THE END OF THE WORLD: If we don't fix our impending budget crisis, that is. I just returned from a Heritage policy briefing with Brian Riedl, the fellow in charge of federal budgetary affairs in the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. The world seriously is ending folks.

If you want to get really, really depressed, check out his work on how to get federal spending under control, the highest level of federal spending since WWII, or pork-laden omnibus spending bills. Fun stuff, eh?

Just to destroy any hope/confidence that you might have had for/in Congress, check out some of the atrocious numbers (scarier than an M. Night Shyamalan film) Riedl has compiled:

*The federal government could not account for $25.5 billion in 2003. And Ken Lay is going to jail?

*The federal government made $20 billion in overpayments in 2001.

*Over one 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge $73,950 for exotic dance clubs and prostitutes. Support our troops?

*The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused refundable flight tickets.

Oh, pish posh.

The only "catch" to preserving the status quo ad infinitum is 4% GDP growth. The key to that is keeping Republicans in the White House / House / Senate. As long as GDP hums along in the 4% ballpark, we can grow our way out of the hole.

As for unaccounted money, from where do you think the funding for 'Area 51' comes? There is a great line in the movie Independence Day - What? You think they _actually_ pay $600 for a hammer, and $20,000 for a toilet seat? Tell you what, if we could make it law that Congress and the President get to personally keep 1% of any Federal surplus the budget would get balanced in about .0000000001 seconds. Simply put, the situation will never change as we do not make in anyone's self-interest to change.

Want the waste to go away? Share the wealth. Want to rev the economy past white-hot? Share the wealth. Turn government into a for-profit enterprise then stand back and marvel at how Congress can police waste, fraud, and corruption.
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