President Obama had the most tech-savvy campaign we had ever seen at the time and now the most tech-savvy White House.  However, the GOP may have just one-upped him on their latest technology-based campaign.

Yesterday, Eric Cantor introduced YouCut.  Every week, five spending cuts are posted on the YouCut website.  Anyone who has a cell phone or access to the Internet (is there anyone who doesn’t?) can vote on a spending cut.  The following Monday, the winner will be announced and brought to the House floor that week for an up or down vote.

This week’s options are:

Presidential Election Fund
$260 million in savings
This federal program provides matching funds to political candidates during Presidential primaries, certain third-party candidates, and funds for political conventions. In the 2008 presidential election, the candidates raised over $1.3 billion from individuals and PACs, do they really need to supplement that with taxpayer money? This proposal has been estimated to save $260 million over five years. (Also proposed as part of the RSC Sunset Caucus.)

Taxpayer Subsidized Union Activities
$600 million in savings
Currently, some federal employees spend up to 100% of their workweek, paid by taxpayers, doing work for their union. Federal employees unions collect millions in revenue each year and spend significant amounts on political activities and lobbying, should they also be subsidized by the taxpayer for their official functions? In 2008 the Federal government spent $120 million paying employees for their time spent working on union activities (over five years this would total a minimum of $600 million.) (Also proposed as part of the RSC Sunset Caucus.)

HUD Program for Doctoral Dissertations
$1 million in savings
Recently, taxpayers have financed research on media strategies for housing policy and the use of eminent domain for urban redevelopment. Why should families who are struggling to pay for their children’s college also being asked to fund stipends from the government for those who want to write their dissertation on certain government-preferred policies? At approximately $200,000 in grants per year, terminating this program would save $1 million over five years.

New Non-Reformed Welfare Program
$2.5 billion in savings
The program was recently created to incentivize states to increase their welfare caseloads without requiring able-bodied adults to work, get job training, or otherwise prepare to move off of taxpayer assistance. Reforming the welfare program was one of the great achievements of the mid 1990s, saving taxpayers billions of dollars and ending the cycle of dependency on welfare. This new program, created in 2009 is a backdoor way to undo those reforms. The program currently costs approximately $2.5 billion a year. (Also proposed as part of the RSC Sunset Caucus.)

Eliminate Wealthier Communities from CDBG
$2.6 billion in savings
This cut will focus federal economic development assistance to needy communities. The Community Development Block Grant program currently funds a wide range of local economic development activities, while it is advertised as a way to help low-income communities, funds are also dispersed to communities with income well-above the national average. A recent study found that the community of Newton, Massachusetts with a per capita income over twice the national average was receiving $28 per person in CDBG funds. At the same time, other communities with income 25% below the national average were receiving $10 per person. Restricting this program to only communities with income at or below 110% of national average income would save $2.6 billion over five years.


What do you think?  Was this a brilliant move or a pointless gimmick?