Fiorina wishes to curb spending and balance the federal budget, specifically by requiring federal agencies to justify the details of their expenditures and by dismissing executives of those agencies who fail to perform satisfactorily. She also advocates the use of technology in bringing public pressure to bear in encouraging responsible spending.
STUDENT IN AUDIENCE: “I'm a political science major here at Iowa State, and I was just wondering, what's your plan to combat and fix the budget? Because we need a balanced budget.”
CARLY FIORINA: “So you know, we have, there are a couple problems, one we haven't had a budget for a really long time, that's one of the problems. But secondly, we spend more money each and every year. It's one of the examples of the political class failings. Government has spent more money every year for about 50 years now. We have never reduced the size of government. In fact, quite the contrary, what politicians say election after election is 'spend more money in Washington DC every year'. And the debt and deficit gets higher – of course, it's gotten much higher under President Obama, but the truth is, we've had debts and deficits for a really long time. So, how do reduce debts and deficits? By the way, you all know the answer to that. You don't have to be a political science major to know. How do we reduce debts and deficits? There are only two things you can do. Grow the economy; cut spending. Grow the economy; cut spending. Grow the economy; cut spending. If we cut spending in the right way, we help grow the economy. So if we start to roll back all of these EPA regulations that don't do a thing to improve our environment, but do a lot to crush economic opportunity, you're contributing to both reducing spending and growing the economy. Did you know, by the way – you should know this – that the Environmental Protection Agency now controls, as of this month, 95% of the water in the state of Iowa. It's not gonna be helpful to economic growth. It's not gonna be helpful to the agriculture industry here in this state. How do you reduce spending while at the same time knowing that there are priorities upon which you must spend? We have to secure our border. We've been talking about it for 25 years, we haven't done it yet, it's gonna cost money and take manpower. That's important. We need to invest in that. I had a daughter who died of addictions; we have to invest more in the treatment of drug addictions and mental health. How are we gonna do that and still spend less money? How are we gonna make sure that we care for our veterans? The Veterans Administration has been a stain on our nation's honor for 20 years. We haven't fixed it. How are we gonna do that and still spend less money? Well, you know the answer to this too. The only way you can spend more money on what's important and less money overall is you have to prioritize your spending. Right? That's how you do it at home, or in a business. And how's the only way you can prioritize spending? Actually, we have to know where your money is being spent. We have to go to some version of zero-based budgeting. Some version of a plan where every single agency every single year has to justify every single dollar. You may be shocked to know that when an agency goes before congress in an appropriations hearing, they never talk about their whole budget. Never. Only thing they talk about is the rate of increase over last year's budget. So you could be spending hundreds of billions of dollars on something that makes no sense at all. Huh, what a shock, we're doing that throughout government a lot. Or, you could be wasting hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars, or you could have fraud or corruption. By the way, if you think that's an exaggeration, every year congress gets a report. A great Senator named Tom Coburn who is unfortunately retiring from the Senate, publishes a report every year: hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of fraud, waste, abuse, corruption in the federal government budget, and what do you suppose happens? Nothing. Nothing. So, in order to get to a place where we can spend less overall and yet prioritize and invest in those things that matter, we must know where every dollar is being spent. We must go to zero-based budgeting. How, might you ask, are we going to do that? Cause it takes congress to act. Bear with me here for a moment. We know that politicians respond to pressure. And when pressure is applied to politicians, they move. How do we know that? Because a year and a half ago, when the scandal of VA wait times in Arizona hit, there was so much pressure put on the political system that within three short weeks, congress came together with a bipartisan bill, passed a law – which Obama promptly signed – that said we could fire, wow, we could fire the 400 senior executives of the Veterans Administration. It was a breakthrough, cause you can't fire anybody in the federal government. By the way, sad note: only one person's been fired. A month ago, we learned 256,000 veterans have died waiting for appointments. You don't hear one peep out of Washington, or all these politicians. But the point is, they responded to pressure. So, I will ask all of you citizens, truly, changing the direction of our nation, taking our country back, unlocking its potential, takes not just leadership, it takes citizenship. And so on a regular basis, I will go into the Oval Office, and I will ask you a series of questions, and I will ask you to vote on your smart phones. Because technology is a way of focusing pressure on the political class. So I'm gonna ask you that question, sir. I'm gonna say, 'please take out your smart phones,' maybe I'll do this in the weekly radio address, 'please take out your smart phones, ladies and gentlemen.' By the way, side note: I've seen a lot of flip phones here in Iowa. Maybe not on a college campus, here. Maybe Cyclones don't own flip phones, but some of the rest of Iowans do, and you must upgrade. You have 18 months to do so. Smart phones are required for this, but the point is, I'm gonna ask: 'Do you think we should know where every dollar is being spent and go to some version of zero-based budgeting? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no.' This technology exists. Do you think we ought to be able to fire senior executives in the federal government who don't do their jobs? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no. The point is there are a whole set of questions that you know the answers to. It is common sense and good judgment. And now it is time to focus the common sense and good judgment of the American citizenry so we actually get something done. Know where your money is being spent, and prioritize how we spend it.”