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  • WebMemo posted June 24, 2005 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser Awakening to the Need for Budget Accountability

    Is Congress finally becoming aware that growth in federal spending has gotten out of control? Although a single hearing shouldn't spark excessive exuberance among the fiscally responsible, there is some evidence that Members of Congress are becoming increasingly open to addressing long-term budget problems and using performance budgeting as a tool in this…

  • WebMemo posted April 8, 2005 by Keith Miller, James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Specter of Pork Barrel Homeland Security

    Word has it that Homeland Security appropriators may allow earmarks onto their funding bills for the first time in the short history of the Department of Homeland Security. By ending this moratorium on earmarks, Congress would open the door to pork barrel spending-just as the 9/11 Commission warned. Earmarks would take funding from building a truly national homeland…

  • WebMemo posted March 17, 2005 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser Performance-Based Decisions in the President's 2006 Budget

    The President's FY 2006 budget proposal focuses on demonstrable results and reflects a willingness to hold programs and agencies accountable if they fail to perform. The President's budget was released with the third round of Performance Assessment Ratings Tool (PART) scores, which are a way to gauge the effectiveness of government programs. The budget relies on…

  • WebMemo posted March 16, 2005 by Brian M. Riedl, Keith Miller House Lawmakers Should Enforce Their Own Budget

    With federal spending topping $20,000 per household and the budget deficit surging past $400 billion, the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) and the more moderate Tuesday Group have joined together in an effort to ensure that lawmakers keep their promises to rein in federal spending. They seek to close loopholes that currently make it easy for the House of…

  • WebMemo posted March 16, 2005 by Keith Miller, Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D. Amtrak Bankruptcy: It's Time

    With Congress nearing enactment of a bankruptcy reform bill, a long overdue bankruptcy comes to mind: Amtrak. That's right. Despite receiving $29 billion in federal subsidies over its troubled existence, Amtrak is a private corporation and, as such, is subject to the nation's bankruptcy laws. And like any other private business that hemorrhages money year after…

  • Commentary posted February 18, 2005 by Keith Miller Rock the Vote: Keeping it Unreal on Social Security

    "Get GEAR" blares the ad on RocktheVote.com. And what's the latest "gear" available from the self-proclaimed leader of youth politics? A brand new t-shirt with this less-than-edgy message: "I [Heart] Social Security." That's the gist of the activist group's latest PR push: the ludicrous notion that young people think Social Security needs no real reform. With this…

  • WebMemo posted February 4, 2005 by David C. John, Keith Miller Would Social Security Reform Lead to a 40 Percent Cut in Benefits?

    Opponents of Social Security reform say that catastrophic benefit cuts would occur only if individuals were allowed to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts, as the President has proposed. This willful misunderstanding of the operation of personal accounts is dishonest and obscures the truth: While inaction will lead to automatic…

  • WebMemo posted January 10, 2005 by Alison Acosta Fraser, Keith Miller A Bad Week for Limited Government

    Saying "No" to Spending Controls In a closed meeting early last week, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives quietly kicked off the new legislative session by making it more likely that government will continue to grow rapidly. Despite promises to control the growth in federal spending and to fix the budget process, the newly strengthened House…

  • WebMemo posted December 20, 2004 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser House Rules: An Important Step for Spending Restraint

    Right now in the House of Representatives, Members of Congress are engaged in deliberations that could have substantial impact on the next two legislative years. These deliberations concern reforming the internal rules that govern how the House will operate during the 109th Congress. While seemingly arcane, well-crafted House rules could be effective tools to…

  • WebMemo posted November 22, 2004 by Brian M. Riedl, Keith Miller Another Pork-Laden Omnibus Spending Bill

    Click here to for a list of pork projects. As runaway spending pushes the cost of government over $20,000 per household and the federal budget deficit past $400 billion, Congress continues to pile an endless supply of special interest projects onto the backs of weary taxpayers.[1] With the recently-passed fiscal 2005 omnibus spending bill (H.R. 4818), Congress is…

  • WebMemo posted November 17, 2004 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser Debt-Limit Increase Signals the Need for Budget Reform

    Sometime Thursday, Congress will likely vote to increase the government's debt limit by more than half a trillion dollars. The current limit of $7.384 trillion, set in May of 2003, will be increased by at least $650 billion and perhaps as much as $800 billion.   This vote is a necessary procedural step: Failure to raise the limit would mean default on the…

  • WebMemo posted September 28, 2004 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser Not Again! Congress Evades Its Budget Caps

    Here we go again! Earlier this year, both House and Senate leadership promised to restrain federal spending. But the appropriation committees must not have received the memo, and the appropriators are poised to unleash a series of spending increases. Using the time-honored methods of appropriations gimmickry, Congress seems to think that it can slip these items by…

  • WebMemo posted September 16, 2004 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser An $82 Million Answer to Youth Suicide?

    Confronted with yet another "crisis," Congress is working feverishly to combat youth suicide. By authorizing $82 million in federal spending for a national clearing house and two federal grant programs, legislators in Washington hope to reduce the number teenage and college-age students who take their own lives. The problem is real, but government action is not the…

  • WebMemo posted July 21, 2004 by Keith Miller, Alison Acosta Fraser Legislative Branch Appropriations: The Beginnings of Fiscal Restraint?

    Over the past year, the danger posed by the escalating growth of federal spending has begun to resonate with the American people. The refusal of both Congress and the Administration to make hard choices and fund only priorities has accelerated the growth of federal spending. But we should give credit where credit is due: the Legislative Branch appropriations bills…

  • Commentary posted June 30, 2004 by Keith Miller Social Security Reality

    This spring, many Americans sat in front of their TV sets, watching a "reality show" in which a well-off, 50-something business tycoon controlled the financial future of 16 young adults. On The Apprentice, Donald Trump weeded through the contestants and ultimately awarded one young man a $200,000 contract. A somewhat similar situation prevails in the real world.…