Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where to Dump the Money

Although I believe government has a very limited role to play - I realize that it's impossible to just simply slam on the brakes and stop all government spending at once.  The government will continue to "invest" our tax dollars as it sees fit.  If we have to dump money somewhere, here are a few sectors or areas that I believe could use some of that money:

1.  Airport Construction - The majority of our major airports were completed decades ago; today we have problems with physical airport capacity in several areas of the country.  There are larger and heavier aircraft using these airports than ever before, and airlines depend more than ever on efficiency in order to remain in business.  Construction of entire new airports, additional runways at existing airports, improvements to airport terminals, fuel systems, etc., via FAA grants could greatly improve overall efficiency and ease congestion.  The FAA is in the process of implementing the next generation of air traffic control which will allow for tighter spacing of aircraft and more direct routing.  Let's make sure the physical facilities do not become a choke-point.  Improved infrastructure which contributes to more on-times flights and better efficiency benefits everyone - from vacationers to business travels.

2.  Defense Spending - The Pentagon budget is already a huge part of our budget but we cannot afford to fall behind in cutting-edge military research and development.  China is hot on our heals and actively stealing our technology, and with emerging threats all over the globe, our national security now and in the future should be one of our highest priorities.  Heavily funding programs such as DARPA and others could give us a huge advantage in the future.  Lets make sure that our military wartime facilities are the best in the world.  Lets make sure we are not cutting programs or assets which may be needed in the future, just to satisfy a need for short-term cuts.  Programs such as missile-defense and space-based warfare will be critical in the years to come.

3.  Nuclear Waste - Yucca Mountain should be fully funded and opened as was originally intended.  This solves the security problem of nuclear waste being stored at sites scattered all over the country.  This also removes some of the regulatory and financial burden from the nuclear power industry.  A central storage site also helps eliminate the possibility of environmental disasters in other locations due to aging storage facilities which may be underfunded.  Not only does this make sense but it is a legal responsibility of the government according to agreements with nuclear power producers.

4.  Border/Immigration Enforcement - We don't need a new set of immigration laws we just need to enforce the ones already on the books.  Fully fund the Border Patrol to hire additional agents, and buy the needed equipment and vehicles to get the job done.  Finish building physical and virtual fences along the entire southern border.  Not only is it the government's responsibility to enforce immigration laws, but our national security and economic welfare depends on it.

5.  Intelligence Agencies - Invest in Human Intelligence (HUMINT) assets.  Give the CIA, DIA, NSA, and other major agencies the money they need to do their jobs - then get out of the way.  We need to not only rely on technology-based intelligence gathering, but also rebuild the human network that is irreplaceable as we have seen so many times in the past.

These are just a few areas I believe to be critical to the longterm success of our country and our people.  More to come in future months.

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