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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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