“Citizens Against Government Waste is Washington's leading opponent of pork-barrel spending.”- Washington Post
Prime Cuts 2013
A comprehensive list of spending cuts is useful at any time; it is of particular importance when Congress and the President are facing multiple crucial budget decisions.
The automatic cuts known as sequestration, necessitated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, kick in on March 1, 2013 barring a further delay or enactment of an alternative. In addition, the continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government for the first six months of fiscal year (FY) 2013 expires on March 27, 2013, meaning Congress must decide how to fund the government through September 30. Finally, the normal budget process for FY 2014 is set to begin shortly, although the President’s budget has been delayed and senators had to be threatened with losing their pay in order to pass a budget resolution for the first time in four years. Hanging over these deadlines is the nation’s record $16.6 trillion national debt, which is a constant reminder of the profligate spending that has become rampant in Washington.
It is within the context of these looming, significant spending decisions that Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) releases Prime Cuts 2013. CAGW has been publishing the document since 1993. This year’s version contains 557 recommendations that would save taxpayers $580.6 billion in the first year and $1.8 trillion over five years. To date, the implementation of CAGW’s recommendations has helped save taxpayers $1.3 trillion. Prime Cuts 2013 can serve as a valuable resource for paring down a bloated federal budget. No area of government spending is spared. For example, the document proposes eliminating the Market Access Program (MAP), which aims to help agricultural producers promote U.S. products overseas. However, MAP is a really a corporate welfare program that funnels millions of dollars to large, profitable corporations. Eliminating MAP would save taxpayers $1 billion over five years.
The recommendations also include long-standing proposals to eliminate the sugar, dairy and peanut programs; end the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship program; reduce Medicare improper payments by 50 percent; replace the $1 bill with the $1 coin; and increase the use of both cloud computing and software asset management tools.
Finally, numerous cuts could be made to the Department of Defense (DOD) without jeopardizing national security, including the elimination of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), a program that has been plagued with cost overruns of nearly $2 billion and is now 10 years behind schedule. Eliminating MEADS would save $195 million, as well as future costs of $16.5 billion if the project moved to the design, development and procurement stages. An internal U.S. Army memo asserted that MEADS “will not meet U.S. requirements or address the current and emerging threat without extensive and costly modifications.” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said, “We strongly feel that it’s a waste of money.”
The often hysterical rhetoric over sequestration has made it seem like allowing the cuts to occur will jeopardize national security and destroy the economy. However, as then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said on September 11, 2011, “the single-biggest threat to our national security is our debt.”
By following the blueprint provided by CAGW’s Prime Cuts 2013, wasteful government spending can be cut and the nation can start on a path toward fiscal sanity. Prime Cuts 2013 is essential reading for taxpayers, the media, and legislators alike.