claims Act and Medicare Recovery Audit programs. Payouts would be administered by an independent or executive agency, verified by the Government Accountability Office and overseen by Congress to ensure fair and effective implementation.

Read the full piece here.


Learn More