How to Cut $1 Trillion

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In the first category of spending cuts are: Elimination of the crop insurance program, which “distorts the insurance market…for commodity crops by encouraging overplanting;” elimination of the tax credit for ethanol; ending direct payments for the ten largest commodity crops; reducing fossil energy research and development grants; and reducing biological and environmental research, which should be conducted, instead, with private dollars.

Next: Reduce subsidies for the nuclear power industry — the nuclear industry itself should fund such production; restructure the Power Marketing Administration to charge market-based rates; eliminate the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program, which spends millions to subsidize profitable businesses; reduce funding for the Economic Development Administration, which is fraught with inefficiencies; eliminate the Feedstock Flexibility Program, which raises the domestic price of sugar.

Furthermore, we should eliminate: the market loan assistance subsidy program; several programs that provide funding to trade and exports; biomass research and development programs that should be paid for with private money; ultra-deep natural gas and petroleum federal research that should be conducted by private industry; USDA funding for dairy management that business should pay for; and biodiesel fuel education programs that should be run privately.

On the subject of military spending, the study authors said, “[W]e have relied on authoritative recommendations from officials and independent experts from across the political spectrum[.]”

In this area, the study suggested the US should: Implement reforms identified by the bipartisan Congressional Defense Acquisition Reform Panel; adopt former Secretary Robert Gates’s efficiency and streamlining recommendations; cancel the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and replace it with cheaper alternatives; cancel the Navy/Marines F-35 Strike fighter; reduce spending for other procurement; reduce V-22 Osprey purchases and replace with other helicopters; terminate the Medium Air Defense System to provide a mobile air defense system; use less expensive military repair services at central facilities; cancel the C-27J joint cargo aircraft; and reform ordering and tracking of spare parts and supplies.

Regarding savings from reforms to major entitlement programs, the savings experts recommended:

Better align Medicare payments to teaching hospitals with actual costs; reduce Medicare payments across the board in high-spending areas; reform “Medical Quality Improvement Organizations” to improve efficiency; prevent improper payments for non-covered chiropractic services; and remove the ceiling for collection of overpayments from the Supplemental Security Income program.

As for execution of government programs, these recommendations were listed:

Close up to 800 of the 2,100 federal data centers and take advantage of network-based computing technology; reduce the backlog of 55,500 buildings owned by the federal government that are not used or underutilized; reform airport improvement grants; require DOD and the VA to jointly buy prescriptions drugs to save costs; end wasteful Army Corps of Engineers projects that encourage development in flood-prone areas; reduce by 20 percent the fleet of 662,000 federally-owned or leased cars; eliminate air service programs at facilities serving few passengers and are near major airports; eliminate payments for abandoned mine restoration; end excessive “double-dipping” for reemployed annuitants; reduce funding for timber sales that lose money.

Also: End funding for the National Drug Intelligence Center, which GAO says duplicates drug enforcement; Livestock Protection Program should be ended and paid for with private sources; eliminate funding for Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which has its own assets of $100 million; do away with the Small Community Air Service Development Program, most of which projects fail; stop Space Flight Awareness Program, which pays for lavish events for private contractors.

With a bit of fortitude, Congress and the administration could have made these same cuts all by themselves.

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  • crackerjack

    The US is bankrupt. Period. The "saving" mantra may have been viable before Bush and Wall Street crashed the financial system. Waht we now need is a viable bankrupcy agenda and no more political kindergarten.

    Here the naked facts………………….

    * U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
    * Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
    * New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
    * National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
    * Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000

    Now, remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget.

    * Annual family income: $21,700
    * Money the family spent: $38,200
    * New debt on the credit card: $16,500
    * Outstanding balance on credit card: $142,710 * Total budget cuts: $385

    Kind of brings the issue “home” doesn’t it?

    • 080

      Since the Federal Budget must always be balanced the idea that there is a credit card is misleading. The Feds must have a dollar to spend a dollar. This means that the Fed must here and now raise l.65 trillion from the private sector of the economy. There is no putting it off to the future in a "credit card".

      • crackerjack

        Teaparty nonsense……… the notion that a modern industrial nation can run its financial business like little billy is expected to take care of his pocketmoney is kindergarten economics. In capitalism, the future is financed with debt. Every homeowner knows this. debt is a natural part of the cost of living. debt becomes a problem only when it becomes to expensive.
        If a state can only spend the tax dollar it recieves, it can disband its military, close its schools and let its infrastructure go to waste.

        • tanstaafl

          Oh, little billy has a problem! Let's all close our eyes and pretend that it will go away.

        • Chezwick_mac

          On the contrary, deficits were previously considered exceptional and short-term, to be paid off with the surpluses of better days. The debt we incurred during WW2 is an example of this.

          It was only in the 70s that our deficits became normative…and our debt, structural. Without resolution, it's a recipe for civilizational failure.

  • Chezwick_mac

    "$132.1 billion in savings from reforming major entitlement programs."

    Erm,,,,not quite what one envisions when referring to an actual transformation in the entitlement culture. This is a frigg'n drop in the proverbial bucket.

  • StephenD

    Support only those countries that share in our value of Individual Liberty and Personal Responsibility. When such a country exists, show the rest of the world how much better life can be by supporting them…and them only. Bring the rest of the money home. Domestically, provide welfare programs for those that can't do for themselves; everyone else must either work or go hungry. Secure the border. No Immigration Reform program can work unless and until the border is secure. Fair Tax or at least a Flat Tax where everyone pays the same percentage of their earnings and the removal of ALL loopholes is the only way to go. Let the states take back the responsibility of education. Cut all redundant functions performed by different agencies. TRIM THE FAT like any family would have to do. There are steps we can do across political lines if we have the courage to face the tough choices. Better we decide how and where rather than fate decide for us.

  • mrbean

    In the private sector, it is normal to cut salaries or make layoffs. So if every city, state, and federal employee and retirees, along with every city. state, and elected official and retirees would have a 10% pay cut, I believe we could come up with at least $3 trillion dollars a year in savings. They are all overpaid and would still be overpaid with the 10%salary cut

    • David Race

      They are all overpaid? Retirees?? Really ??? Hmmmm, someone making an absolute statement should have absolute proof. Do you? No. It's just rhethoric, and bad rhetoric at that.

  • Bill

    Your message was a breath of fresh air! Common-sense solutions are what we need, what we've gotten none of from this administration, and you named just about every single one I could have ever thought of! Thanks!

    Wanna run for prez? :)