Ten years ago then-Congressman Cornelius McGillicuddy IV, better known as Connie Mack, came up with a simple yet brilliant plan to eliminate the federal deficit over time as a first step to reducing the massive national debt.
At the time Mack represented Florida’s 14th congressional district, but his seat fell victim to redistricting after the 2010 Census.
His bill was officially known as the One Percent Spending Reduction Act, but he referred to it as the Penny Plan; it was so common-sense and nearly painless that observers from either end of the political spectrum applauded it.
Mack proposed that by cutting one penny out of every dollar budgeted each year for six years, we could eventually balance the budget — expenditures would equal revenue.
"So we take one penny out of every federal dollar for a year for six years, one percent a year for six years," Mack told Fox News host Sean Hannity in 2011.
"In the seventh year, we cap spending at 18% of GDP."
At the time Congress was working with fiscal year 2010 figures.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 expenditures were $3.456 trillion.
However, revenue that year was only $2.165 trillion, which gave us a $1.291 trillion deficit.
Mack said the Penny Plan was more painless than what families and businesses are routinely faced with: "Everybody watching the show tonight has had to take more than one penny out of their home budget or out of their business' budget and the federal government should be able to do the same," he told Hannity. "It is common sense, whether you are Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, independent, it makes sense," Mack added.
It made sense to FreedomWorks, a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based non-profit advocacy group that touted the plan and listed 10 reasons to support it
They included its simplicity, its popularity with the public, and its lack of gimmicks or budgetary tricks.
But it wasn’t just Hannity and FreedomWorks that admired the plan — self-described liberal Democrat and political strategist Lanny Davis believed the plan had merit also.
"In this time of crisis — and I believe our national debt is a genuine and historic crisis — we need members like Mr. Mack who know how to reach across the aisle, as I have seen him do many times, to find common solutions," Davis wrote in a column published by the left-leaning Huffington Post. "The Mack Penny Plan deserves serious consideration — as serious as the man who proposed it."
Mack’s concern at the time was repeated runaway deficits that contributed to a national debt that was then approaching $15 trillion.
Today, 10 years later, it’s nearly double — well over $28 trillion and rising.
Meanwhile, President Biden and congressional Democrats are pushing to add another $5 trillion over the next 10 years in addition to what’s already been budgeted.
Four years after writing his HuffPost column, Davis, who served as President Clinton’s Special Counsel in 1996-1998, hadn’t changed his mind.
He updated the column for Fox News, and described generational theft as "simply wrong. It is a moral stain on our generation if we leave this red-ink legacy for generations to come to deal with."
And it’s gotten progressively worse since then.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the treasury received $4.047 trillion in revenue during FY 2021, which turned out to be a banner year despite the pandemic. However, it paid out $6.817 trillion in expenses, resulting in a deficit more than half of the revenue — $2.77 trillion.
Even liberal pundit Juan Williams agreed that deficit spending is counterproductive to his own party’s continued success at the polls.
"Democrats cannot win elections without capturing the votes of independent-minded swing voters," he said. "And that is where writing off the Tea Party as a bunch of racist kooks becomes self-destructive. The Tea Party outrage over health-care reform, deficit spending and entitlements run amok is no fringe concern."
And if Republicans are smart they’ll take Williams’ advice and tackle runaway spending.
Everyone in the Biden administration would have you believe that we have to spend more in order to stimulate the economy and get inflation under control. Equally absurd, they claim that the $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" proposal would cost taxpayers zero.
On that subject, Voltaire observed that "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" — atrocities like burdening future generations with unsustainable debt.
If we do nothing it’ll be like watching the fall of the Roman empire in real time — only with WiFi and Dunkin’ Donuts.
To reverse this trend the first thing we have to do after the adults are back in charge is to pass the Penny Plan — "The One Percent Solution."
And although he’s no longer a member of Congress, it should be named the Connie Mack One Percent Spending Reduction Act.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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