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  • Morning Bell: How To Cut Federal Spending

    Earlier this month, the Obama administration reported that the federal deficit hit a near-record $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2010. That means the government had to borrow 37 cents out of every dollar it spent. If Congress continues existing taxing and spending policies, federal deficits will reach a projected $2 trillion deficit in just 10 years. America cannot survive such sustained deficits, and Americans know it. According to a poll conducted last week by The Hill, 52% of independent voters surveyed cited debt reduction as a priority, compared with only 39 percent who said additional federal spending to create jobs is more important.

    Our nation’s deficits are, in reality, a spending problem. Even if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are made permanent, revenues are set to return to their post-World War II average of 18% by 2020. Spending, on the other hand, continues to explode. After averaging 20% since World War II, federal spending is set to soar to 26% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. If Congress is to have any chance of cutting the deficit, spending must be cut. But how?

    The lion’s share of spending growth is due to the big three entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Heritage has Solutions for each of these programs including: 1) transforming Social Security into a real insurance program that offers a safety net for poorer retirees; 2) transforming Medicare into a defined contribution system that would be capped and reviewed periodically; and 3) changing Medicaid from a open-ended entitlement into an insurance-based model of private coverage. But these are all long-term reforms that will take time to implement. What can the next Congress do as soon as they take office to prove to the American people that they are serious about cutting spending?

    The Heritage Foundation’s Brian Riedl has identified $343 billion in spending cuts that can be made for the fiscal year 2012 budget. You can see a table of all the cuts here. The bulk of the cuts fall into six areas:

    • Empowering state and local governments. Congress should focus the federal government on performing a few duties well and allow the state and local governments, which are closer to the people, to creatively address local needs in areas such as transportation, justice, job training and economic development.
    • Consolidating duplicative programs. Past Congresses have repeatedly piled duplicative programs on top of preexisting programs, increasing administrative costs and creating a bureaucratic maze that confuses people seeking assistance.
    • Privatization. Many current government functions could be performed more efficiently by the private sector.
    • Targeting programs more precisely. Corporate welfare programs benefit those who do not need assistance in the American free enterprise system. Other programs often fail to enforce their own eligibility requirements.
    • Eliminating outdated and ineffective programs. Congress often allows the federal government to run the same programs for decades, despite many studies showing their ineffectiveness.
    • Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. Taxpayers will never trust the federal government to reform major entitlements if they believe that the savings will go toward “bridges to nowhere,” vacant government buildings and Grateful Dead archives.

    $343 billion in spending cuts will not balance our nation’s $1.3 trillion budget deficit. But it would be great start to permanently shrinking the size and power of the federal government.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    62 Responses to Morning Bell: How To Cut Federal Spending

    1. russ harris overland says:

      You know I hate to say this considering all the real quality stuff the Heritage Foundation folks normally part with but here goes, "How come you people won't come right out and say it, 'We need to dump ALL nanny state programs right now'?

      There is absolutely no way we as a nation can further subsidize social security, medicare, medicaid, school lunch programs, housing, etc, etc, etc…


    2. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      This is a LONG list


      take a look.

      The HF must be SO PROUD

      of their work to destroy America.

    3. Charlie Hunt says:

      I read all of the information provided in your commentary and data on the topic of deficit reduction. I agree with most of it. I have a problem with the social security changes that you recommend. I am the typical middle class father of four. I have two kids in college and two in high school. My wife and I struggle greatly managing costs already. I have trouble with savings because there isn't anything to save. If you change social security the way that you described, I will have very little "retirement". I understand your goals, but I think that you might need a bit of a reality check. If the system (social securlty) had been administered properly (funds segregated), we wouldn't have the issues with the program that we have now. I suppose that your comment to those of us that will depend on social security (money that we were forced to pay into the system) would just be "too bad"?

    4. Kaen S. Miller, 287 says:

      Could we eliminate the US Department of Education and leave the education to the states?

      Could we eliminate the Fed. Income Tax (by perhaps a federal sales tax) and therefore eliminate most of the IRS?

      Could we sell government buildings and land?

      Thank you and may God continue to bless you and this great nation.

    5. Gary L. Miller, Lewi says:

      I also believe that pensions should be eliminated for all federally elected officials and probably for executive branch political appointees, as well. They are all paid well and could provide for their retirement on their own. Also, any current pensions for these individuals should be eliminated and any proceeds go directly to reducing the debt, not the annual federal budget.

      We need citizen statesmen and women, not career politicians.

    6. Joe Minor, West Palm says:

      Let me preface this comment with the note that I am a dues paying member and avid supporter of the Heritage Foundation.

      With that said, I resent the blanket reference to social security as an entitlement program. I draw social security and the amount I draw will never repay me for the maximum SS I paid every year of my work life, including my continued full employment through age 68. Some of the programs within the SS program are unearned "entitlements," but those of us who have worked and paid-in since teen years, have earned the payments we receive. Therefore, it is not an "entitlement" in the manner that the term is used, it is a paid-up annuity. Please make that clear when you are recommending changes to the program; we deserve to receive some benefit for the penalty we paid.

