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something like 2/3 of US land
Frankly, we can't worry about "political suicide" any more. The way we are spending, we are on the verge of actual national suicide. The Federal Reserve is talking about bankruptcy as a real possibility. Nationally and internationally, there are signs that faith in the dollar is waning fast. If the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency of choice, the US economy as we know it will go into a tailspin of hyperinflation. We're at the point where we have to cut, deeply, and across the board, or we'll see a depression that will make the 30s look mild by comparison.
Why even look for specifics? Take the budget from 25 years ago, adjust all numbers for inflation, and use that. Presto!
But since you asked for specifics:
- Pull all troops from Germany, Japan, Korea, and any other place we fought more than 10 years ago. It's time our allies protected themselves instead of relying on the US. Wonder why the US military budget is so big? Because nobody else pulls their weight.
- Eliminate all farm subsidies.
- Privatize Amtrak. What a waste of money. If it can't operate in the black, it's mismanaged and/or unnecessary.
- Cut funding to PBS. The recent scandals, as well as the admissions they don't need federal funding, ought to be sufficient justification for this.
- Axe the War on Drugs. Waste of time, money, and lives.
- Cut the Dept of Education. Unconstitutional. Anything that is really needed, the states can do just fine.
- Cut the TSA. Their incompetence knows no bounds.
- Cut pension plans for Congress. Drop in the bucket, I know, but it's the principle of the thing.
- Cut the IRS. Seriously. Do you know how much money is expended just to take in the tax revenue, with all the compliance monitoring that has to take place? Good grief! Enact a simple consumption tax, and BAM, you get instant savings, and much less potential for abuse by politicians. Plus getting back all the lost productivity in the private sector that was going toward record keeping and the filing process itself.
- Cut the SSA and end Social Security. Fund existing obligations through sale of unconstitutionally held federal lands. (Do you realize something like of US land west of the Missouri River is owned by the FedGov? Insane.) Let people plan their own lives, because they have incentive to do it right. DC has squandered the money and made a thorough mess of it.
That's just the outright cuts I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there's plenty more, and still more that could be pared back and reorganized.
5 year old pentium D with 2GB of RAM running XP [...] can't install IE9, which means HTML5 cannot be widely adopted until the majority of the business world installs Firefox.
Fixed that for you.
The example in question could have been remedied easily. What should have happened in this case? FD could have said to homeowner, "You didn't pay your fee (insurance) this year. We will put out the fire, but you will be liable for full costs associated with this. Do you want us to proceed?" I think the FD was stupid for not handling it this way, but that's beside the point I was arguing.
Dude, if you are so petty as to ridicule me for not updating my signature (which has been the same for, oh, maybe six years now) then you need to get a life. And clean up your mouth while you're at it. You've reminded me why I started coming to Slashdot less and less several years ago. This isn't worth my time.