BANGOR, Maine — According to former mayor and longtime Bangor trial lawyer Lawrence Willey, there must be 50 ways to cut federal spending.
A member of Gov. John McKernan’s state restructuring commission in the 1990s, Willey’s interest in streamlining civic, state and federal government hasn’t waned over the years.
What the University of Maine alumnus admits is a hobby for him has resulted in his production of a 166-page tome titled “50 Recommendations to Cut Federal Spending.”
Willey opted to forego time spent playing golf — his other favorite hobby — last year to hasten completion of his research, which suggests if all 50 of his recommendations were enacted, the federal government would save approximately $3.65 trillion and generate another $3.8 trillion in new revenue.
“This is all something I did myself, so if a lawyer from Bangor can do this, it shouldn’t be hard for our government to be able to evaluate this and put some of these things into practice,” Willey said. “I read economic papers and journals, and study this kind of stuff, most of which is online and accessible to the public. That’s what irritates me is it’s all there and no one has tried to use the info to make some changes.
A member of The Maine Institute, he also issued a paper with recommendations for restructuring state government and making it more efficient.
“One of my recommendations was for the Departments of Agriculture and Conservation to be combined, and that’s happening,” he said.
Some of his suggestions include consolidation of federal departments and agencies, for instance, combining the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. In his executive branch model, he consolidates 15 departments into seven and 56 government agencies, commissions and boards into 37.
“There are various ways to combine departments and eliminate multiplicity and duplication and combined oversight of the same areas by different government departments,” said Willey.
Other suggestions include repealing Obama’s health care legislation, which Willey said would save $800 billion in tax increases; instituting a flat tax of 15 to 25 percent for corporations and 15 to 18 percent for individuals; and privatizing the Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae loan agencies.
While he is a registered Republican, Willey has no partisan design or goal for his work.
“I’m not copywriting this. I don’t care who uses it or what party may find it interesting. I’m just hoping it gets out there and leads to some positive changes,” he said.