President Reagan famously called government the “people’s business” and noted that “every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid.” With every cent we pay, taxpayers are investors in the U.S. government and are affected by every spending decision made by our elected representatives.
As Republicans and Democrats debate spending priorities and tax policy while reviewing the president’s budget, lawmakers should be committed to making decisions that benefit taxpayers and create better results for our communities by setting new standards requiring government spending programs to produce the best possible return on taxpayers’ investment.
We will continue to debate Washington’s budget priorities, but this debate requires, finally, a greater emphasis on Washington’s real blind spot: its accountability problem. The current appropriations and budget process wastes millions of dollars every year on programs and projects that are no longer working, or continues to fund programs that never worked in the first place. At a time when benefits to retirees are on the table for cuts, and Americans are being asked to make huge sacrifices, it is simply no longer acceptable to blindly grant funding to programs without assessing their effectiveness or value to taxpayers and the public at large.