Cut to the Revolution

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The House Republican leadership has just announced You Cut where, along with a greeting by House Republican Whip Eric Cantor explaining the need to get federal spending under control, the public can “vote” on several potential cuts in the federal budget. Votes can be rendered either on the website or from a cell phone.


This week’s choices include, among other options:

  • $260 million for the presidential election fund. After singing the praises of government-financed elections, President Obama refused to take federal money because it would limit what he could raise. Eliminating this program would mean all presidential elections would be funded by private contributions.
  • $600 million for taxpayer subsidized union activities. This change would prohibit federal employees from doing union work while they’re being paid to work for us.
  • $2.5 billion undermining the welfare reform legislation of the 1990s. The 1996 welfare reform bill tied welfare payments to work and was a huge success. President Obama’s stimulus bill undermines that legislation, and this proposed change would help return welfare to workfare.

Once you’ve voted on your choices you can make suggestions for other spending cuts.

It’s a brilliant way to encourage interested Americans to be part of the solution to our fiscal challenges.

And it rejects the culture of arrogance that pervades Washington these days, a culture that believes the public is too stupid to understand the intricacies of major public policy debates–like health care reform–and thus must accept whatever the politicians can scheme up in backroom deals.

You Cut begins the transition to the next generation of public discourse. In 1994, the House Republican leadership developed the Contract with America, which said if the voters put Republicans in charge they would implement 10 specific changes.

You Cut, by contrast, says that Republicans will let the public decide what needs to be done.  This approach relies on the voters rather than dismisses them, and it tries to capture that energy expressed last summer by millions of Americans who wanted, many for the first time, to become part of the political process.

That’s more than a political change; it’s a political revolution.

Today’s TaxByte was written by IPI Resident Scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews.