The blueprint for a balanced federal budget – the 3rd edition


The deficit of the FY2011 United States Federal Budget – $1.5 trillion – will be the second- biggest budgetary deficit ever.
Several conservative commentators and analysts (including HF analysts) have already presented their proposals on how to reduce federal spending. Admirably, these proposals do not postulate a reduction of defense spending nor the closure of any defense programs.
But unfortunately, some libertarian organizations, such as the misnamed group “Citizens Against Government Waste” and “FreedomWorks.org”, have called on President Obama and the Congress to balance the budget on the backs of American soldiers – i.e. to significantly cut government spending. Liberal groups, such as the CAP, agree with the CAGW.

We conservatives oppose defense spending reductions, because would weaken the military. Moreover, the federal budget can be balanced even if the DOD’s budget is not reduced. That is why this policy blueprint was crafted – to reconcile a balanced federal budget with an appropriately-sized DOD budget and a strong US military. America CAN have a balanced budget and a well-funded defense with a DOD budget equal to the FY2010 budget.
My proposal is that the US government should reduce only civilian spending – but reduce it to such a degree that would allow it to balance the budget. Most of these proposals are original, and a few were borrowed from AmericanSolutions.com; some of the below proposals are big, others are not. They target various agencies and programs, but they all target those programs that are unnecessary.
Unlike the balanced budget plan of the Republican Study Committee, this Blueprint would reduce the budget by FY2011, not by FY2019.
The total spending reductions would amount to $1.86377 trillion dollars, i.e. $1863.77 billion dollars, which would be enough to balance the budget during FY2011. The specific proposals, from huge budget reductions to minor savings, are as follows (the asterisks denote the sources for the numbers):
Expenditure that should be abolished Saving ($ billion)
Unspent stimulus money [1] 518
Unspent TARP money [1] 368.8
SS savings caused by a hike of the retirement age to 75 (thus halving the cost of the SS) [2] 365
Farm subsidies authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill 57.6
The Federal Railway Admin [2] 2.831
The Education Department [2] 49.697
The Dept. Of Housing and Urban Development [2] 41.59
The Department of Agriculture [2] 26.661
The IRS [2] 12.663
50% of the budget of the DOS [2] 28
The EPA [2] 10.486
The HRSA of the DHHS [2] 7.127
The “National Infrastructure Bank” [2] 5
Subsidies for the postal service [2] 4.344
Subsidies for Amtrak [2] 1
The Americorps [2] 1
Subsidies for the CPB [2] 0.481
Subsidies for the equal opportunity commission [2] 0.367
The Nat’l Endowment for Humanities 0.171
Subsidies for the NRC [2] 0.167
The Nat’l Endowment for the Arts [2] 0.161
The Federal Trade Commission [2] 0.158
The US Institute of “Peace” [2] 0.049
UN contribution [3] 0.440
The budget of the DOC [2]* 7.961
The war on drugs 77
The USDOJ’s BATF 1.163
The SA&MHS program of the CDC 3.394
Subsidies for Planned Parenthood clinics 0.3367
The International Trade Commission 0.083
TV Marti 0.01
Pork barrel spending 29
DOE, DHS, DOI, DOJ and DOL rescissions proposed by Tom Coburn 4.8653
Money annually defrauded from the Medicaid program 120
Money annually defrauded from the Medicare program 60
50% of the budget of the Congress 2.8155
The FDA 2.508
The SA&MH program of the CDC [2] 3.541
The Federal Transit Administration 10.799
The Uranium Enrichment Decommissioning Program 0.708

The DOE’s carbon sequestration program 0.145
DOE vehicle technologies 0.325
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences budget of the NSF 0.269

Subsidies for the TVA 0.719
National and Community Service 1.438
10% of the DVA’s budget 5.6967
50% of the DHS budget minus the rescissions proposed by TC 20.75

The FCC 0.439

Subsidies for single mothers [4] 300

The total annual spending reduction would be $1863.77 bn. The FY2011 budget deficit is $1500 bn, so the budget surplus would be $363.77 bn. It should be devoted exclusively to debt reduction. America’s public debt, as of March 2011, is $14 trillion. With that big a surplus, it would take 39 years to make America completely debt-free.

