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November 11, 2005

how to cut federal spending

Moderate Republicans have beaten back an effort to cut federal spending by $54 billion, partly because the proposed cuts would have hurt poor Americans. However, it is both possible and desirable to cut federal spending that benefits special interests. Although the following cuts would be very difficult for politicians to support, we should demand them:

Close the Commerce Department (too much corporate welfare), retaining the Bureau of the Census, the Patent Office, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as independent agencies ... save $4.9 billion.

Cut federal highway aid in half ... save $17.3 billion.

Close the Small Business Administration (too much corporate welfare), preserving only "direct disaster loans" ... save $20 billion.

Cut "commodities and international" spending from the Agriculture Department budget; also cut farm loans ... save $6.3 billion

Cut the NASA budget by $6 billion by narrowing the agency's mission to research using unmanned spacecraft

Total savings: $54.5 billion [Source: GPO]

Posted by peterlevine at November 11, 2005 10:12 AM


Very nice. The biggest waste, however, occurs in the Department of Defense, which remains inauditable.

Posted by: Hellmut Lotz [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2005 03:02 PM

That's right, but perhaps savings from the DoD budget should be spent on better defense priorities, such as pay, medical treatment, and armor for U.S. troops.

There are examples of "inauditable" programs within the domestic agencies. For example, I would love to cut all funds for developing new nuclear weapons from the Energy Department's budget, but there isn't a separate line for that purpose.

Posted by: Peter Levine [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2005 09:00 AM

I'd get rid of the department of agriculture ~= $20-25bn, I think. They dole out subsidies greater than the revenue of the entire agricultural industry.

I think that cutting NASA's budget is short-sighted. I believe that manned missions continue to be important and relevant.

Posted by: Michael Weiksner [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2005 04:29 PM

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