There is no doubt in my mind that our senators and congressmen have no sense of responsibility when it comes to being good stewards of our taxpayer money. They spend our dollars as if there is no tomorrow and it means nothing to them, after all, the money is allocated to them so why not spend it?
One senator is trying to set an example for the rest of the Capital Hill crowd, but his actions will likely go unnoticed or even make him a pariah among his peers. Rand Paul, (R-KY) has managed his senate office budget very closely. He has controlled spending and cut wherever possible. They tracked everything from travel expenses, to computers, paper, ink cartridges and every other office expense. In the process, he has reduced his office spending by $600,000 this past year. The year before it was $500,000 he saved.
So what did Paul do with the excess money? He returned it to the US Treasury. In the past two years, he has returned $1.1 million to the Treasury. In a press conference, Paul says that one of the problems with Congress and many sectors of the private world is that they are taught to spend every dime allocated to them. If they don’t spend it all, they won’t get as much money the next year.
It’s that way in the private sector as well. My dad worked for a utility as a foreman. Every year they were allocated so much money for the renovation and repairs of the local canal system. Dad developed a way to renovate twice as much canal for less money and his renovations lasted longer than the others. In one year, he saved just over $1 million. His reward was a royal butt chewing by his boss and his boss’s boss. He was told to spend every penny that was allocated to him or else.
Paul encourages all government employees to cut spending where they can. He also advocates establishing a bonus system to reward those who do save significant amounts of spending.
If every Senator was forced to cut their budget by $500,000 a year, which is what Rand Paul has managed to do, that would be a savings of $50 million a year. If Representatives were also forced to cut their office budgets by the same amount that would be another $217.5 million saved per year for a combined annual savings of $267.5 million.
I imagine the same could be done for members of the Executive Branch as well. If Obama just took one vacation a year like everyone else in America and didn’t take along every family and friend, that alone could result in a savings $50 million a year. When all is said and done, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an annual savings over $500 million or more.
If every government office was given the same mandate, we would see annual savings of billions of dollars. Come to think about it, what we need is a treasury secretary like Ebenezer Scrooge before his ghostly visits. Someone as tight as him to control every penny of federal spending, starting with the White House and foreign aid. Imagine every government worker having to account for every penny they spend. Better yet, they have to submit a request to get the money first and justify the expenditure before it can be spent. I’ve worked with companies that operate like that and that’s how they are able to stay in business.
My hat goes off to Sen. Rand Paul and I hope that other senators and congressmen follow his example.