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  • Yes, Mr. President, You Can Cut Spending

    Today, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and budget director Peter Orszag released a joint memo asking government agencies to create lists of ineffective programs with the intention of enacting future budget cuts of 5 percent.

    This initiative follows in the footsteps of proposed legislation that would give the president greater power to cut spending by requiring Congress to vote on line-item spending rescissions requested by the president.  To have a significant impact on federal deficits, larger steps will need to be taken, but both ideas take small steps towards making Washington more efficient.

    There’s plenty of waste to go after.  In 2004, Heritage budget expert Brian Riedl listed duplicative programs that could, but have not yet been, eliminated.  These include 343 economic development programs, 130 programs serving the disabled, 130 programs serving at-risk youth…the list goes on.  Riedl explains that “having several agencies perform similar duties is wasteful and confuses program beneficiaries who must navigate each program’s distinct rules and requirements.”  Moreover, duplicity in government programs makes it more difficult for each one to achieve its goal.

    Wasteful spending doesn’t stop at program redundancy, either.  In Heritage’s 2010 edition of Federal Spending by the Numbers, Riedl points to plenty of areas where lawmakers could make painless cuts.  For example, Washington spends $25 billion each year to maintain unused or vacant federal properties, and $92 billion on corporate welfare.  Then there’s the less costly but no less absurd $2.6 million that Washington spends to train Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly.

    In the last five years, Government audits have shown that 22 percent of all federal programs fail to show any positive impact towards their intended objectives yet cost taxpayers $123 billion annually.

    However, this should be seen as just the beginning.  To have a profound impact, more drastic changes will be needed.  This proposal alone would create at most $20 billion in savings, addressing just 2 percent of the federal deficit.  The next step should be deep impact reforms such as repealing the stimulus and the trillion plus health care bill, and enacting major entitlement reform, targeting the unfunded liabilities created by Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

    Finally, the White House’s budget cuts wouldn’t require agencies to report on expendable programs until September 13, and effects wouldn’t occur until 2012.  If the White House is serious about cutting spending, they could—and should—start right now.  The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 gives the president the ability to rescind enacted spending by sending a message to Congress with directions, which a Member can then introduce in a bill.  Since 1974, presidents have submitted 1,178 rescissions totaling $76 billion.  Since Republicans expressed their desire for the president to offer a rescission package, an immediate request from the president would be almost sure to come to a vote in the House.

    Baby steps towards fiscal responsibility are a positive turn for the administration, but to show the American people they mean business, the White House should also begin cutting spending immediately and pursue reform with larger impact on the federal deficit.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Yes, Mr. President, You Can Cut Spending

    1. Greta says:

      Mr President, repeal healthcare as your first starting point.

    2. dave, dayton says:

      This will never happen as long as Unions control political contributions to the extent they currently expend. The battle in Arkansas is an example of how the unions think. To hell with the country, I want mine. Here in Dayton we have seen three large manufacters close,why? Union legacy costs. There was and still is a place for unions, but the power they yeild has grown way over their need.

    3. Drew Page, IL says:

      There you go again, trying to suggest ways for Mr. Obama to cut government spending. You would have better luck getting Hamas to concede Gaza to Isreal.

      Why doesn't Congress have the right to approve certain sections of a bill instead of having to vote 'yes' or 'no' on the entire bill? Is this just a Congressional rule, or is it a Constitutional requirement?

      For too long we have seen individual lawmakers and political parties game the system by adding amendments to a bill that have nothing to do with the overall intent of the bill, knowing that supporters of the bill will be forced to vote down the entire bill, due to the nature of the amendment(s) tacked on to it. who loses as a result of such 'gamesmanship' ? The American public and taxpayers lose.

    4. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 6.9.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    5. William Person says:

      The mantra for the next decade….

      cut spending, Cut Spending, CUT SPENDING!!!

      And no excuses!!!

