If we were actually serious about eliminating the national debt, we need to stop adding to the deficit.

John Stossel, Chris Edwards from the Cato Institute, and Stuart Butler from the Heritage Foundation have put together a list of cuts that would balance the budget today and partially address social security and medicare for the future, which are the most significant long-term budget and deficit issues.

From John Stossel’s Take:

Defense cut by 2/3: $475 billion (Federal Budget, pg. 58)

Medicare/Medicaid*: $441 billion (Cato Institute)

Social Security*: $170 billion (Heritage Foundation)

Eliminate Dept. of Education (includes Pell Grants): $106.9 billion (Cato Institute)

Social Security Means Testing*: $85.7 billion (Cato Institute)

Eliminate Dept. of Transportation: $84.8 billion (Cato Institute)

Tax Amnesty: $80 billion (Rep. Jared Polis D-Co.)

Eliminate Dept. of Labor*: $78.6 billion (Department of Labor and White House)

Eliminate HUD: $60.8 billion (Cato Institute)

Eliminate Dept. of Agriculture*: $33 billion (Cato Institute)

Cut civilian employee compensation: $30 billion (Cato Institute)

Stop maintaining vacant federal property: $25 billion (Heritage Foundation)

Eliminate Foreign Aid: $21.2 billion (Cato Institute)

Eliminate Dept. of Energy*: $20.8 billion (Cato Institute)

Eliminate NASA: $19.6 billion (Cato Institute)

Federal Drug War: $15 billion (White House)

Earmark moratorium: $16 billion (Heritage Foundation)

Eliminate Fannie/Freddie Subsidies: $14 billion (Federal Housing Finance Agency (p. 10))

Eliminate Dept. of Commerce: $13.9 billion (Department of Commerce)

Eliminate Dept. of Interior: $12 billion (White House)

Legalize Pot, Online gambling, Immigrants: $12 billion (Rep. Jared Polis D-Co.)

Privatize Army Corps of Engineers: $10.6 billion (Cato Institute)

Cut federal employee travel budget: $10 billion (Heritage Foundation)

Eliminate National Science Foundation: $7.4 billion (National Science Foundation)

End EPA’s State and Local grants: $6.5 billion (Cato Institute)

Repeal Davis-Bacon: $6 billion (Republican Study Committee)

Privatize TSA: $5.7 billion (Federal Budget)

Cut Dept. of Justice’s State and Local grants: $5 billion (Heritage Foundation)

Privatize Post Office: $4 billion (White House)

Eliminate Small Business Administration: $1.8 billion (Small Business Administration)

Lease coastal plain of ANWR: $1.5 billion (Heritage Foundation)

Eliminate Federal Flood Insurance: $1.3 billion (CBO, pg. 3)

Abolish SEC: $1.3 billion (SEC)

Eliminate Corporation for National Community Service: $1 billion (Cato Institute)

Suspend acquisition of federal office space: $1 billion (Heritage Foundation)

End subsidies for public broadcasting: $500 million (Cato Institute)

Eliminate the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp: $480 million (Heritage Foundation)

Eliminate the FCC: $439 million (FCC)

Eliminate the Endowments for Arts/Humanities: $332 million (NEA/NEH)

Total Cut: $1,882,619,000,000

Current deficit: $1,645,000,000,000

Surplus Achieved: $237,619,000,000


  • nearlyretired

    I work in aerospace, spent half of my career in commercial and this last half in defense, and I will tell you the waste in the defense industry (especially compared with commercial) boggles the mind. It’s no longer a mystery why a toilet seat might cost $500. Yes, there are unscrupulous contractors, but from what I have seen in the past 15 years it is the defense acquisition system that is broken. The lack of accountability, the focus on minutiae, the poor decision making, the many competing political interests that filter down to engineering creates an environment of waste. When people argue that government should be run like private industry what they generally mean is that there must be an accountable chain of command, fiscal consequences to bad management and poor decision making, and a true focus on budgets and money spent. Private industry might not be perfect, but the free market system does a pretty good job of “correcting” bad management and lousy decisions and products in due course. Government could stand to take some lessons from industry.

  • Edgar Harris

    I don’t think any of should be surprised that this is a conservative’s wish list. This explains why conservatives don’t want to return to a more reasonable tax code. Conservatives aren’t really interested in balancing the budget. They’re interested in promoting their own anarchist ideology. There are a number of items on this list that have provided enormous benefits to our society. Some of the items on this list make me question how competent the authors of the list are. For example eliminating the FCC would be would be to industries that rely on electronic signals as eliminating traffic signs and lights would be to drivers. Eliminate the FCC and say good bye internet, good bye gps, good bye radio, good bye television, etc… Hello 1800s

    • Rob

      LOL. Yeah, if the FCC goes all of that disappears. God you big govt people are a joke.