    7. Margaret Shreehan, N says:

      What I would like to see is one more new law that requires for every future new spending law passed two old spending laws must be repealed.

    8. J. H. Gudwer, Naples says:

      I really dislike sounding negative, but meaningful spending cuts will never happen. Almost 50% of our population are on some form of entitlement and those folks will never agree to give anything up. Let's face it, many Americans today, don't believe in 'working for a living', and we will still have those politicans in Washington who will continue to provide handouts just to protect their behinds. As I've said in previous comments, we have no where to go until we hit the bottom and then it will be up to the generation(s) who will follow us to pick this once great country back up to where we once were.

      J. H. Gudwer

      Naples, Fl

    9. Robert, North Richla says:

      Spending is the key, however, reporting the federal bite out of our GDP as only 26% is irresponsible. That figure completely ignores the federal mandates to the states, where most of the welfare dollars are spent. You have to include state government spending – which would give us 43% of GDP in 2009, compared to only 24% in 1950 and 29% in 1960. Our Constitution does not function at any level above 30% – and the current level of 45% is socialism.

    10. Dan Hanley Port Wash says:

      It may be that I missed any comment regarding the Obama administration attacking small businesses with the aid of the IRS. I have had many complaints from these owners, saying that they have been audited and given their "pound of flesh" to the IRS. I am an insurance agent working with many of these business owners and they are clearly not happy. Do you have any studies regarding the increased policing by the IRS? If so please publish it. I will pass it on as I do with all your briefs.

      Thank you,

      Daniel J. Hanley, Sr.

      Member #34243212

      Phone: (516) 767-6746

    11. Chad, Oklahoma says:

      It is still alarming that 39% of INDEPENDENTS believe that federal spending creates jobs. Conservative politicians must take the time to explain basic economics and the positive impacts of free market capitalism to voters, or the country will continue drifting toward an unsustainable socialist system.

    12. B. Hall Syosset N.Y. says:

      Other cost savings- Eliminate the Dept. of Education and a balanced Bidget ammendment. Repeal the 16th ammendment and replace it with a fair or flat tax thus greatly reducing the IRS

    13. Steve N. --- Dowagia says:

      My Spending cuts:

      Cut all people hired by the federal government after 1998.

      Reduce all federal pension and salaries too 1998 levels.

      Take away free federal healthcare to all employees.

      No more COLA raises for federal employees.

      No more dipping into Social Security by the gov.

      Take away all federal expense accounts – no freebe on Air Force #1

    14. Floyd Sanderson, Chi says:

      Great list. It would be enormously helpful to learn how each of these programs are currently being funded. For example, the airport grants are funded by a tax on aviation fuel paid by the user. It would be helpful to know if that tax would therefore be reduced to the end user making the cost of aviation fuel more reasonable.

    15. KLIMAX Baltimore, Ma says:

      It seems like every time I read an article about Social Security one of the main comments is how much SS adds to the yearly budget !! If the Government would put back the Trillions of dollars they "STOLE" from the SS Trust and put the money in a fund that gives a decent rate of return this so called "Entitlement Problem involving SS" would cease to exist !!!

      I have paid large amount of money into SS over my working career and expect to get at least the amount projected in the yearly letter from SS when I retire in about 6 years !!! If Congress tries to change my retirement age or the amount I am expecting to receive they will have a hard time passing the bills due to the Revolt they will get from people like me !!!

      Congress has to put the money they are going to take from Medicare back into Medicares budget !!! 500 Billion is just to much to take from the Health care of the Senior Citizens who have, the majority of the time, worked and paid taxes for a lifetime in the work force !!! Obamacare must be cancelled, it costs to much, covers to many people (illegal aliens are eligible for "FREE CREDITS") and for the most part strips Medicare to the point that it is not beneficial to the people who will receive it and really need Health Care !!!

    16. Judith in Michigan says:

      Sound, solid suggestions from The Heritage Foundation, if only those in Congress will pay attention.

      The 39% of the people who believe more federal spending is the answer to creating jobs and growing the economy think they are Keynesian economic believers. But since this economic theory has Never been successful in practice, anywhere it has been tried, I bet these folks are actually more interested in government intervention and micro-management than other elements of the theory. Now, that is another whole ballgame. Look up the definition of Socialism and see if it looks familiar.

    17. C LabOUNTY MERRITT I says:

      I'm not sure I agree that Social Security is unstainable. Even with record unemployment for 2010, the revenue from SS collection is estimated at $815B.

      SS outlay is estimated at $768 B. I haven't seen the Fiscal Year totals yet, but the numbers should be out soon.

      I don't see Medicare collections in the receipts section. If anyone knows wheer to see that, I would appreciate the help in finding that number. I know the outlay for medicaid is part of the Dept. of Health & Human Service expenses.

      The following is a list of items I suggested to my Congressman for spending cuts:

      Cut congressional paid staff by 50%.

      Cut the Whitehouse staff by 50%.

      Cut the number of CZARs by 50%.

      Eliminate the Federal Department of Education.

      Eliminate the Federal Department of Agriculture.

      Eliminate the Federal Department of HUD.

