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Downsize Congress

By Tyler S. Clark (Contact)

Published June 8, 2009

As long as we're looking for budget cuts, a curious proposal that's floating around suggests we take a second look at the size of Congress. Do we need 435 members?

Each representative gets $174,000, not including the salaries paid to their staffers. One estimate puts the total staff salaries per representative at $1.3 Million. Say we just arbitrarily reduced the number by 50%. This move alone would save $320 Million. This is before including the billions in earmarks arranged by them that would also be saved.

This proposal also suggests halving the Senate, though I would have a bit more reluctance about that, given its potential for bipartisan representation of the states in a two-party system.

What proposals would you put forth for cutting the federal budget? 


1Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 7 years ago

The population of the USA has grown, so the # of representatives should not decrease. By contrast, the population of Youngstown has decreased, therefore the # of councilmembers should decrease.

That is not to say that congressional personal expenses should not decrease, or even their and their staffers' income.

Regarding balancing the Federal budget, my suggestions are to reduce spending by:

1. Phase out entitlements over 50 years
2. Phase out entitlements over 50 years
3. Phase out entitlements over 50 years
4. Let self-destructive businesses destruct (ie, don't give them money borrowed from China, Saudi Arabia and our great-grandchildren). Well managed banks, automakers, mortgage lenders will increase their market share and increase hiring, etc.
5. True healthcare reform (Tort reform, etc) will reduce expenditures from Medicare and Medicaid until these programs are phased out.
6. Reduce government bureacracy. A Fair Tax would greatly reduce the size of the IRS.

I believe that revenues could be increased by expanding the tax base, not by cap-and-trade or a VAT, but by a Fair Tax. The Fair Tax should be phased in while the penalty for working (Income Tax) should be phased out. Imagine drug dealers and prostitutes paying taxes too!

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2Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 7 years ago

I was remiss to not add a #7 to my post above...restrictions on the Federal legislature's ability to spend money, aka "pork reform". The current system is failing miserably as we elect folks with no fiscal discipline. The federal legislature should only fund the military, federal offices or projects on federal property or highways. The states (consistent with the 10th amendment) would fund their own roads, dams, bridges, aquariums, etc. No more "big dig" or "bridge to nowhere."

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3irishfan91(97 comments)posted 7 years ago

the amount of money for the staffers seems to be excessive. I would cut there. Not sure about the representatives themselves.

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4JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years ago

I'm with irish. Cost of living in DC/Northern VA is outrageous though, I would look at number of staffers rather than what they make.

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5valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years ago

If you want to cut the budget, you simply vote out President Obama in 2012 and vote out all Senators and Representatives in Congress in 2010 that voted for the massive spending under Bush and Obama.

By voting out Obama, we will not have to worry about a $1.85 trillion deficit!

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6valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years ago

Romney 2012!
Only Republican who's approval rating is as high, if not higher than Obama's on some days.

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7epicfail(217 comments)posted 7 years ago

Good luck with that valleyred. Romney isn't a bad guy, don't get me wrong, but chunks of your base think he's the guy the show "Big Love" is based on.

Then again... we did vote in a secret muslim!

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8valleyred(1103 comments)posted 7 years ago

I had issues with his the whole Mormon thing at first, but after hearing him speak over the past year, I really believe Romney is the only Republican that can beat Obama. I'd love to see the two debate.

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9epicfail(217 comments)posted 7 years ago

"I'd love to see the two debate."

Agreed! That would be interesting....

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10andersonathan(683 comments)posted 7 years ago

I would be happy with term limits in congress and senate. not saying you still can not run for some thing else. Then down size congress.

But I must ask who do we petition to do this our congressmen? Of course Tim Ryan might do it, after voting for cap and tax this week he might do any thing.

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