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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets) 2247

sciencehabit writes with this selection from Science: "Presidential hopeful Ron Paul's new proposal to slash federal spending would wipe out large chunks of the government's research portfolio. The congressman from Texas and Republican candidate has unveiled a budget plan to reduce the deficit that would eliminate five federal departments: Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. In one fell swoop, such a step would erase, among other programs, the Energy Department's $5-billion Office of Science, the $4.5-billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the $750-million National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the $1.1-billion U.S. Geological Survey."
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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:01PM (#37776160)

    He also brings home the troops and ends the empire abroad. That saves nearly a trillion. Per year.

  • by DriedClexler ( 814907 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:08PM (#37776362)

    I like energy research, plus (non-toll) roads and bridges. Agreed there.


    Currently-federal parks can go private.

    Local public schools can do the job without federal "assistance". The feds just take money and give it to schools. Um, if a state needs more money for its schools, they can raise it themselves, that's where most of the money comes from. There was a department of education for only a fraction of the history of public schools.

    No more low income housing? GREAT! Section 8ers get into the program as a result of horrible lifestyle choices and ruin any neighborhood that will let them in. People who can't afford those places should move to where they *can* afford, rather than jumping the queue in front of people willing to pay for those spots. There is *always* affordable housing if you're willing to look; federal assistance just crowds out the prime spots.

    I think you're significantly overestimating the damage from these changes. But I agree about the two things above, plus NOAA. And I mostly agree with Ron Paul, but ffs, cut the useless departments first, not f***ing NOAA!

  • by jasno ( 124830 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:09PM (#37776382) Journal

    Yeah ok, Ron Paul's ideas are a little crazy, but he's the only one who seems serious about dealing with our impending financial doom. He's also the only one who really gives a damn about freedom, fairness, and transparency.

    Please - give him one term. Let him trim the federal government - you can always build it back up in a few years. Think of it as a giant refactoring project.

    Right now we've got an immensely complicated federal government. It's beyond the comprehension of an average American. If they can't comprehend it, they can't make wise decisions as voters. Let's tear it down so we can build it back up with the lessons we've learned.

    We've got the Microsoft Windows of government - slow, poorly designed, with duplicate features - many of which you don't want, and prone to spectacular failure when you need it most. It's inner workings are opaque and it's behavior is oftentimes hard to anticipate.

    We need a Unix-like government: efficient, fast, responsive, cleanly designed, compartmentalized, and well documented. People need to feel like they can participate and have a voice, because when you don't have that people end up rioting in the streets.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:28PM (#37776928)

    From your own link:

    Originally, corporations were solely able to be established through an act of the state, for example through royal charter or an act of Parliament.

    It was only in the mid nineteenth century, the first being through the Joint Stock Companies Act 1856 in the United Kingdom, that private individuals could through a simple registration procedure be considered to have established a corporation with limited liability.

    How in the world are corporations not a creation of government?

  • OK, then North Dakota should give up ITS share of Federal subsidies too. California gets less back from Fed on its taxes (as a fraction) than small podunk states like North Dakota. Which leaves Californa footing more than its share of the tax bill. How about North Dakota paying its share instead of sponging off of CA (and other big states)?


  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:37PM (#37777252)

    Corporations don't need a government to create them, but they are now legally formed within a legal framework. []

    Actually, your link makes it clear that corporations are creatures of government, specifically, that their defining characteristic is the fact that they are recognized by government through law as having distinct legal personality.

    Corporations provide the means to produce goods and services.

    No, they don't. Corporations are a legal structure created by government which provide special benefits (particularly, in the modern form, limits on liability) to their investors to encourage investment. Some investors make use of the availability of those incentives to use the corporate form to organize business that provide goods and services, others use them to set up tax dodges that serve their own interests without providing goods and services to others.

    To the extent that there is a benefir from the existence of corporations (or other government-created business forms like the Limited Liability Company or Limited Liability Partnership) these benefits are ultimately benefits of government.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:43PM (#37777388)

    Unfortunately a little trimming isn't going to get you guys out of this. You're going to have to look at cutting more than a few tenths of one percent.

