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  • Rep. Tom Graves: My Constituents Overwhelmingly Support Entitlement Reform

    Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) — a self-described “pro-life, pro-gun constitutional conservative” — never expected to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. As he puts it, he didn’t come to Washington to be “a part of spending money.”

    Now, even though he serves on Appropriations, he still makes spending cuts his focus.

    “I’m thankful leadership has allowed me to be who I am, to ask tough questions and to take a different approach in the committee process,” Graves said yesterday at Heritage during The Bloggers Briefing. “My hopes are that we can reform the way Washington operates.”

    Fortunately for Graves, his constituents support his reform agenda. Of 627 constituents polled at a recent tele-townhall meeting, 463 — or 74 percent — want major reforms to entitlements.

    “Our constituents understand; they know we we need to make significant changes,” Graves said. “Everyone agrees we need to move toward a balanced budget, we need spending caps in place and we need major reforms to the entitlement areas.”

    But it won’t be easy, Graves said. The congressman has witnessed firsthand just how entrenched the culture of waste really is.

    Take just one example: At a recent Appropriations meeting, a department head reported several ideas to eliminate inefficiency within his agency. One of Graves’ Democratic colleagues on the committee objected to the department head’s ideas — because reducing inefficiency might cost someone a job. This colleague, Graves said, refuses to use the self-check-out lane at the grocery store for the same reason.

    Graves has a different perspective. He’s no less concerned than his colleague about the economy and ongoing unemployment. In fact, he thinks those issues deserve more media attention than they currently receive — but he thinks the slow economy and high government spending are two sides of the same coin.

    “What hits home more than anything is somebody without a job right now,” he said. “We need to get our nation back on track to being a vibrant economy and the only way we can do that is to reduce government spending in Washington.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Rep. Tom Graves: My Constituents Overwhelmingly Support Entitlement Reform

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      To get to a balanced budget entitlements will need to go from the current $2.2 trillion to somewhere in the order of $500 billion. Reform is necessary. Ultimately, the federal government should not be dealing with this program.

      I feel there have been many people conned into believing in this ponzi scheme. There are a few groups of people we need to focus on to get them through. The rest will just have to find other solutions.

      The elderly who are on (or about to go on w/in 5 years) social security cannot be touched in any cut. This part of the program will need to continue as is for the remainder of this group’s life. We as a country promised them this diabolical and I think we need to honor it. I do feel however, this program needs to be reworked so that it can be administered in the private sector, as the federal workforce needs twice the number of workers and cost twice as much to do the same tasks that the private sector can do. In addition, profit is the best motivator that can spawn efficiencies that cannot be achieved in the federal workforce.

      Those who are about to go on Social security (5 to 10 years away) needs to go on a transition plan which requires more personal investment and a realignment of their retirement plans.

      All others will be off the social security. This gives social security a ten-year life span before it is eliminated. Everyone gets an ELIA or an equivalent long-term investment account for which they open in a private sector investment firm. The federal government (using the private sector) will determine how much a person paid in, then apply a reasonable interest rate, and amortize over the time the person has contributed. This sum will be added to a virtual account for which in time the federal government will be back paying into – starting with the elderly down to the young. This will be done via a tax. There will be no more social security payments out of paychecks. People can opt to add to their new ELIA. Once the federal government is free of this, people can roll their ELIA to any conventional retirement plan they wish – be it a Roth. a 401k or whatever.

      The bottom line is the federal government blew it on this program. It was flawed from the start and has been abused for political gain. It has been poorly run using the most expensive and least efficient workforce on the planet.

      Medicare/caid should just be repackaged into state supplied programs or private sector services. The federal government should be out of all insurances since this is a private sector function and considering the federal government has no constitutional right to be in that business.

      All medical research should be done by private sector health research companies. I do not believe the federal workforce, who is currently robbing us blind, is any more altruistic than anything else.

      Reform should lead to ultimate elimination of the entire DHHS in as short of a time as possible.

    2. West Texan says:

      Tom should have said " …just how entrenched the culture of [wasta] really is". Our form of federalism has been perverted to enable political power grabs. Unlike Egypt's bought military, our uniformed services are the only saving grace to a corrupted federal government gone wild.

    3. Linda Johnson Dahlon says:

      No more spending. Not only do we want the deficit reduced, but do not raise the debt ceiling..no matter what. they are stealing pensions now. they are breaking the banks, taking over businesses or destroying them. as you said, entitlement programs have to be cut ..what about acorn, the unions,planned parent hood..cut these off..totally, it will save us a bundle. no more bailouts..we are sick of the obama admin. doing whatever they please and spewing lies. God help us all. If the republicans don't stand strong, they will destroy our country.God Bless America, and may God Bless our men that are trying…

    4. Robert, TX says:

      Absolutely, they need reform. These ridiculous welfare programs need to be cut significantly each year until they can returned to the states in whole. Food stamps could be cut 30% in the first year, and NOT affect the nutritional needs of one single adult, or child. They receive that MUCH more than they need as a "supplement." Second, if you receive $1 of federal welfare benefits, you will pass a drug test three times per year. If your children benefit from federal welfare programs, then they should be eligible for military service – and they should be drafted – no free rides.

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