Please note that the abolition of the IRS would be the result of the FairTax Act, legislation that I support.

As a final note: significant revenue could be raised for the government even if SS program costs were not halved, by:

a) privatizing Amtrak, the US Postal Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority, GM, GMAC, the CPB and other Government-Owned Enterprises;

b) privatizing federal lands and unneeded federal property (which costs $25 billion to maintain, and would generate $83 bn one-time sales revenue if sold);

c) additional revenue could be raised by permitting oil corporations to drill for oil and natural gas in the ANWR, the Outer Continental Shelf and the Rocky Mountains.

Additional spending reductions that should be made include:

a) all 2,001 federal subsidy programs (including subsidies for ethanol, “green cars”, solar electric plants, wind turbines, and fossil fuels);

b) all federal road beautification programs;

c) the federal vehicle fleet (500,000 vehicles) by 50%;

d) reducing the federal workforce by 50% (rather than by 15%) by replacing only 50% of retiring federal employees;

e) repealing the Wagner Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as 90% of federal regulations on the Federal Register (because they are costly to enforce), and enacting Sen. Demint’s National Right-To-Work Act;

f) banning unions of government employees;

g) privatizing the air traffic control system, the FAA and the TSA;

h) privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;

i) enacting other domestic spending reduction proposals listed in this article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703779704576073750780454850.html

j) privatizing DVA hospitals;

k) freezing the budget of the Federal Highway Administration;

l) abolishing the Federal Housing Administration;

m) reducing the number of presidential appointees in the federal government (the Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries et al.);

n) reducing the number of Congressional committees (by committee mergers) by 33% and the number of Congressional staffers by 50%;

o) reducing federal welfare spending by 75% from FY2010 levels, from $888 bn to $222 bn (including, but not limited to, an abolition of welfare payments to single mothers), and instituting welfare program reforms;

p) abolishing Clinton’s executive order which says that federal documents must be translated into languages other than English;

r) denying federal funding to illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities;

s) implementing IBM’s recommendations on how to manage the government, make it perform better, and reduce its costs, by using technology and private sector policies, to save $1 trillion over a decade, i.e. $100 bn per year (http://www.americansolutions.com/take-action/2011/01/a-republican-house-of-hope-and-opportunity.php; http://www.businessofgovernment.org/);

t) finance and promote research programs that make human kidneys function and stop financing kidney dialysis, to save $20 bn per year (http://www.americansolutions.com/take-action/2011/01/a-republican-house-of-hope-and-opportunity.php);

u) finance and promote research programs aimed to stop Alzheimer’s disease and treat those who are suffering from it, to save $20 trillion over the next 4 decades (2011-2050). (http://www.americansolutions.com/take-action/2011/01/a-republican-house-of-hope-and-opportunity.php);

w) implement all of Rep. Bachmann’s proposed federal spending cuts except those related to defense spending (http://bachmann.house.gov/UploadedFiles/01_27_11_Potential_Spending_Cuts_and_Estimated_Money_Saved.pdf).

But entitlement programs are growing on autopilot, and they will eventually bury American children under a mountain of debt, unless their costs are significantly reduced; hence, such a cost reduction was included in this Blueprint.

All figures in this article are for FY2011 unless otherwise noted.

The sources (denoted in square brackets):
[1] http://www.americansolutions.com/economy/2010/02/sampling-of-deficit-reduction-measures.php
[2] http://www.wallstats.com/deathandtaxes
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations#Funding

[4] Yes, subsidies for single mothers really cost federal taxpayers $300 bn per year. Vide: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/08/national-marriage-week-it-pays-to-get-married-even-in-a-recession/
*Note: The US government should abolish the entire Department of Commerce except the NIST, which should be maintained.

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