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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets) 2247

sciencehabit writes with this selection from Science: "Presidential hopeful Ron Paul's new proposal to slash federal spending would wipe out large chunks of the government's research portfolio. The congressman from Texas and Republican candidate has unveiled a budget plan to reduce the deficit that would eliminate five federal departments: Energy, Commerce, Interior, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. In one fell swoop, such a step would erase, among other programs, the Energy Department's $5-billion Office of Science, the $4.5-billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the $750-million National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the $1.1-billion U.S. Geological Survey."
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Ron Paul Suggests Axing 5 U.S. Federal Departments (and Budgets)

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:48AM (#37775884)

    I like his IRS plan!

    • by MyFirstNameIsPaul ( 1552283 ) <> on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:01PM (#37776180) Homepage Journal
      For further reading on his plan to see what else he cuts, here it is. [] [pdf]
  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:49AM (#37775892) Homepage Journal

    if folks don't know anything, it can't hurt them, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What the department of education being axed means no more schools? Why do people think having bureaucrats interfering in a teacher's classroom is a good idea? The people at the Dept. of Education (DE) are not elected and are not accountable to the voters. Washington constantly pushes out unfunded mandates that increase the burden on local schools. Both parties push for these things when they get power, no child left behind, how many potatoes kids should eat during the week.

      As for the task given to the DE, i

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:49AM (#37775902)
    No more energy research, no more parks, no more public education, no more low income housing, no more roads & bridges. What a grand utopia he has planned for us.
    • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:54AM (#37776010)
      Remember the US is a federation. The states provide for those things as well. And pushing most of this load down to the states is probably a good idea from the point of view of balance of power.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 )

      We're duplicating efforts which are already handled from the (current) federal level all the way down to the very local level at your town's city hall.

      Could the county government handle their own section of a federal highway? They may already be (I have seen survey markers from the state and USGS in the same general area). Can county parks personnel handle national parks? Maybe, maybe not.

      However, what we do know is that duplication of effort is expensive and wasteful. We live in a time when we cannot affor

    • by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:00PM (#37776142) Journal
      Ya because the world just fails unless the Gov't doesnt do everything. I bet this space initiative just goes to hell too since NASA isnt doing it....
    • by hierofalcon ( 1233282 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:01PM (#37776162)

      Energy research can be done by corporations. Parks can be managed by the states they are located in - all of them have recreation departments of their own. The same is true of monuments. Public education is already managed by states. There is no need for any federal bureaucracy there AT ALL. Low income housing doesn't disappear because a federal government disappears. Let the housing be managed by each state where it resides. Let states fix roads and bridges directly with the gas tax. And so on and so on. There are a few departments that we do need, and they would continue to exist although their direction would be changed by Ron Paul. Many should have disappeared long ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by defaria ( 741527 )
      Have you no faith in the goodness of the American people? Do you serious think that without these cabinet level positions such things are impossible?!? Or have you diluted yourself into thinking that the reason we have say public education is because of the Dept. of Ed? You do know we didn't have that one til relatively recently and yet public education managed just fine without it. And why do you believe that energy is a commodity that only gov can research? We research all kinds of other things without a
    • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:08PM (#37776342)
      No more weather forecasting either. It's not just the US that depends on NOAA's National Hurricane Center. Many Caribbean countries that would be hard pressed to track hurricanes depend on this service.
    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:11PM (#37776452)
      The Department of Education was created in 1979. Are you seriously suggesting that we wouldn't have public education anymore if it were removed? Only the Department of the Interior has been around for nearly the entirety of the nation. Somehow things managed to get done before they were put in place.

      Personally, I wish that he'd go a step farther and get rid of the abomination that is Homeland Security. That should be the first one on the chopping block and then we can worry about working backwards.
    • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:25PM (#37776850)
      Put in standardized units:
      • Energy Department's $5-billion Office of Science = 2.5 days of the military
      • $4.5-billion National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration = 2.25 days of the military
      • $750-million National Institute of Standards and Technology = 9 hours of the military
      • $1.1-billion U.S. Geological Survey = 13 hours of the military

      (Based on Forbe's estimate of the cost of being U.S. military policy being $2 billion per day [] If you want units solely in terms of the war in Afghanistan, that figure is $300 million per day. Adjust for other wars etc. War: it isn't cheap.)

      I wonder why Ron Paul doesn't talk about slashing the military budget, it would appear the potential savings are enormous?

      • by sarhjinian ( 94086 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:50PM (#37777612)

        Butbutbut, all the little things add up! (Yes, they do. To a rounding error in the budgets of Defense or Medicare/Medicaid).

        So, if this privatization stuff is such hot shit, let's privatize the military as well. I'm sure that'll work out just fine! I mean, if it's evil socialism to heal, feed and clothe people, it must be worse to publicly fund killing them, right?

        Hell, on a related (hypocritical) note, Ron Paul, bastion of freedom, independence and libertarian wankery, seems to have no problem shilling for Federal public funds to deal with coastal damage in his own district. I'm sure, though, that he'd refuse funds to keep rising coastal waters from washing Galevston out to sea.