      Pro-tip: Without government intervention, everything would be cheaper and companies would have to fight harder to be competitive.

      • Edgar Harris

        If you knew anything about how those signals worked you would realize that they all depend on being able to have complete access to their allotted spectrum in order to function. The FCC is responsible for making sure that only one broadcaster is using an allotted spectrum at any given time for a given area. In fact the FCC is stepping in right now to keep a Wi-Fi internet service provider from interfering with the spectrum GPS uses. I should point out that wired internet doesn’t rely on having access to a spectrum, but WAN solutions using Wi-Fi do rely on having access to a spectrum.

        • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

          And what is to stop a private entity from stepping in and filling this role? Or what would stop the industry players from making an agreement as to when spectrum they will use? It doesn’t do business any good if their products will not work, and businesses know this. They won’t shoot themselves in the foot.

          • Edgar Harris

            1) Any such private entity would have to be a monopoly, because you can’t have multiple organizations handing out spectrums. Private enterprise doesn’t perform very well when monopolies exist.
            2) By definition of being a private entity, this entity could not have legal authority over these spectrums. What is to stop someone from maliciously attacking someone else’s spectrum space?
            3) Profit motive could open the door to some serious corruption. For example this private entity could refuse to sell a spectrum to a competitor for a fee. The victim of this corruption would have no where to go, because the entity would have monopoly powers. At least if such abuses happen in the FCC the perpetrators can be held accountable to our elected officials in congress.
            I suppose the FCC could be privatized the same way that ICANN is privatized, but I don’t think the ICANN model would sit well with you anti government types. ICANN has a contract with the government to provide internet numbering services. At the end of the day the U.S. government is still covering ICANN’s operating cost, so it’s not saving us any money, and ICANN is a non profit, so it isn’t motivated by profits.

            • John

              All you big government and more government socialists, just name one thing the government has done right..like the Post Office, Amtrack, Medicare, Social Security and so on. Fraud and waste is huge. And when Obama’s healthcare kicks in, you’ll really see how poorly the gov. operates. the only thing Obama has done, so far, is bloat the federal payroll. If a bureau is not doing well, hire more people. 2012 and getting rid of this clown can’t come quick enough

          • Edgar

            It should be noted that managing public resources is a form of governing, and Spectra is a public resource. In the 1800s the Federal Government took on its governing responsibility of managing public lands through the homestead act, and today the Federal Government is fulfilling its role by managing spectra through the FCC.
            What you’re basically suggesting is taking a governing responsibility away from our Democratically elected Government, and handing it to private enterprise. You’re suggesting that instead of having the Federal Government manage this public resource, we should have a private enterprise manage this public resource. In a sense you are suggesting that we allow a small dictatorship take on this governing functionality. What other governing responsibilities should give to non Democratic private enterprises? Should we privatize our Military? Perhaps we can incentivise them by paying them for every war we win. We could even offer small bonuses for every enemy combatant they kill. Maybe we should privatize our Police Force too. We could offer them incentives for every person they arrest. While we’re at why don’t we just privatize Congress, and offer them some incentive for every law they pass?
            You’ve become so anti-government and so pro-business that you’ve come to believe that every government function could be done better by private enterprise, and you are failing to realize that government will exist one way or another. If a private enterprise is taking on the role of governing it is a government. Personally I prefer the government that is made up Democratically elected officials.

  • Edgar

    Would you really eliminate Pell Grants? I know for a fact that both you and I used Pell Grants to help us get through college. Seems a bit ungrateful to eliminate them for future generations. I think we both owe it to future generations to provide them with the same opportunities that we had. I guess now that you have your degree you don’t think they’re necessary.

  • Sartho

    I heard all the cries of, “No, not that!!!” from various groups of people as I read through it. Means it’s well balanced.

  • http://deleted JoeW

    Yup I’ll vote for that.

  • Troy La Mana

    I like it.

  • http://pinterest.com/theatomicmom/ Joyce A (East of Eden)

    Actually the fact that people will be paying less taxed to support an over bloated federal govt will allow companies to keep their money, hire more people, invest more and get the economy going.

  • Stephen Meehan

    Of course you immediately add ~2million to the Unemployment lines, and likely the Medicaid lines dramatically increasing those expenditures and eliminating the revenue from those income, SS and Medicare taxes. But, who cares, right?

    • Rob

      So in other words, nothing should be done because bad things might happen. Guess what? If we keep going on the path we are on the entire system collapses and a lot more people lose their jobs.