My comments address what I feel is lacking in much of our governmental actions - prevention of the problem in the 1st place.
(I put these comments in the Nay side primarily because many of our elected and appointed folks have missed the mark for us)
Let’s face it, our Federal government provides a wide range of services that are embedded in our day to day activities. To keep these services going, to pay for the people and infrastructure to keep these activities open for business, can be accomplished with a smarter Congressional process.
A bit of perspective: Our Federal government spent close to $4 trillion of our dollars on average over the last 2 years, about $12000 for every adult and child in this country. And any $5 billion of dollars is about .125% of our federal taxes; the interest on our federal debt, much paid to foreign powers, comes in at 48 times higher, about 6% of our federal spending.
On the 1st day of every Federal Congressional budgeting cycle:
Pass a single Omnibus “cost of doing Federal business” bill that funds all Federal departments, agencies, and programs in the amount of 50% of their previous 2-year average, minus capital expenditures and the salary/wages for both the top 20% of earners in every Executive department and all our members of Congress.
On maybe the 2nd day, start a finite duration next phase of the budgeting process. On a prioritized basis, based on what I think 70% of us believe are our Federal priorities, initiate and pass 4 additional Omnibus “Federal Services” bills that funds groupings of Federal departments in the amount of another 35% of their last 2 year average spend, plus signed / previously committed capital expenditures, but still minus the dollars for our highest paid and powerful elected and appointed people.... In this phase, cuts to programs and departments (monetarily up to the 35% available in this phase) can be debated and voted on in this phase. (Yes, it may take 3 to 4 budget cycles to eliminate a previously funded Federal program, agency, department. As long as we are overspending into our next generation’s well-being, I think 70% of us wants Congress to address spending reductions 1st before spending additions.)
The below list of federal departments and agencies may have a bit of room for movement between priorities, but the overall intent is clear - focus overall on what is important and logically connected to keep our nation moving forward.
Priority 1: Protection for Americans from foreign powers as well as from foreign and domestic individuals (Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State, and Judicial Branch, as well as the independent agencies of CIA, Office of Director of National Intelligence, NASA, NSA, and Selective Service System)
Priority 2: Protection for American’s health (Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs, as well as independent agencies of EPA, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Social Security Administration)
Priority 3: Protection for America’s commerce and finance (Departments of Commerce, Energy, Interior, Transportation, Treasury, as well as independent agencies of Federal Reserve, FCC, FDIC, FTC, GSA, SEC, Small Business Administration, and USPS)
Priority 4: Advancement and Oversight (Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor, as well as all other Independent and Quasi-Official Agencies except Executive Office of the President and Legislative Branch)
By this point, our Federal government will be funded to close to 85% of its ongoing operations for the upcoming budget year. If your elected official votes against any of the above, please feel free to vote against them - because they’ve voted against your basic Federal services. I seriously doubt that 70% of us believe we should shut down more than 15% of a Federal Department in a single year; if Federal programs should be reduced / eliminated, Congress should address this via as much debate as went into the decision to add it.
It’s the next stage of budgeting where our elected officials should be “creative”. In this next to final phase, Congress tackles the balance of Federal spending including “new / increased funding for Federal services” along the above priority-based phases.
And of course, lastly, Congress can tackle Executive and Congressional pay (Departments of Executive Office of the President and Legislative Branch).
My bet is one or more of our States, in what I believe shows that the American Experiment is a bit still alive and well, follows a similar logical process for state budgeting.
Yes, we need to get out of the current quagmire, but let’s prevent our government from ever falling into a large shutdown again, especially over .125% and more especially when any of our federal first responders are caught in the trap of politics.