The federal government owns one out of every forty acres of land in the United States. The value of this property, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, is $1.2 trillion. Why not consider selling some of it off if it’s not being used? To see more examples of potential cuts check out EMac's story on $1.5T Ways to Cut the Deficit.
$123.5 billion could be saved by shutting down programs the federal government has in place that just don’t accomplish what they promise to. The Office of Management and Budget found 218 such programs that were either inadequate or ineffective throughout the government, more specifically in the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, among others.
Federal agencies are overpaying $98 billion each year, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Some of the biggest culprits are:
- Department of Health and Human Services: $55.1 billion (9.4%)
- Department of Labor: $12.3 billion (9.9% of its spending), mostly associated with unemployment insurance
- Treasury Department: $12.3 billion (25.5%), all due to the earned income tax credit
- Social Security Administration: $8 billion (1.2%)
- Department of Agriculture: $4.3 billion (5.9%), mostly from the food stamp program, federal crop insurance, and school meals program
Taxpayers forked over $92 billion in the name of corporate goodies, according to the Cato Institute. And this excludes tax breaks and trade protections. Companies like Boeing, General Electric, Motorola, IBM and Xerox benefited from government funds. Some of this includes direct cash payments to high-tech companies and farmers as well as funding for promotion overseas of products and industries.
In 2009, 10,160 earmarks were put into 12 appropriations bills. The cost to taxpayers? $19.6 billion. And despite the talk of putting an end to government pork, Congress still managed to get more than 10,000 earmarks into the budget for 2010, according to the Heritage Foundation. Some recent examples (besides the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere”) are:
- $1.49 million for Mormon Crickets in Utah
- $75,000 for the Wayne Gomes Youth Baseball Diversity Foundation
- $381,000 for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City
- $254,000 for Wool Research at the Montana Sheep Institute
- $2.2 million for Center for Grape Genetics in Geneva, NY
Some analysts argue that without massive reforms to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, cutting spending is practically pointless. Although small programs are pennies compared to these hugely unfunded liabilities, every bit helps, and here is how the savings can quickly add up.