I caught a bit of a John McCain speech today. He is certainly "talking the talk" regarding fiscal responsibility. But can he really walk the walk? A message I received today from a government budget bureaucrat in response to my op-ed in the Free Lance-Star suggests not.
My correspondent, who I shall call Shallow Throat, says that our budgeting system is broken because at the unit level it builds in automatic yearly increases and fails to create incentives to cut back spending. If McCain wants my vote, he should address this important issue in a concrete way.
I suggested to Shallow Throat that what we need to do is to build in the expectation of annual budget decreases, at least in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. That way, front line government managers will have incentives to cut fat because the money that pays for it will disappear soon, and automatically.