      Reduce all Federal employee’s salaries by 15% for those making over $55,000 – not including the members of the Military.

      Just to start with !

    18. Dom Underwood - Gain says:

      I have a further great ideas…1. start cutting back on the pay scale of Federal Employees! My father was a GS-15 back in the days when he made less than his counterpart in private "civilian" world. He remained in the "Civil Service" because of the "security" and benefits, but the pay was less. Not so these days. 2.Also "back in the day", there were such things as a "reduction in force", which was permanent layoffs after WWII. 3. Have the new incoming Congresspersons pledge the following (1) Never go on "junkets"; (2) never meet privately with lobbyists without someone else present; (3) never be taken to lunch, dinner by a lobbyist or "special interest person; (4) never take any special deals from any special interests; (5) take a very keen look at all the very special benefits Congresspersons receive. Many of us really resent all the special perks, especially when you see the really nice retirement benefits (with COLA).

      Dom Underwood

    19. Jim Thompson, Grants says:

      In the "How to cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget" Table 1. totals $343,207 million but you refference it as 343 Billion. Am I missing something (besides zeros)?

    20. Jack Cruger Murrells says:

      I like your suggestions and would like to add some more.

      Cut the Congressional staff by 50%

      Cut all Federal Government salaries by 30% with the exception of Military and security.

      Have all Federal Government employee benifit insurance plans be contributory and employee selected from priviate plans. Pension plans should be a matching plan where the employee puts up a certain amount and the Government matches it.

      All endowments and grants should be cut at least 50% or done away with.

      Foreign aid should be cut by 30%.

    21. Jim Thompson, Grants says:

      I would like to see some studies done on Congressional and Senatorial staff and office expenditures/allowances. Along with travel cost in total for members and staff. Also, are there any restrictions on travel? It seems to me that only elected officials can "decide" to spend their constituants money to travel to Italy or France to "investigate" various things that might, or might not, help their people out.

    22. Russ, Cleveland TN says:


      Your work is appreciated and we read it with the earnest hope that this next congress will get the message that the voters want this debt brought under control.

      Unfortunately, most of the so-called conservative commentators in the Media who talk about reducing the debt begin with attacks on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Most have no answer except to discontinue these programs.

      Since most of them are RICH and HIGH INCOME people they are quite willing to abandon anything which takes some of their money to help the poor or disabled. It is a sad but true commentary on our times that GREED is more than alive and well, its appetite is overwhelming and is disastrous to America.

      The fact is that years ago politicians took the Social Security Trust Fund and included it in the general funds and spent them and issued IOU's to the Trust Fund. Now, much ado is being made that Soc Sec is broke when in reality it has a reserve and with simple modifications could be made healthy to 2075 according to articles published by AP wire service in our Local Cleveland Banner Aug 10, 2010, Page 8.

      It seems that the idea is to POISON THE WELL and Destroy Soc Security. I do not get the same thoughts from you. What exactly is the truth?

    23. Don, Livingston,TX says:

      I would suggest doing away with the Department of Education and let each state have their own Education oversight. NASA should be brought to its original status,and any international treaties should be reviewed and revised to establish USA interest. A total review of governmental funds doled out to any and all orginizations should be made, and the validity of such funds should be reestablished. Any orginizations that is not compatible with our democratic capitalistic Christian systeem should be immediately removed. NO funds to those that would undermine or otherwise destroy our systeem of government OR our culture.

    24. EON59, Stillwater, M says:

      Reduce government employment across the board through attrition. 15-20 years ago they claimed that by doing more government through electronic means ie: computers for document processing, accounts receivable and payable, video conferencing, that the total employment in the federal government would be reduced by 30 percent. Whatever happened with this? The government unemployment rate should be tied in with the the private sector. If the private sector is at 10 percent then the federal government needs to reduce employment likewise.

    25. E T Duffy Southbury says:

      Disappointed in the lack of specifics. Yes, Heritage Foundation identified 6 general areas but there were no specifics as to how you would wring those reductions out of the Federal Budget for 2012.

      Seems like whether from left or right we get vapor instead of specific, tangible, hard choices.

    26. Drew Page, IL says:

      Jack Cruger in South Carolina has the right answer. I would agree with each of his recommendations. But I would go a step further. I would suggest that all those who hold federal elected office be removed from the federal employees pension plan and that they have funds transferred from the federal employees' pension plan into Social Security and that those holding federal elected office receive their pensions from Social Security. I can guarantee that Social Security funds would thenceforth be safe from "loans" taken by the government to pay for "other things" and worthless IOUs left in their place.

      Heritage, it does no good to talk about Social Security reforms unless S.S. funding is safe from the government taking out "loans" and leaving IOUs. Why do you never speak to this? I have asked Heritage repeatedly in my posts to provide us with information on how much money has been taken from Social Security funds, each time it was done, by whom and on what the money was spent. It won't matter how much is put into Social Security funding or how you cut benefits, or extend the minimum age in order to collect – if nothing is done to keep the government from raiding this fund.

