Tuesday night, Rep. Keith Ellison, (DFL-MN), got kicked off Sean Hannity's show because he wouldn't admit that sequestration was President Obama's idea. When Hannity said Sen. Baucus, (D-MT), and legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward said sequestration was President Obama's idea, Ellison refused to admit it.
While Rep. Ellison was protesting whether President Obama's statements were truthful (they weren't), Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-OK), provided the leadership to solve the US debt crisis. First, Sen. Coburn wrote this letter to the administration. Then he put together a list of recommendations to eliminate wasteful spending. Here are some of the practical pieces of advice from Sen. Coburn's recommendations:
- Institute immediate federal hiring freeze for nonessential personnel
- End unnecessary travel, including administration's 100 city spending tour and federal employees attending conferences
- Furlough squirrels not screeners: no more wasteful spending such as robosquirrels, turtle tunnels, snow cones, pottery classes, underwater robot, Martian food tastings
- Find savings from unobligated and unspent funds. According to OMB, the federal government began FY2013 with over $2 trillion in unspent funding, 39% of which has yet to be obligated.
It's indisputable that President Obama hasn't offered this as an alternative to sequestration. Rep. Ellison hasn't proposed this either. If you thought that was the comprehensive list of places where the federal government wasted money, this information will correct that bit of naivete:
- Suspend all unnecessary purchases- no flat screen TVs, blackberries, iPads or laptops
- Consolidate duplicative federal positions at overlapping federal programs.
We're getting closer to the end of Sen. Coburn's list of wasteful spending but we're far from close to the end of Sen. Coburn's list. Here's a list of duplicative programs and how much the federal government is spending on these duplicative programs:
- 15 financial literacy programs spread across 13 agencies, spending $30,000,000
- 94 green buildings programs spread across 11 agencies, estimated cost: $1,000,000,000
- 160 housing assistance programs spread across 20 agencies, spending $170,000,000,000
- 253 DoJ grant programs spread across 10 agencies, spending $3,900,000,000
- 50 Early learning and child care programs spread across 9 agencies, spending $16,000,000,000
- 50 Employment Assistance for Disabled Individuals spread across 9 agencies, spending $3,500,000,000
- 53 Support of entrepreneurs programs spread across 4 agencies, spending $2,600,000,000
That isn't a comprehensive list of duplicative programs. Those items cost the US taxpayer almost $200,000,000,000 each year. That's more than double the amount of sequestration.
This is a startling contrast. President Obama and Rep. Ellison are employing fear tactics in order to pressure Republicans into another tax increase. Sen. Coburn has put together a document that's aimed at solving DC's spending addiction problem.
The attached video shows that people living in Minnesota's Fifth District are represented by a man prone to dishonesty and temper tantrums. By comparison, the state of Oklahoma is represented by a solutions-oriented man.
That's quite the contrast and not one that shines favorably on Rep. Ellison.