The independent, non-partisan policy group Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) released their recommendations for how to reduce the deficit. They identify $148 billion in savings over the next five years, with savings coming from spending cuts and reductions in tax expenditures. The report states that their list of programs, "can be safely eliminated from the budget because they are an inefficient, ineffective, or wasteful use of taxpayer money."
Five areas are the focus of the TCS recommendations - agriculture, defense, energy, infrastructure, and transportation. In the area of agriculture, they propose $52 billion in savings by eliminating tax credits for ethanol, subsidization of corporate advertisements, and commodity crop subsidies, all of which go to benefit large corporations rather than small farmers. Their cuts in defense include proposals made by Secretary Gates, such as canceling the Marine's amphibious Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. They call for further reductions by reducing our nuclear weapons delivery platforms, freezing ground-based missile defense systems, and eliminating other programs. Cuts to defense spending also come out to $52 billion. Their savings from energy focus on eliminating provisions in tax expenditures, which are essentially spending by another name, that go to fossil fuel producers. This comes out to $22 billion in savings. Finally, TCS looks at inefficiencies in the infrastructure and transportation sectors, which they argue are simply opportunities for wasteful earmarks. Eliminating unnecessary projects that do not serve the national interest can bring a combined savings of over $22 billion.
|Areas of Recommended Budget Cuts||Spending Reductions Over Five Years (in Billions of Dollars)|
Note: Numbers rounded to nearest billion
We commend TCS for their diligence in identifying sizable budget savings. Efforts like these are essential to getting our fiscal house in order. Although this is not a comprehensive fiscal plan, it does take very important steps in the right direction by identifying specific programs that TCS would eliminate. To see our chart of all the comprehensive plans out there, click here.
We must caution that eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse - while extremely important - will not solve our debt problems. There will have to be spending and tax adjustments that will touch everyone in this country, given the fiscal hole we've dug ourselves into. But identifying specific spending and tax programs to start bringing us back out of the hole is a terrific step.