    27. William Wortman, Tul says:

      We could have voided the income tax for the same or less than we spent on stimulating the economy – think that would have stimulated? Also, shut down most or all of the foreign bases in 200 countries as we need not be an empire. We would be booming and in the black in no time at all. Also, cut government regulation by half.

    28. Jackson - Denton, Te says:

      I got into the discussion a bit late so most of my thoughts have been mentioned. Just a couple of rhetorical questions:

      1. I too object to reference SS as "entitlement." It may be, in the sense that most of those drawing it are entitled by virtue of having paid into it for decades, but NOT for those sucking off the system never having paid a nickel into it. To those who don't think people should get a return on an investment into which they were FORCED to contribute, and promised by the administrators (Govt) – WOULD YOU just walk away from such an investment and give it all back to the thieves that took it in the first place?

      2. As a proud member of Heritage Foundation, I appreciate what it stands for and does to keep our country out of the liberal gutter. What's up with a Harry Reid fan lecturing HF on destroying the USA? Wasn't it obama that told us not to go to Nevada?????

    29. Tom Sheahen, Deer Pa says:

      To the web-monitor: Please pass this observation along to the author. I don't care about it being posted for all to read.

      At the end, you say in part: "Almost all of the proposed cuts in federal spending will provoke strong objections from constituencies that benefit…" This is true, and is a major source of the residual antagonism to suggestions for budget cutting.

      The organization CAGW also puts out an annual list of possible budget cuts. It too gets ignored annually. I recall scrutinizing their list about 8 years ago, finding one tiny item that antagonized me, deciding "I'll get back to this tomorrow" — and manana never came.

      Perhaps a mathematical look at the issue will improve perspective on this topic. In the list, there are some suggested cuts that save numbers like $45 B, and others that are tiny (the smallest was $2M for a Japan-America commission). Well, numbers less than $100 M are "in the noise level" of the multi-billion savings. If you removed mention of ALL programs less than $10 M, your final bottom line would not change by even $ 1B ($ 383 B to $382 B). And really, the mathematical precision of the proposed cuts are not accurate enough in the first place to narrow it down to closer than $350B < X < $400B. You could delete mention of all programs below $100M without significantly changing your central conclusion, and thus avoid antagonizing a huge number of people who would otherwise be supportive of your broad line of reasoning. Also, the list would get shorter and more people would stay tuned to read the entire list.

    30. Rick Beltran, Spring says:

      Great first cut, but I would hesitate offering up cuts to the Veterans health care system at a time when almost ten years of war have added thousands of disabled Americans to Veteran's ranks.

      Doesn't mean that the VA system shouldn't be reformed…something that Eric Shinseki is trying to do.

    31. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Another concept is a sunset provision on all spending programs other than those essential for the safety of our country. Each and every department, czar, and federal government bureaucracy must be reviewed by the House of Representatives every ten years to assess its validity and worth. Those that fail are defunded and deleted. We do this in business – why not in Congress.

      I agree with others that those of us that have paid into Social Security / Medicare do not consider it an "entitlement." And I am angry as H E double hockey sticks that I had to sign up for Medicare, drop my existing coverage, and continue paying the 15% Self Employment Tax. The net additional cost to me is $3600 a year for less coverage. And ObamaCare hasn't even started yet.

    32. Rick Martin, Phoenix says:

      Lets go back to the Constitution and eliminate any branch that is not listed as a requirement of the Federal Government. We can repeal the 16th and 17th amendments which would enable the states to take back their control, and eliminate the IRS, and other federal agencies.

      I personally served in the US Marine Corps for 20 years. I have a problem with elected and appointed officials receiving 100% pensions from every office they have held, (some are receiving 5 or more pensions) why should a person volunteering to be a public servant receive a pension at any time? Let us also consider their unequal and unlimited medical coverage. Or perhaps their unequal pay raise as compared to federal employees for the last 60 to 80 years. We could recalculate all of their pay scales to 1935 and base their raises and their health care benefits to that given all federal employees.

    33. RennyG Maryland says:

      One of your suggestions was cutting back on federal and state agencies and letting private sector do the job. This in a no loose, win win situation!

      You would end up cutting payroll costs and benefits and "definately" increase efficiency. Not only productive efficiency but also administrative efficiency. You play "hell" trying to get answers from any government agency!!!!!

    34. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      First re instate that all immigrants sign that they can support themselves and their families, my grandparents did. Turn back last year and this years COLA for Congress (3% ea. yr) we Seniors didn't get one why should they? Make mandatory that Congress be covered by the same laws and policies they initiate for us. Set a limit to aides to first Lady and President, unless they pay out of pocket. Go line by line through every Bur. and eliminate excess and duplicate jobs. (didn't BHO promise to do this in 2008/)

    35. Randy Dutton says:

      Immediately end the bureaucratic barrier for offshore oil drilling permits.

      Put the EPA back under legislative control. Halt all non-Congressionally approved EPA rulings.

      Halt the government plan to take 14 million acres out of production.

      End Big Ag subsidies.

      Halt all DOE and DOA loan guarantees of businesses with failing business plans.

      End biofuel subsidies.

      Stop the E15 implementation which even the Auto Industry admits will damage or destroy older cars, power equipment, motorcycles.

