Where are the results of increased government spending?

The Minnesota DailyâÄôs Feb. 14 cartoon was about Cupid shooting the Republican Party with an arrow. Right after that, it plowed over America, personified as a bald eagle, to chase the âÄúGov. spending cutsâÄù it had fallen in love with. On the poor maimed eagle were written the following words: land conservation, education, defense, energy, transportation, agriculture, and labor. It was a funny comic and I did, literally, laugh out loud a bit. However, I thought about it a little more and took a closer look at some of the words on the eagle:
Land conservation: In the same edition of the Daily, there was a column by Josh Villa about a conservation method that has already been proven in some ways to work that would apply to every last animal on the endangered species list and cost the federal government, the state governments and you the reader/taxpayer zero dollars. Sound crazy? Read his column.
Education: If we adjust for inflation, federal spending on schools has doubled per student over the past three decades in grades K-12. Over that time, student learning has not markedly improved, at least according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Defense: As a veteran, I can make a specific recommendation that would promote better efficiency in spending and allow us to spend less. Give them a budget and do not require them to spend all the money in a given year. Assign percentages of the overall defense budget to each branch and let them decide on their own what to spend and what to save.
The reality of federal spending is that if a certain office doesnâÄôt spend all the money they are given, they get less the next year. They get punished for planning long term, saving money and even just trying to not waste money. Changing that pattern would result in instant savings all across the military budget, if not the whole federal government.
Energy: The Department of Energy was created in October of 1977. About 11 percent of the energy used in our country was from a âÄúrenewableâÄù source. Also, 30 years ago we imported 28 percent of the oil we use. Today, our renewable energy use is about 9 percent in this country, and we import about 60 percent of our oil.
So letâÄôs see, it seems we import more oil and use less renewable energy than when we started. If they arenâÄôt doing their job, why do we even pay for a Department of Energy in the first place?
Transportation: Amtrak is a government-owned train network that carries people across the country. It was created by the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 and organized on May 1, 1971.
It has never turned a profit, and we the taxpayers have given the government about $40 billion to subsidize it since it was created.
Now, IâÄôm not a Republican, but I completely agree with cutting the federal umbilical cord with this overgrown money waster. If people really want a train system in this country, we will pay for it ourselves the same way we wanted fast food and made McDonaldâÄôs or Wal-Mart the corporate giants they are today.
In the end, I have a hard time finding anything in the government that we canâÄôt trim or just cut outright.
It would allow our government to start getting itself out of debt, and we wouldnâÄôt have our taxes raised again in a bunch of subtle but no less effective ways. I welcome articles talking about how increased size in government has actually led to a net benefit or what service the federal government provides that canâÄôt be cut âÄî whole or in part.
We should flood the Daily with our educated opinions and keep this conversation going. After all, the First Amendment is a terrible thing to waste.