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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Fiscal responsibility

A protracted slump in the national economy has led to drastic revisions of projected budgetary health. To help alleviate the problem, President George W. Bush has been calling for a second round of tax cuts to foster growth and investment. True to form, big-government liberals and spend-happy politicians have criticized Bush’s plan as irresponsible, arguing that further tax cuts cannot be afforded. If these groups are truly concerned with the budget, they should start practicing restraint in spending.
But restraining federal spending has always presented a problem. As the nation has matured during the past 225 years, more citizens have sought help from government for things that used to be handled privately. With a growing dependence on and expectation of government help, many politicians have come to see the benefits of providing such assistance. To them, more spending often leads to more votes.
Certain entitlement-driven politicians and their beneficiaries refuse to acknowledge that increases in spending contribute to the deficit, and refuse to consider decreases in spending as part of a possible solution. As a result, any tax cuts aimed at revamping the economy are out of the question. But fortunately, there are many who have done the math and see the whole picture.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) has advocated fiscal responsibility in Washington for years, repeatedly calling for passage of a “sunset” bill. Under this legislation, every federal agency would be sunsetted, or eliminated, after a certain period of existence unless Congress explicitly approved its renewal. This way, tax dollars that would have gone to an inefficient or unnecessary government bureaucracy could be re-directed to better programs, used to pay off debt, or returned to American taxpayers.
Brady’s sunset legislation would go a long way toward enforcing fiscal responsibility in federal agencies, in large part because it would force them to operate more like organizations in the free market, where mismanagement and inefficacy have real consequences. As Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute testified before Congress, the sunsetting of agencies is akin to an enterprise in the private sector going out of business. When a business cannot provide services at a competitive level, it is eliminated as the market makes room for more efficient firms.
Placing the same stringent constraints on government enterprises would amount to a radical departure from the status quo. As former President Reagan said it years ago in a televised address, “The nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on the earth is a government program.” Under sunset legislation, federal agencies would either prove their worth or shut down.
Some people may have a problem with such a radical move toward fiscal responsibility, perhaps because they do not believe government is really that wasteful. After all, new budgets must be approved each year by Congress and the President. However, egregiously wasteful allocations of tax dollars are still plentiful.
For example, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a non-partisan group in Washington often looked to by Congress for waste-eliminating ideas, points to a study at Northwestern University funded by the National Institutes of Health. In the study, women are paid to watch pornographic films to study their arousal level. Former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, most well-known for recommending that masturbation be taught in schools, speaks about the importance of the study. “We need to understand what stimulates women. And it’s for their children’s sake, for this country’s sake,” she said.
Under Brady’s legislation, a commission would have been in place to inform the National Institutes of Health that pornography is not a vital national
interest.
Given countless examples of waste such as this, the potential benefits of sunset legislation are enormous. In fact, CAGW estimates that $1.2 trillion could be saved during the next five years if wasteful agencies and programs were eliminated or reformed. This is a significant amount of money that could be re-allocated or returned to the American taxpayers who contributed it in the first place. Although it is doubtful that any one piece of legislation could eliminate all government waste, Brady’s sunset bill is a step in the right direction. If politicians really care about reducing the deficit, they can start by making this bill a law.

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