      Stop using taxpayer money to subsidize wind turbines which are draining the dwindling global supply of rare earth elements (REE), of which China has a 97% monopoly. Every large wind turbine requires about 4000 pounds of REE. Without REEs America can't make most industrial and military products. http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/26655/?nli….

      Enforce the border, and come down HARD on those hiring illegal aliens, then set up a guest worker program for legal aliens.

      Cut federal employment in half.

      Decertify unions for public employees.

      End targeted pension results, instead focus on providing targeted pension donations.

      Bring most of our troops home from S. Korea, Okinawa, and Europe.

      Authorized school vouchers for all students. Make schools compete. End the Dept of Education but Fund the Student. Put parents back in charge of school system.

      Reopen Mountain Pass Mine, California, which is America's best source of rare earth elements.

      Give states equity in oil reserves from shoreline out to 200 miles.

      Impose minimum and severe sentences for white collar crimes.

    36. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Again in Heritage's "The Foundry"/"The Morning Bell", is another artcile, this one titled "How To Cut Federal Spending", in which we see "recommendations" which, however otherwise good and well-intentioned, show evidence of what a job so-called "Progressives" have done in the last 100 years…and especially since 1933…in so "conditioning" and "re-programming" the once most free people and society in history that sometimes the presumably most well-intentioned think of and even make recommendations, such as the first one in the article, which take down others with it like the first domino falling in a line of dominos, or undesirably "leavens the whole lump" as described in the Bible.

      To wit: "Empowering state and local governments. Congress should focus the federal government on performing a few duties well and allow the state and local governments, which are closer to the people, to creatively address local needs in areas such as transportation, justice, job training and economic development".

      Well, our Constitution of the United States (which was very evidently in fact written to limit government and free the people by putting the people in control of government, for a change), including our first "Bill of Rights" which are the first 10 Amendments, and particularly the 10th Amendment, already empowers and puts the people, on the basis of individual freedoms and responsibility for our freedoms, resources, and security, in priority ahead of local and state levels of government, and local and state levels of government ahead of the Federal government, in that order, by specifically assigning to and allowing, in order, the Federal government to have the fewest and very limited powers, the States to have the second most limited and fewest powers, and reserving the most and all other power to the people.

      In other words, it is as Thomas Jefferson said "Free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, not as the gift of their chief magistrate (government)", and so it is us, the people, not government, who do the "allowing". So also this includes allowing ourselves and our country to reach the point where too many of us think and recommend as if government should do the allowing, and so also to the point where, if we continue to fail to heed the demonstrated true and timeless wisdom and urging of Thomas Jefferson when he said "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government; so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so that the second does not become the legalized version of the first", then the end of all of our freedoms, and the end of the one incomparable exception of the freedom and prosperity of the people in the history of the world…the United States of America as a free country…will come sooner than later and it will be our fault that we, the people, allowed that to happen.

    37. Ren Jensen says:

      I heard on John Gibson's radio show last night that the Obama Health Care Bill contains a 3.8% "sales tax" on all real estate sales> Is this fact? If so, why have we not heard anyone talking about this? This will kill any real estate sales that may be happening>

    38. Jim Kinnu, Fountain says:

      Sir: I think your list can be a starting point but I don't think it addresses the issues in a focused manner nor does it reach far enough. We must take an ax to the Federal Bureacracy and eliminate major elements of it!!!! I suggest that your list should break the issues into categories: Entilements – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Prescription Drugs – totally restructure these programs to gradually evolve them to personal accounts by the individual participant and restrict benefit participation to citizens who substantiate their financial need for government assistance upon retirement after age 65 as a minimum; Elimination of Non Defense & Homeland Security Government Departments/Agencies – viz: Education; Envioronmental Protection Agency; and the Internal Revenue Service by putting education responsibility back to the states with the federal Government only responsible for establishing "minimum standards" for K-12, the EPA being eliminated by States becoming responsible for establishing their air quality standards; and the IRS being downsized to an organization that only has to administer a "flat tax" tax policy. Elimination of all Commissions, Boards, etc. Initiation of size and salary constraints on all congressional & committee staffs; restructuring all government pensions to be commensurate with those in private industry and require their health insurance both while working and when retired to be the same as all US citizens not some special programs only available to them as members of Congress or employees of the Federal Government. Require Congress to work with the States in establishing regulations to minimize the imposition on States of unfunded requirements for them to implement.

    39. Mel Nelson, (Cary, N says:

      Great suggestions all, but even if Congress is totally controled by Republicans, all suggestions to cut spending and especially Obamacare, is likely to be Vetoed by Obama.

    40. Alan says:

      The cost of government is related to what we expect it to do.

      The less we expect of government the less it costs.

      In short, the government should stick to governance.

      If we insist on rolling back taxes significantly we will see a reduction in the cost of living.

      We are naive to believe government will reduce its waste, fraud and inherent corruption voluntarily.

      By depriving governmental bureaucracies of the source waste and fraud, our taxes, will we be able to force the efficiencies which have been talked about.

