The Daily Caller explains:
“This updated version builds upon the success of the original YouCut program by allowing Americans to vote on a spending cut, and track the legislation in real-time, from introduction by a member of our freshman class, through the committee process, to a floor vote and ideally to enactment,” Cantor said.
The initial numbers for YouCut were quite impressive with 500,000 votes each round and Republicans are hoping to double that amount of participation from the general public.
The three options for this week for the public to vote on what spending to cut are Terminate the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation which would save $60 million, Terminate U.S. Contributions to the Asian Development Fund which would save $356 million or Terminate U.S. Contributions to the United Nations Population Fund which would save $400 million.
Below your vote option is a place where you can suggest your own ideas for spending cuts.
When the first version of YouCut was unveiled, Democrats controlled the House so Republicans could suggest a vote on the winning spending cut but was often refused the opportunity to bring it to the House floor by Nancy Pelosi who was Speaker of the House at that time.
Now that Republicans control the House, these votes will come to the floor and the newly improved site will allow you to track the progress of the cut, see when it comes to the floor, if it passed and the public can continue to participate by following up by encouraging your Senate reps to bring it to the floor. (Senate is still controlled by Democrats, so those calls will be important)
Democrats are fast to criticize the YouCut idea because the cuts are a drop in the bucket in comparison to the overall federal deficit.
Freshman Austin Scott of Georgia responds "Well, that’s fine. Lets get started. We didn’t get into this situation overnight. And we’re not gonna get out of it overnight. Nobody’s gonna wave a magic wand one night and we’re gonna wake up tomorrow and everything’s gonna be OK fiscally."
I have pointed out before and it is worth repeating. You put a bucket under a leak, each drop may be small in comparison to the size of the bucket itself, but as they all drip in, eventually the bucket fills up.
Nobody is going to pretend that each cut, individually, is going to fix our deficit problems and by the same token, Scott is correct, we didn't get this far into debt overnight so any and all cut must be accompanied by a concrete long term fiscal plan.
Human beings are hard wired into wanting to see results instantly but any savings, spending cuts and long term budget deficit plan is going to have to account for long term spending cuts where the results are not only seen instantly but where a change in spending set the standard in the long run.
So a plan to cut trillions isn't and shouldn't be trillions right this second but should be spread out so that over the course of time so that Washington is reprogrammed to spend less.
We could cut trillions right this second but without a spending plan for the future, we would simply be making a one time cut and the deficit would be rising again at an unsustainable level by the time the next budget comes up for a vote.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has made it clear that if Obama wants a debt limit increase it will be dollar for dollar, hand in hand with spending cuts to equal the amount of the increase.
Boehner took the ambitious stand in negotiations to raise America’s debt ceiling while speaking to the Economic Club of New York, saying, “Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase. And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.”
While the Treasury Department has yet to specify exactly the size of the increase Congress will need to approve for the $14.3 trillion debt limit, estimates are currently settling in around $2 trillion. That means, according to Speaker Boehner, that the White House and congressional Democrats would have to agree to spending cuts equal to at least $2 trillion as well.
The only thing “off the table” is tax increases, said Boehner. Everything else – including entitlements — will be subject to spending cuts.
Washington has spent decades learning the bad habit of spending more money than America has, then borrowing even more so they can spend even more. Anyone living on a budget knows that is not only unsustainable but if Washington was a household, that family would be homeless, unable to put food on the table, their credit cards taken away and their credit rating would be shot for a decade.
Politicians need to be retrained.
Republicans were thrown out of power by doing the very same thing and apparently they learned their lesson because not only did they promise while campaigning for the 2010 midterms to be fiscally responsible and force spending cuts, but after winning the largest net seats in the House of Representatives in over 70 years and being handed control of it, they are still fighting tooth and nail against Democrats to keep those campaign promises.
Now it is time to retrain the Democrats and if they continue to fight again fiscal responsibility, well, the 2012 elections can take care of that.