    6. Greg B. Vail AZ says:

      Government will not seriously consider eliminating redundant programs because that would only reduce the supposed public need for government in their lives. Why, the elimination of these extra programs would make government smaller! Horrors!

    7. Rick says:

      "$123 billion? Million? annually."

      An edit is possibly necessary here. But what is a 1000X error among friends?

    8. Norma in Nebraska says:

      Well, if all those worthless or nearly worthless programs were cut like they should have been YEARS ago, what would the unions do so they could pay their bills????? Oh I forgot . . . not to worry because we exist for the unions, not the other way around!

      Out-of-control spending is all about lack of accountability, lack of respect for the taxpayers of this country, and the lack of appreciation for the wonderful country that our elected officials seem to be determined to destroy!

      I say clean house, get out the bug killer, scrub Washington and all related government agencies clean from top to bottom, and then get totally fresh faces in there. You can pick them out of the phone book . . . I don't care where they come from because they certainly couldn't do any worse that the bunch of elitists we now pay to spend us into oblivion.

    9. Bryan says:

      It is disheartening to know that I am among the many American citizens who are yelling from the roof tops to "STOP!" Yet, as unbelievable as it is, Washington does not hear our voice. We wave our banners and flags and signs, but the eyes of our leadership are closed.

      In Washington state, where I live, we vote them out but the 5 time re-count some how lets them back in. (Our state is the only one that is widely thought of as more corrupt than Chicago.)

      Do they believe we will sit back quietly, while Rome burns. Well, we are not Rome. We are America. We must all get our collective voices and Bigger signs and so many votes that they can never logically Question our intension. We must show our true nature. The America that defeated the most powerful Military in the world to become free. The America that invaded Europe in 1917 and finished the fight in ONE year. Then left and returned home. The America that was attacked at home on Dec. 7, 1941 and had defeated the TWO most powerful militaries on Earth within 4 years.

      We created the Bomb in three years…We Landed on the Moon in less than 10. We have a craft that flies 5 times the speed of sound. We invented the light bulb, useable electricity (Three times: Benjamin Franklin Invented the Battery, Thomas Edison Direct current, Nikoli Tesla invented alternating current) telephones, The internet, Medicines beyond number. Etc, etc.

      Don't these fools get the picture yet, (Oh yes and we invented that as well…And Movies.) You do not mess with;

      Mom

      Guns

      or

      AMERICA!!!!

    10. Billie says:

      the more government programs to the people, the weaker the people, and the more some people are convinced to be. governments at all levels with Obama leading the way, exemplify human weakness. crowding out the strong by obama's direct leadership to do so.

    11. DadinSeattle says:

      Good information. I do not believe there will be on iota of net reduction in spending however. If the left, (who believe in more government spending) finds 5% to cut here- they will use it it to justify increasing spending over there (while still claiming they cut spending). Much of the stimulus money spent thus far is a good example.

      A quarter million dollars spent for each new job created or saved? Temporary funds were used to fund raises to government workers all over the country and then counted as saved jobs. Those higher wages will continue long after money for them is gone. The economy stimulated? Nope.

      Ineffective spending programs -stimulus, cash for clunkers,auto bailout, housing reforms, Obamacare, cap and tax carbon trading schemes, etc..

      The only effect that all this spending will have (besides increasing the debt burden) is to make even more people dependent on government- and that is "positive" to the elitists intentionally cultivating that dependency for future votes.

    12. Jerry L, Florida says:

      Drew, IL is right. I've been saying a similar thing for years; all Bills should be single issue by Law! No adding in ANYTHING not pertinent to the single issue in the Bill. Congress doesn't want this to even be mentioned out loud because it seriously reduces their capability to make deals and to slip though legislation that wouldn't pass on it's own merit! Either it is a good idea for the country's people or it isn't.

      Some will say this is too simplistic and it needs to be more complex; that is exactly the kind of thinking that has helped make Government so large and out of control. Complexity is just a way to hide corruption! Any politician that won't commit to making this law isn't worth your vote in my opinion!

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