      At the same time, there is a required shift in our psychology where we should not assume the functions of charity are to be taken on by government.

      Again, governance is the role of government.

      Charity is the function charities, philanthropies and related benevolent organizations.

    41. K Joy, California says:

      In the few minutes that I have to quickly review your federal spending cut list, there are two things I noticed that if cut could have a negative effect. The first is the federal money that goes to local DARE school programs. Local law enforcement uses the DARE program not only to teach about the dangers of drugs but to also target at risk youth in gangs and those becoming involved in juvenile crime. It is unfortunate that they have road blocks put up my many schools and are not allowed to fully implement many programs that would benefit our youth. I have no issue with my tax dollars funding this but I am sure the program could be redone to save money.

      Food inspection fees. Eliminate the government program and cover the cost with fees. Fees to whom, the businesses needing the food inspections? Fees are taxes in disguise. Businesses don't pay taxes, they pass those on to the consumer. Food safety is governments responsibility. Don't have an issue with my taxes going here either.

      Beach reconstruction. We have miles of beaches that need restoration every year due to mother nature. Maybe we should have not become involved in messing with mother nature, but now that we have and small businesses have built an economy around these tourist attractions something still needs to be done. At this time in our current economic state I don't think pulling all funding from this project would be a benefit. However, it is something that should be looked at and the cost of these continual reconstructions should be coming from local and state taxes voted in by the local taxpayers. If the local economies benefit from the beaches then they should sustain them eventually, but cutting funding tomorrow doesn't make sense.

      OK, my two cents worth before I head out to do my part in paying for all the excesses of the US Government.

    42. sandy says:

      Steve N said it all in a few words. Do his recommendations for a win win!

      Cut federal election dept. It appears corrupt and bumbling. Stop most of Obams travel and save billions. All of Congress will not receive pay for time spent electioneering.Use their own salaries. Vacation time will be clearly spelled out

      Any lies told to the public while running for public office will be treated as a crime. I am so sick of eloquent liars. Thanks for the space to vent

    43. Zack says:

      Bush Tax Cuts- 2.5 Trillion by 2014

      Iraq War- .5 trillion(already spent)

      Extend the Tax Cuts- 3.0 Trillion by 2020

      Private Sector Housing market losses for 2008/2009

      1.69 Trillion(Bailout much?)

      Hey, look at that….. 6 Trillion in savings!(excluding private lenders that caused the recession, even though our tax dollars were used to bail them out, not just G.S.E.'s. But Conn couldn't possibly mention those Cuts. Facts seem to be lost in his Blogs.

      Here is a history lesson….8.9 Trillion out of that 13.3 trillion National Debt to date was spent under Republican/Conservative Presidents and Congressional control. Look it up(treasurydirect.com, or heck just google National Debt History!)Reagan and George W. were the only two presidents to actually double the national debt with the very policies that Heritage, Conn and every other delusional Conservative wish to keep in place. Oh Amnesia, release us from your grasp!

    44. Zack says:

      It all started with Conn's horrible debt charts. So flawed. So magically flawed. I mean really? Do people take you for credibility? Do people actually take Heritage for credibility? Is this some sort of backwards universe? Am I dreaming?

      Once again, lets stick to the facts…

      from 2000-2008- 4.9 trillion added to the national debt(treasurydirect.gov)

      93% of all legislation from 2006-2008 was of republican/conservative sponsorship/they owned that congress(PERIOD)(votesmart.org)

      Both Bush Tax Cuts have already ripped 1.9 Trillion from Federal Revenue and another .6 trillion Interest by 2014. Did that somehow not add the the national debt? Who payed for it…who? anyone? Bueller?

      "Operation Iraqi Freedom" cost- .5 trillion. Another .5 trillion for unfunded Military Contracts(Haliburton, Enron, etc.)

      85% of the entire housing market share was private sector. 15% was G.S.E.'s and all other lenders subject to C.R.A. Not a single bill for regulatory reform or oversight for all lenders was passed during 12 years of conservative/republican congressional control…..again, opps!

      Disagree? of course you would. Fine with me. Ignore facts, I don't care.

      To be 100% serious, the majority of people know these facts and the majority of people will see just how miserable conservtive policy is when they take the House for two years and then……that's it. Conservatism is dead as it should have been 30 years ago. Once the baby boomers go, its over. Do you guys really not see this coming?

      And to only take the House after all the fear-mongering and rhetoric? Just the House? Really? Have fun with your 15 minutes of fame conservatives, your clock is ticking!!!

      • Conn Carroll Conn Carroll says:

        Thanks for crediting me with those awesome debt charts. Unfortunately they are not mine. They were made by The Washington Post.
        Thanks for reading.

    45. Zack says:

      You guys keep talking about private sector, free market, blah blah blah. Like the housing market that fell apart, that caused the recession, that was controlled by private sector lending? 1.69 trillion in private sector lending losses comparred to fannie and freddie's 283 billion.

      So leave everything up to private lenders and the free market? Get rid of public education, department of ag., H.U.D., really? REALLY? If you hate government so much then you should be stripped of social security, medicade, medicare, affordable housing, etc. Everything. You deserve nothing.

