In Washington, balancing the budget is often discussed with the highest of soaring rhetoric. Positions are hammered into place and defended, and opponents are attacked with ferocity. Then, once party control of Washington has switched, the positions often magically reverse.

For the rest of the country, however, balancing the budget and getting the federal government back within the limits of the Constitution are not academic questions. This is why grassroots organizations like Tea Party Patriots prefer to rely on the collective wisdom of the people rather than that of the collective wisdom of the Beltway. Today the Patriots blog is proud to highlight the budget plan of one Allen Stults, who formerly worked as Chairman of the American Bankers Assoc. & also served on the The Committee to Streamline the Government, chaired by then-Vice President George H. W. Bush.

Allen is 99, but he hasn’t let retirement stop him from doing his duty as a citizen. Here are just a few of his ideas:

  1. Eliminate the Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Health & Human Services (HHS)
  2. Term limits for all elected officials
  3. No subsidies for any private companies or industries
  4. No earmarks in the federal budget

The rest of Allen’s ideas can be found here, but as you can see they are far more aggressive than anything Washington is putting out. Even the few solid, serious proposals from Washington – like those of Senator Coburn (R-OK), the Republican Study Committee, and The Heritage Foundation’s “Saving the American Dream” proposal – still leave the federal bureaucracy largely intact. Allen’s plan would do a great deal to lessen dependence and bring the government back within its constitutional size and scope.

Unfortunately, many of Allen’s ideas are not going to be made into law with the current batch of Washington “leaders,” and in fact some of them should not be.  However, his ideas are in the right direction, and that’s what is important for any grassroots movement: moving the needle back in our direction. One particularly problematic proposal is the elimination of HHS. Doing this would eliminate Social Security and Medicare – which, when added to interest payments, are the major financial problems facing the nation over the next several decades. While that is financially sound, it would be ethically challenging to take away the retirement benefits of seniors in the way he describes. Additionally, politically speaking, the programs are far too popular to reform in such an aggressive fashion.

Since its inception, Tea Party Patriots has purposely focused on the message of smaller, affordable government. We don’t claim to be the budget experts; what we want is something done that will bring us back from the fiscal cliff. For decades now, the collective wisdom of Washington has failed to do that, and in fact has brought us closer to that same cliff. Perhaps it’s time for a change – the kind of change Allen is describing.