Friday, December 3, 2010

Another plan to cut the deficit

As I mentioned on Nov. 30, I've been on the lookout for deficit reduction plans. Most aren't worth mentioning. But I think this one is a better start than most. It comes from the Heritage Foundation, and would cut more than $300 billion from government spending. Still not enough, but you gotta start somewhere.

Table 1: Spending Cuts for FY 2012
(in millions of dollars)



Replace farm subsidies with Farmer Savings Accounts and improved crop insurance.


Eliminate the Foreign Agriculture Service.


Merge all four agriculture outreach and research agencies and cut their budget
in half.


Fund the Food Safety and Inspection Service with user fees.



Eliminate business subsidies from the National Institute of Standards and

Community Development


Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program.


Eliminate the Rural Utilities Service.


Eliminate the Economic Development Administration.


Eliminate NeighborWorks America (formerly the Neighborhood Reinvestment


Consolidate the Rural Housing and Development Programs and convert them into
block grants.


Eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission.


Eliminate the Denali Commission.


Eliminate the Minority Development Business Agency.


Eliminate the Delta Regional Authority.



Return Pell Grants to their 2009 funding level of $24 billion, which is still
double the 2007 level.


Trim Head Start by $2 billion and convert it into vouchers.


Scale back the Education Department bureaucracy.


Eliminate dozens of small and duplicative education grants.


Eliminate state grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities.

Energy and the Environment


Reduce energy subsidies for commercialization and some research activities.


Block grant and devolve Environmental Protection Agency grant programs.


Restructure the Power Marketing Administrations to charge market-based rates.


Eliminate the Science to Achieve Results Program.

Government Reform


Halve federal program payment errors by 2012, especially by reducing Medicare
errors and earned income tax credit errors.

Tighten oversight by spending $5 billion on new resources, such as updated
computer systems, and then recover $49 billion in payment errors.


Rescind unobligated balances after 36 months.


Halve the $25 billion spent to maintain vacant federal properties.


Cut the federal employee travel budget to $4 billion (half of FY 2000 spending).


Freeze federal pay until it can be reformed.


Suspend acquisition of federal office space.


Trim the federal vehicle fleet by 20 percent (a reduction of 100,000 vehicles).


Cut the House and Senate budgets back to the 2008 level of $2.2 billion.


Eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.


Tighten controls on federal employee credit cards and cut down on delinquencies.


Require federal employees to fly coach on domestic flights.

Health Care


Reform Medigap.


Repeal Obamacare (larger savings in later years).


Require Medicare home health co-payments.


Eliminate the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.


Eliminate Health Professions grants.


Eliminate Title X Family Planning.


Eliminate the National Health Service Corps.


Repeal Rural Health Outreach and Flexibility grants.

Homeland Security


Eliminate most homeland security grants to states and allow states to finance
their own programs.

Income Security


Better enforce eligibility requirements for food stamps.



Open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing.

(The savings are leasing revenues, which are classified as negative spending in
the federal budget.)


Suspend federal land purchases.



Eliminate the Development Assistance Program.


Eliminate the State Department’s education and cultural exchange programs.


Eliminate the International Trade Administration’s trade promotion activities or
charge the beneficiaries.


Eliminate the Democracy Fund.


Eliminate the International Trade Commission and transfer oversight of
intellectual property rights to the Treasury Department.


Eliminate the Trade and Development Agency.


Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.


Eliminate the East–West Center.


Eliminate the United States Institute of Peace.


Eliminate the Japan–United States Friendship Commission.



Eliminate all Justice Department grants except those from the Bureau of Justice
Statistics and the National Institute of Justice,

thereby empowering states to finance their own justice programs.


Eliminate the Legal Services Corporation.


Eliminate the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service.


Eliminate the duplicative Office of National Drug Control Policy.


Reduce funding for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by 20 percent

because of its policy against race-neutral enforcement of the law.


Eliminate the State Justice Institute.



Eliminate failed federal job training programs.


Eliminate the ineffective Job Corps.


Eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

National Science Foundation


Reduce National Science Foundation funding to 2008 levels.


Eliminate National Science Foundation spending on elementary and secondary



Devolve the federal highway program and most transit spending to the states.


Privatize Amtrak.


Eliminate grants to large and medium-sized hub airports.


Eliminate the Maritime Administration.


Eliminate the Essential Air Service Program.



Eliminate the additional child refundable credit.


Eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.



Cap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending.


Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security
Disability Insurance payments.

Cross-Agency and Other


Repeal unspent stimulus spending.


Switch to using the “Superlative CPI” in funding calculations.


Repeal the Davis–Bacon Act.


Eliminate Federal Communications Commission funding for school Internet service.


Ban project labor agreements on all federally funded construction projects.


Eliminate the Small Business Administration, which unnecessarily intervenes in
free markets.


Eliminate the National Community Service programs, such as AmeriCorps.


Eliminate the Institute of Museum Services and Library Services.


Eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.


Eliminate Army Corps of Engineers funding for beach replenishment projects.


Eliminate the Commission of Fine Arts.


Eliminate the National Capital Planning Commission.


Eliminate the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.


$343,207 million

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