      If you take the slightest bit of government programs your a socialist!, Communist!, whatever conservative media tells you! Don't drive on highways, don't use the postal service, take your kids out of school, don't eat anything, don't drive anything, don't support any wars, do nothing. Stay home, watch fox news, follow Heritage and be miserable for the rest of your lives!

      Your spinning in circles! Its like watching a dog chase his tail. Please keep provided us with people like Odonnell(didn't know church and state was in the 1st ammendment..OH MY GOD SHE IS PATHETIC!), Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Beck, and media like Heritage, Fox news, etc. Please keep it up. You are helping Democrats like myself more then you know! Thank you for all the insanity! I think I personally owe Heritage and big "thank you" for giving the majority of people in this country a better understanding of what conservatism is really all about. Thank you and God Bless!

    46. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Other than a bit of evidence of the effect more than 100 years of “Progressive” government-centered orientation which has affected all of us in various ways, the article “How to Cut Federal Spending” is more on target than not.

      What bit of evidence? To wit: "Empowering state and local governments. Congress should…allow the state and local governments, which are closer to the people, to creatively address local needs in areas such as transportation, justice, job training and economic development".

      Well, our Constitution of the United States, including our first "Bill of Rights" which is the first 10 Amendments, and particularly in this case the 10th Amendment, already so empowers and “allows”. But the problem is that, for far too long, too many of us, the people, have allowed money and power-grabbing politicians and their bureaucrats to act as if that isn’t so.

      Other than that, the article is more on target than not.

    47. Lucy Gardner, Phoeni says:

      I had about given up on you as being far too general, but this article really tells it like it is. I HOPE we can establish this…

    48. Zack says:


      I must really get to you. Would you care to let everyone here know how many times you have blocked my comments from being posted? No? And the other hundreds of debt charts that Heritage produced that are so flawed I don't know where to begin? Or the other hundreds of false, midleading charts and graphs you have added to other blogs you made? Or the fact that you actually posted the debt charts from the Washington(Conservative leaning) Post? Or the fact that you can't answer who is paying for these tax cuts? Or the fact that you can't answer for any of the questions I asked, nor anyone else I have debated on this website? Do you care about legislative and economic facts at all? I can guarantee your entire purpose for being at the Heritage Foundation is a paycheck and that paycheck makes it so easy to disregard anything close to a fact and ensures the pure partisan and destructive nature behind this website. I couldn't possibly work at Heritage and still hold my head high. I have much more class then that.

      • Conn Carroll Conn Carroll says:

        Hey Zack-
        There is a team of us that approves comments. It's not just me. I am actually probably the most generous when it comes to approving yours. Most of which are good, but sometimes they are just too long on name-calling and too short on substance.
        But we love having you read and comment, so please do come back for more.

    49. Zack says:

      Are the debt charts

      And don't play the vindictive role here accusing me of being offense and unfair. Every blog you create is a complete attack filled with misleading information against Democrats and President Obama. 24/7 attacking Democrats, Progressives and Liberals. I dish it back. I'm not pushed by partisan media, espically the Heritage Foundation. You have outright lied in the majority of your blogs, you have blocked my comments from being posted for no reason at all aside from shutting the voice of opposition out, your sources lead back to other Heritage Research. This website is truly pathetic and it is amazing how many people take your blogs and this website for credible information.

      If your willing to lie and put up false information all over this website be prepared to answer questions when asked. Who will pay for the Bush Tax Cuts? Have conservative policies not already added trillions of dollars to the National Debt? Are your charts not flawed?

    50. Michael says:

      Cutting spending on Programs is good; however, it seems to me that the first place to attack Government spending is on Government itself. We need Term Limits at all levels of Government (Federal, state and Local). Each Senator has a staff of close to 200 people and each Congressman has a staff of close to 100 people. What do they do? At it's simplest, they meet with "Lobbyists" and listen to every idea and request for Public money (Grants, Tax Breaks, etc.). Then the team leaders and the elected official meet and decide which idea to fund, so they can get re-elected. The government pays better than the Private Sector and offers better benefits and they hire the best and brightest – this is INSANE! Every Senator/Congressman should cut their staff by 25% and then by 10% of the balance per year for the next 5 years.

      The Government has become the largest "Union" in the United States and it needs to be cut back severely. My guess is the Executive and Judicial Branches could also be cut by 25% and then by 10% per year for the next 5 years.

      Term Limits will begin to turnover the career Politicians and cutting pay and benefits for staff will begin to move more people back into Private market jobs. The next step is to begin putting real money into the Primary Process so we can select better candidates who believe in the Republic and who will reduce the control that Government has exerted over all of us.