        Typical libertarian nonsense: it's all waste and graft, unless it's my pet interest, then it's an essential part of the social contract. It's a movement that's just as delusional as Communism.

      • Does not he? (Score:5, Informative)

        by PaulBu ( 473180 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:17PM (#37778312) Homepage

        15% slash (right there, top line on the second page here: []) AND defunding all (undeclared) wars, resulting in immediate pull-out from all, what is it now, 5,6,7 places?

        And, since most libertarians agree that national defence is legitimate function of Federal government, and knowing weather and coast around your country has obvious military uses, I would see nothing wrong with NOAA and USGS being funded from DOD budget.

        "Fix weights and measures" is explicitly constitutional, so, I'd guess, NIST would be also safe under Dr. Paul's watch.

        Paul B.

  • How about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:50AM (#37775910)

    Getting rid of the BATFE and the TSA instead?

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:50AM (#37775916) Homepage Journal

    "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple--and wrong."
    --H.L. Mencken

  • Pretty Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:52AM (#37775948) Journal

    That if this happened, after the next earthquake or hurricane demolishes a few large metropolitan areas people would be wondering why we had no warning.

  • by orphiuchus ( 1146483 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:53AM (#37775978)

    Doesn't the DOE spend a good deal of its time dealing with nukes?

    Isn't that kind of important? Even to libertarians?

    • The NNSA has responsibility for servicing the nukes and that would be transfered to DoD where it belongs. I would expect any functions in the former weapons labs still related to stockpile management would be also.

  • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:54AM (#37775988)
    Yeah, that 1% really does a whole lot.
  • by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:55AM (#37776022) Journal
    Not the departments I would choose necessarily but this is the type of thinking I am on board with. As a states rights individual, I believe that the best way to serve our interests is to make massive cuts in the form of getting rid of Administrative service departments that are not necessary anymore.
    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

      Wait... You think the DOE is not necessary anymore with the looming energy crisis and all the talks about global warming? And when is education ever NOT necessary?..

      On top of that, all of this is just cents compared to the overall budget, yet the sacred cows like the DOD never get cut.

      • Wait... You think the DOE is not necessary anymore with the looming energy crisis and all the talks about global warming? And when is education ever NOT necessary?.. On top of that, all of this is just cents compared to the overall budget, yet the sacred cows like the DOD never get cut.

        The DOD doesn't get cut because it is one of the few things the Federal Government is supposed to do . These things are good but are implemented at the wrong level, these should be covered by local/state government. The DOE is an abysmal failure if you look at what the Department was founded to do, decrease our dependance on foreign energy. It has not done that, at all and should be de-funded for failing to accomplish its mission. But as with everything in the Federal Government, no one knows what anyone e

      • We landed men on the moon a decade before the Department of Education was created. It's not that education isn't necessary, its that it doesn't have to be managed at the Federal level. Do you really think our education system is substantially better than it was in the fifties and sixties, and that the improvement is a result of Federal action?

  • Ron Paul... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:55AM (#37776028)

    is a nutjob.

    I had a long dissertation thought out, but man, this shit just boggles my mind. NOAA? Is he kidding? I'm sure all of you remember (probably not, but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt) the fact that he said that "Hurr, Galveston didn't have anyone to bail them out during their hurricane" totally forgetting how many people /died/ because of no hurricane warning and forecasting.

    The next time there's a hurricane coming up Galveston Bay, I want Ron Paul to be out in the middle of it. Outside. Naked.


  • by mathmathrevolution ( 813581 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @11:58AM (#37776088)
    The US needs a nuclear weapons program. We need border patrol. We need specialized regulatory and enforcement agencies like FCC. Pretending that all these programs are optional to anybody, even the most retrograde conservative, is just empty posturing and shameless pandering to ideologically driven morons.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:00PM (#37776130)

    Jeez. Because deregulating the financial sector has worked soooooo very well.

  • by Beer_Smurf ( 700116 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:01PM (#37776184) Homepage
    Ron Paul is putting out something that might start to make a dent in looming disaster that is the budget.
    Please look for your self and see how long until the amount of interest due on the debt is larger than what the government collects.
    All the other politicians are fiddling while Rome Burns.
  • knee-jerk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by starmonkey ( 2486412 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:02PM (#37776190)
    Ron Paul seems like an intelligent, thoughtful man. Let's avoid a knee-jerk reaction to this "news". Maybe he has an idea to continue providing the core public services of these departments while cutting bureaucratic complexity. I don't think there's enough information here. Then again, it's a lot more fun to get indignant!
  • The Federal Government has a constitutional mandate to regulate interstate and international commerce. But hey, fuck that right? Pass me a heroine needle and that copy of Atlas Shrugged, it's Ron Paul's world now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Ahem. "The Congress shall have Power To..." is authority, not a mandate. The Congress can choose not to exercise its power in a given area if it wishes. In fact, in some circumstances, the fact that Congress has chosen not to legislate may itself be considered a form of regulation, and not subject to further regulation by the states.

