• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Cut Non-Essential Spending First

    Some members of Congress who may have signaled support for “serious deficit spending” earlier in the week seem to have toughened their stance after news of just how serious the deficit looks to be.

    To help Congress begin the spending cuts, we’ve started a list of non-essential government spending that could be curbed:

    • Farm Subsidies: Taxpayers spend $25 billion annually on farm subsidies. Over 90 percent of all farm subsidies goes to growers of just five crops: wheat, cotton, corn, soybeans, and rice. Just as producers of fruits, vegetables, beef, and poultry currently thrive without subsidies, so can other farmers.
    • Earmarks: The $17 billion spent annually on pork projects includes the Charles Rangel School of Public Service, the Montana Sheep Institute, and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.
    • Overpayments: The government’s own auditors admit that Washington makes at least $55 billion in overpayments to government programs annually.
    • Corporate Welfare: Washington spends $60 billion a year on corporate welfare–more than it spends on homeland security.

    We invite our readers to share suggestions of other non-essential items.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Cut Non-Essential Spending First

    1. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      The list is only the beginning. Cut spending by at least a third and reduce the corporate and capital gains taxes at the same time. Stop all debt issues. Start repaying the loans. Unless we do all those things, we are facing a Weimar-Republic-like inflation in a year or so. Obama spending will only accelerate our financial demise. This is not conservative or liberal bias. It is common sense.

    2. Mike, Rochester New says:

      Close down the following Federal agencies: HUD, Dept of Education, Let Freddie and Fannie go under (that alone will save hundreds of billions), make Medicaid means tested, make SS means tested, and of course my favorite agency to bury once and for all- the Rural Electrification Administration. these acts should save $500B or more per year.

    3. Mary Ann, North Caro says:

      I would start with Congress's ability to vote themselves raises, then move on to their pensions & perks. That would make a huge dent in the financial crisis.

    4. TRB Pgh. Pa. says:

      How about we drop the anchor that is forign aid and pass a fair trade act that actually levels the playing field

    5. Phil, Boston says:

      Does anyone know exactly how much our country spends on foreign aid? This is a great idea, we need to focus on the USA. An end of all foreign aid could really help us now.

      And what would happen if the USA told China: "About those trillions and trillions of dollars we owe you, sorry we aren't going to pay you a single dollar"

      Would this mean war? That's the only reason I could think of not doing it.

    6. Therese, Reno says:

      I agree stop the foreign aid, entitlements, farm subsidies etc. Also lets pressure the democrats for a 2-3 mo. tax holiday for everybody. I just heard Obama's speech on his stimulus plan which is scary as hell!! He is using scare tactics to the American people to convince them that they need the govt. to bail them out. Socialist here we come. Doesn't anyone pay attention to history? FDR, Carter? The only hope we have is that the Republicans take a stand and stick together and do not endorse any stimulus package. It didn't work with G. Bush it is not going to work with Obama except to cause more debt and unemployment.

    7. Therese, Reno says:

      I thought having Christina Roner on Obama's economic team would be a plus. She believes in less spending and govt., cut taxes, etc. Is she on vacation?

    8. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Well first let's take a look at these things and see if we can see a pattern, whether or not there’s much reason to add to such a wish list, and what to do about that.

      I have the added advantage of experience as a farmer’s son which helps make it obvious to both me and countless other Americans that "farm subsidies" are Socialist “dope”, pushed by government elitists like “drug-pushers” getting farmers “hooked” on such “dope”, which thus in effect buys the votes, money, and power which those government elitists want.

      Earmarks: Another name for "buying votes" which money and power-hungry politicians use to help fuel their "gravey-train" of votes, money, and government power.

      (Government) Overpayments: Not entirely unrelated to another government spending spree which happens near the end of each "fiscal year", (as those of us how have been or are in government service can verify), known as "We'd better hurry up and spend all this extra money, or else we may not be able to get as much or more next year!"

      Corporate welfare: Writing also as one of those who has been or is in business, and who doesn't allow anyone to "spoon feed" me information, the reality is that to Leftist/government elitists fond of “speaking out of both sides of their mouth”, like “man with forked tongue”, “Corporate welfare” is at once a favorite way for Leftists/government elitists to “buy votes”, and a favorite “issue” for them to demagogue and pander about as if they’re on a crusade against it. Do your own homework, and you will find that’s all true!

      By now we should see that all of the above listed things are parts of a Leftist/government elitist "gravey-train" of ever more votes, money, and power for government elitists, and ever less money, power, and freedom for we the people.

      Yes, many of us certainly could present more "non-essential items" to cut.

      However, as long as we let Leftist/government elitist politicians get into office and in control, that doesn't present much reason to continue what is thus made a purely academic "wish list", and there's certainly no reason to expect Leftist/government elitists to stop such a "gravey-train" of ever more votes, money, and power for them at the expense of we the people.

      After 20 years of “Country Club Republican” fraternizing with Leftist/Socialists in Congress, with eight years of Comrade “Slick Willie” Clinton and his Comrades inserted, and the coming years under an even more Socialist/government elitist Obama and Congress, we certainly should see that turning any such “wish list” into a “done” list will require electing a President at least as Conservative as Ronald Reagan, if not more so, and a truly Conservative Congress, devoted to the Constitutional principle of limited government, and nothing else has or will get it done.

    9. tprice52, Rome, NY says:

      Convert present social agencies to private institutions. That will get rid of bloated union members agencies with employees that you can't fire and double dippers. Government agencies are never under budget because they are mandated to spend everything authorized.. Privitize, Privitize, Privatize

    10. Pingback: More Bailout Notes (And Some General Economics Ones) « 36 Chambers - The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

    11. Glen W. says:

      To reiterate, the totals included in the study reflect only new spending relative to the FY 2004-05 baseline – not total spending on the items. For instance, if spending on, say, More at Four increased from $10 million to $11 million, the new spending would be $1million. If the following year total spending grew to $12 million, that would be another $2 million in new spending (the $12 million compared to the baseline of $10 million). In total for those two years in this example, new spending would be $3 million.Additionally, new spending tallied in the study is not all-inclusive, but focused on non-essential appropriations. Focus is on creation and expansion of new programs and one-time, earmark spending.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.