Want to Cut Government Waste? Here’s a Place to Start

Rob Bluey /

John McCain made a point of mentioning Citizens Against Government Waste during all three presidential debate. He cited the National Taxpayers Union in the last two. Today both organizations responded with a list of government waste that’s just waiting to be cut.

NTU’s research arm, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, through its BillTally program has compiled a list of pieces of legislation in the current Congress that would reduce spending, including examples like H.R. 5957, which would eliminate $35 billion worth of agricultural subsidies over five years. NTUF also holds a list of 2,150 spending cut bills introduced in the last nine Congresses that totaled over $9.5 trillion, only 69 of which were eventually signed into law for a savings of $89.6 billion. NTU also reviews data from the Administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool, which found that there were nearly 220 programs in 2007 that were ineffective or did not demonstrate results. This research is available from NTU staff or at http://www.ntu.org/downloads/BT110_SavingsBills.xls.

Another resource for spending cut information is “Prime Cuts,” compiled by CCAGW’s research arm, Citizens Against Government Waste, which contains 701 spending cut recommendations across the entire federal budget totaling $1.9 trillion over five years. It includes the elimination of duplicative and inefficient programs such as the Market Access Program, which funnels $231 million over five years to some of the largest and most profitable American companies for advertising abroad. It also makes tough calls, like canceling the NASA Mars Initiative, saving $11.5 billion over five years. It is available from CAGW staff or at http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_primecuts.

Whichever one of you emerges victorious from November’s election will be faced with difficult choices when it comes to budgets and overall spending. By all accounts, our budget deficit will set a new record and could approach $1 trillion. Fortunately, there is a surplus of methods to achieve real savings for the taxpayer.

Here’s the complete text of the letter to the McCain and Obama campaigns.