    51. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Here's a thought: Cut federal spending—–all federal spending—–even the pay of

      Congress and the President——by half. Cut defense, Social Security, and other federal spending by half. Why? Because the federal government's too big. What to

      cut? Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan ran on getting rid of the Department of Education. Maybe it's time we did that—–maybe it's past time we did that. Social

      Security? Cut it back to 1980s levels and increase the funding. Put it in a safe, lock the safe, and LOSE the combination. Defense? How much is the M16 family costing us? I don't know the oneness of one, as my grandfather used say, but I know it's a lot. Cancel the M16 family and have Colt, Steyr, FN Hertsal, Heckler & Koch, and other companies, compete for a replacement. Maybe we should have a rifle like the Model45A. What's the Model 45A? It was a prototype assault rifle in a bullpup configuration that was developed in the Philippines by the Army in the last days of World War II. It's like the British EM-2, and the Soviet Korobov TKB-408,

      both of which weren't adopted after World War II. The British Commonwealth adopted the FN FAL, and used it until the 1980s. Britain retired its L1A1, an AR18 derivative. Canada adopted the C7 assault rifle and C8 carbine. Australia, after working for years on its own assault rifle, bought a license for the Steyr AUG, and came out with the F88 Austeyr. Cutting an obsolete assault rifle would be a start.

      So would privatizing Social Security. As for congressional pay? Cut it back to $123,000 from $143,000. And presidential pay? Cut back to $200,000 from $400,000.

    52. Buck Crosby Hubert , says:

      Cutting the federal budget is a lead pipe cinch , just limit the feds to their constitutional mandates and allow nothing more . Enact the fair tax , ie; national sales tax and eliminate the IRS to remove it as a weapon to be used against citizens . Eliminate every cabinet , department , commission , committee and working group not specifically mandated by the constitution . And yes , anything not eliminated because it is acceptable in the mandates can be contracted out . Also term limits on all elected offices would save millions on pensions and other retirement benefits . I've got a million more suggestions if you need them, and all they take is leadership with guts .

    53. Denise, Utah says:

      Zach, your comments are proof that the Department of Education should be eliminated. You obviously need to take some remedial English courses at a college or university nearby. If you love all of the socialist policies BOTH parties have shoved down the throats of all taxpayers, you should voluntarily give up more of your own money. Levying taxes is legalized theft by government. Government doesn't solve problems, government IS the problem. I believe if you don't pay taxes you shouldn't have the right to vote. Free loaders have no skin in the game. Zach, do you have skin in the game? Just wondering.

    54. Denise, Utah says:

      Alan Greenspan, the most fiendish financial terrorist of our time, has made inferences that the money for all the big nanny entitlement programs can be paid out indefinitely but the Federal Reserve won't be able to ensure the value of those entitlement monies. Imagine that!! The Feds know their ponzi scheme is coming to an end and that Federal Reserve Notes are worthless. I would admonish everyone to invest in real money like gold and silver. The Federal Government is BROKE! I've been forced to pay into Social Security and Medicaid for many years. I know that those programs will not be solvent when I retire. I don't want to live on the Government Plantation anyway so I have invested in tangible assets for my own future. Independence is a wonderful feeling!

    55. Ursula Oaks, Washing says:

      It is disappointing that the backgrounder on budget and spending, “How to Cut $343 Billion from the Federal Budget” proposes eliminating all educational and cultural exchange programs, especially since it was only a few years ago that the Heritage Foundation cosponsored an event with NAFSA: Association of International Educators and others at which experts made a strong case for placing international education and exchange at the heart of America’s public diplomacy efforts. And in 2008 in response to NAFSA’s paper, "International Education: The Neglected Dimension of Public Diplomacy" (http://www.nafsa.org/pdpaper08) the Heritage Foundation's own Jim Carafano wrote: "The association has to be commended for bringing attention to a vital issue impacting on national competitiveness. Americans need to pay attention."

      You can read more about why we shouldn’t cut funding for educational exchanges on the NAFSA blog at: http://blog.nafsa.org/2010/11/12/why-we-shouldnt-….

      Ursula Oaks

      Director, Media Relations

      NAFSA: Association of International Educators

    56. Deborah - MASS says:

      Let's stop ALL foreign aid – like the 800 billion to Pakistan! Close all WWII military bases in the EU (like Germany) and Japan…etc. Reduce Congress pay to the same level we pay our military $22,000 – (from $174,000 which they voted to increase time and time again ) STOP all paid benefits for any individual working in the federal government or state government and making over 75,000 – (let them pay their own benefits). End the life time benefits and STOP the PERKS which the house and senate get. They should fly on their dime..not mine! KILL the IRS, FDA, SEC, FTC ….they are BLOATED and ineffective. FLAT TAX FOR ALL!

      and let's impeach OBAMA for fiscal irresponsibility! He is trying to destroy America and doing a great job.

    57. Pat Crowninshield says:

      Why not cut the budgets of all departments by 10%. If the department can't stay within this cut at the end of 6 months, fire the boss. I can find at least 5% waste in any organization. 10% in the government should be easy. I speak from 25 years of experience as a GS 7/9 and as a retired E7. Set the margins and let the managers stay within them or suffer. The mid level managers know where they are fat and/or lean.

    58. colhghtsva says:

      The miltary brass is allowed to use enlisted personnel as personal servants. This is an offensive waste of tax payers' dollars. I know a chef (enlisted) who is personal chef to an admiral in Italy. I hope other Americans will contact (as I have) the President, their Congresspersons, and their personal acquaintances to encourage an end to this practice.

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