In Doctor Strangelove, the Russians develop a nuclear doomsday device that will destroy the world if they are attacked. The perfect deterrent, except they keep the device top secret. Woops! Republicans have now developed the same thing in reverse: a threat that isn’t a threat, according to them. Having threatened to do the unthinkable (cause default on US debt) if they don’t get their way, they now say default wouldn’t be that bad.
If that’s the way Republican thinking is evolving, we may be headed for default after all. Or, at least, we’re headed for a situation where President Obama may have to make some tough decisions. If, as Republicans say, the US can pay the obligations it really needs to and defer the rest, then it would be up to the executive branch (i.e. the President) to decide what to defer funding on. The President says you can’t just pick and choose what parts of the government to fund. But in case he has to, I have some suggestions that he may like:
1) Defund Guantanamo. Military bases maintained in hostile territory are always expensive, so this will save quite a bit of money. Just put all the people there on a ship and get them out overnight. The Cubans will occupy it the next day, and there would be no way we could ever go back. (And terminate the lease to be sure of that.) Guantanamo shut down, money saved, international festering sore instantly healed.
2) Defund the war on drugs. Or at least on marijuana. And defund the prison cells that hold all those convicted of using or selling marijuana. And defund the program that classifies marijuana as a class 1 prohibited drug. That all saves a lot of money, I tell you.
3) Defund Keystone XL. Of course this isn’t a government program. But the approval process is. In fact, just shut down all the approval programs for oil, gas, coal, shale whatever, etc. and just deny all permits. Denial is cheap, so that saves a lot of money.
4) Defund Head Start. Just kidding. Fully fund Head Start.
5) Defund every silly military program that Congress forces the Pentagon to buy even though they don’t need it. Just cancel all the contracts and don’t pay any penalties. It’s “We The People” baby, we can do whatever the hell we want.
I think that’s a good starter list. If you have any suggestions for parts of our government to defund, please let me know by email or blog comment.
Oh, and one more…
6) Defund the House of Representatives. (I think they have their own authorization that has already been passed, or it’s considered a constitutional function that doesn’t need authorization, but who cares at this point?)