  • Why not ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:05PM (#37776258)

    ... the DEA and ATF. Move their law enforcement functions into the FBI. Move their regulatory (drugs, alcohol, tobacco) functions into the FDA and Dept of Agriculture*. You could combine NOAA and the USGS. There's probably some remote sensing, mapping, tsunami/earthquake/tornado/weather/whatever warning functions that could be combined.

    * I see he's not touching the Dept of Agriculture. Too many farmers on the gov't dole vote, I guess.

  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:07PM (#37776324)

    This is about as newsworthy as Ron Paul declaring that he plans to remodel my kitchen. Barring a long series of astronomically unlikely events, he's not going to get anywhere close to having the authority to do so. Providing passing entertainment on Slashdot during a slow news day may well be his high water mark.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BetterSense ( 1398915 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @03:36PM (#37781536)
      It does provide the United States with a candidate (however unelectable, and I do plan to vote for him, and I have voted for him), who has an actual plan. His plan cuts spending, leaves most entitlements in place, and increases government revenue. Those are the only ways to dig us out of our hole. In a world where "electable" politicians squabble endlessly over cutting miniscule spending, at least somebody has a reasonable (IMO--drastic is reasonable in desperate times) plan.
  • by FyberOptic ( 813904 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:13PM (#37776508)

    That's the thing about Ron Paul. He makes a few good points once in a while, but he's such an extremist that he just wants to wildly slash everything in government with a machete. That's not the solution to anything. Most of the organizations he wants to destroy actually do good things and serve important roles, but may need to simply be restructured to better serve those roles instead of just throwing money at them in their current form. And that's not to mention the literally thousands of jobs he would be cutting to serve his agenda.

    Ron Paul's mind is still a hundred years in the past. He's regularly citing things from far back in the country's history. Things that worked back then won't work today. Society's complexities and modernizations require some degree of management or oversight. Paul doesn't see that because all he can see is the fantasy of small government he envisions of yesteryear.

    The USA isn't a western. Let's stop trying to treat it like one.

  • by gQuigs ( 913879 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @12:13PM (#37776516) Homepage

    I get it, they are reporting what they want to see kept (I want to see them kept too). They are a drop in the bucket compared to the 1 Trillion dollar the plan cuts.

    Or in the plans on words:

    "Cuts $1 trillion in spending during the first year of Ron Paul’s presidency, eliminating five cabinet departments (Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education), abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners, abolishing corporate subsidies, stopping foreign aid, ending foreign wars, and returning most other spending to 2006 levels."

    "Makes a 10% reduction in the federal workforce, slashes Congressional pay and perks, and curbs excessive federal travel. To stand with the American People, President Paul will take a salary of $39,336, approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker. "

    He also goes to lower taxes which I don't like, which he can actually "afford" in his plan. The plan is certainly not what I would want, but it's the first serious plan I've seen from the Right in a long time.

    Read more. []

  • by trevelyon ( 892253 ) on Thursday October 20, 2011 @01:10PM (#37778148) []

    Above is the link to his website directly. Some notable tidbits that the article (along with some slashdot commenters) seemed to miss:

    "Cuts of this scale will also be accomplished by a Paul Presidency abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners, abolishing corporate subsidies, stopping foreign aid, ending foreign wars, and returning most other spending to 2006 levels."

    Full plan is here: []

    So as part of this plan he will get rid of:
    -Entire TSA
    -Corporate (including Oil) subsidies
    -End the wars (likely the largest single current expenditure/drain on the economy)
    -End foreign aid (which I suspect will keep the U.S. out of more wars and significantly reduce the terror threat to the U.S.)
    -15% of military spending (on top of complete ending of war spending)
    -Keeps Social Security and Veteran care in place but allows young people to opt out of social security (basically, ending the Ponzi scheme and recognising the debt owed from it).

    I will agree that some things he wishes to cut are not things I would choose to get rid of BUT can anyone point out a single other candidate that has a plan in plain, simple terms like his to actually do something? I sure haven't seen anything like this from other candidates. Then again I feel they are all talk. Real problem solvers would have at least a moderately detailed plan up on their website with rough numbers on how to accomplish things. If anyone finds such from other candidates please post in reply. I'd be very interested in seeing other plans even at as high level as this one is.

    The plan is extreme but note that even with everything he is removing and reducing it only ends the DEFICIT (i.e. we stop borrowing more) by year three. Most people seem to not realise or accept how much pain the U.S. will have to endure to climb out from the mountain of debt without defaulting. Much like those that make $40,000 and have $40,000 in credit card debt it's a long suffering process. Much more borrowing at the current rate and defaulting on debt is almost an assured result (hence the lowering of the U.S. credit rating). I should point out European nations, most local governments, etc are all in the same situation. Borrowing to get luxuries you can't afford is endemic in the western mentality currently.

    I suspect this will also reduce the corruption considerably since there will be many fewer lucrative grants to bribe senators and congressmen to get. That is, if it passes at all. You'll likely need to toss the bulk of republicans AND democrats out to get anything like this through since it will dismantle many of the incentives for funnelling money to them.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun