Four practical steps:
1. Balance the budget.
2. Audit all Federal agencies and laws.
3. Show the effectiveness of charitable organizations
4. Exempt with a tax rebate for donations to certified effective charities
1. Balance the budget. Retired admiral and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, was not exaggerating when he warned that “the single biggest threat to our national security is our debt.” On the first day of my administration I would deliver to Congress a detailed balanced budget. While Congress debates and considers this plan, I will declare a National Fiscal Emergency and, by executive order, direct every government agency to apply stict controls to limit spending to available revenue. Not one single dollar will be added to our 18 Trillion dollar debt. The debt clock will stop dead.
2. Audit the Federal Government. Every agency and every federal law exist to serve a purpose, to make a difference in the world. Some may work well, and others poorly. The world is a complicated place, and there is a Law of Unintended Consequences. A law may be well intentioned, but cause no improvement at all, or at times make matters worse. For every agency and every federal law, objective measurable survey instruments will be used to give evidence whether they are working, making people safer, more secure, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or sheltering the homeless. If the law is not working - it is repealed. If the agency is not improving the situation - it is eliminated. The job would be given to the Government Accountability Office whose mission is "to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced."
3. Show the Effectiveness of charitable organizations. The same survey instruments used to evaluate whether government laws and agencies are meeting their goals will be used voluntarily to evaluate the effectiveness of charitable organizations in meeting these same social goals. If charitable organization are equally or of greater effectiveness dollar for dollar than the federal government in making people safer, more secure, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or sheltering the homeless or any other government social goal, that charity would be certified as an Effective Social Organization.
4. Exempt. If American taxpayers decide to donate to any charity certified as an Effective Social Organization, the taxpayer would not get just a tax deduction, but a dollar for dollar tax credit. This essentially causes an equivalent reduction in tax owed, making donations to Effective Social Organization free.
Because the tax credit, billions of dollars being donated to these organization would cause a immediate revenue shortage. Because the budget is required to be balanced, spending cuts would be immediate and automatic. These cuts would be based on information, not politics. Because the government programs to be cut would be those that are managed more effectively by the voluntary charitable organizations.
This would lead to a simultaneous dramatic shrinking of the cost and intrusiveness of the Federal government and an expansion and empowerment of the private social safety net.
IMAGE: "Dublin Castle Gates of Fortitude and Justice 05" by J.-H. Janßen - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dublin_Castle_Gates_of_Fortitude_and_Justice_05.JPG#/media/File:Dublin_Castle_Gates_of_Fortitude_and_Justice_05.JPG