    Now, there IS a major money sink you guys fund up the wazoo that you could probably cut VERY deeply. This budget item apparently loses (as in, has no idea where it went) more money than the entire savings suggested by Ron Paul, and nobody knows how much funding it actually gets because a good portion of it is secret.

  • by OldeTimeGeek ( 725417 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:49PM (#37777578)
    A good thought, but the elections that place people in position to make decisions on local affairs aren't run completely locally now. If you think so, look at the last "local" election and see how much money or staff came from districts outside of yours. There are groups of all political and social stripes with axes to grind and money to spend.
  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:00PM (#37777878)

    The ancient examples of "corporations" are churches and governments - a far cry from a modern corporation. Some would even say that the church and the government were the same thing at the time. Partnerships and guilds also do little to insulate the members from liability, make ownership difficult, and differ in many other ways. Google, Apple, Microsoft, GM... none could exist in anything like their current form as a partnership.

    A "corporation" is only whatever the government says it is.

    In short, I wasn't talking about when a town or church "incorporates" in the ancient sense, I'm talking about when I give the state of Nevada $1500 bucks to found an LLC.

  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:18PM (#37778330)

    Too bad corporations can't go back to a more symbiotic instead of parasitic (profit maximizing) relationship with society, and that corporate and financial laws and regulations really won't allow this to happen, either (shareholder "rights", etc).

    This is exactly the discussion we should be having. What do we want a corporation to be, and what rights should we grant them?

    A lot of people disagree with the Citizens United decision, but have more trouble vocalizing how you would restrict them but not the New York Times. If the discussion were framed differently, people wouldn't just dismiss the court as a bunch of conservative kooks. Even the dissent (Stevens) focuses more on how it's just a bad idea to let corporations buy unlimited air time near elections than it talks about points of law.

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:19PM (#37778376)
    There was no semiconductor and computer system market until the defense department made one by financing research and buying the output. Ever heard of Fairchild semiconductor? They are one of the foundations of the the semiconductor industry and held most of the early patents on semiconductors. They wouldn't have existed without government paying for the research and buying their early products. HP, Apple and the rest came later.

    You can keep dreaming your fantasy that Rockefeller was a altruistic philanthropist if you want but you really should do some actual reading on the subject.

    Like all corporations, the automobile companies lobbied government at all levels to build infrastructure that was too expensive for them to build but which would make their products more desirable to purchase. That's the way the system works. Without government investment, their business would be quite different. Perhaps they would have invested more in floating cars that could cross rivers without bridges.

  • by scamper_22 ( 1073470 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:46PM (#37778982)

    At least two of these should definitely be cut.
    Housing and Urban Development.

    I never understood the purpose of the federal department of education. I'm Canadian and education is provided at the provincial level (states). It lets provinces do their own thing. What does the federal dept of education do what individual states cannot? If there is anything that is local, it is education.

    Again Housing and Urban development at the federal level? This is such a local matter which should primarily concern cities themselves... and at most states.

    Some of the other things make more sense at the federal level. Not that I agree with all of them, but they at least have a plausible rational. Especially things like standards and global issues (Atmosphere and ocean)...

  • by mojo-raisin ( 223411 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @02:43PM (#37780466)

    By your logic, since society is becoming increasingly "complex" we should have more and more government involvement (tax). I disagree. I don't think government should continue to increase in size. I don't think forcing people to pay for programs "for their own good" is sustainable.

    Governments *will* shrink. (See Greece) Do you want to do it the easy way or the hard way?

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BetterSense ( 1398915 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:36PM (#37781536)
    It does provide the United States with a candidate (however unelectable, and I do plan to vote for him, and I have voted for him), who has an actual plan. His plan cuts spending, leaves most entitlements in place, and increases government revenue. Those are the only ways to dig us out of our hole. In a world where "electable" politicians squabble endlessly over cutting miniscule spending, at least somebody has a reasonable (IMO--drastic is reasonable in desperate times) plan.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry