600 Ways to Cut Government Spending and Save $640B
Policy + Politics

600 Ways to Cut Government Spending and Save $640B

  • A report from Citizens Against Government Waste looks at the new pork barrel.
  • Even if Congress agreed to cut half, it could end the sequester
  • Even with all this, they’ve missed a ton of waste in defense
iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

While Congressional Republicans push for cuts to entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid to reduce government spending and balance the budget over the next decade, a nonprofit organization is offering lawmakers its own proposal to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

Citizens Against Government Waste just released a summary of its annual report, which highlights a few of the 600 different recommendations to eliminate or cut back on hundreds of programs and projects that it claims would save nearly $639 billion a year.

Related: 5 Most Egregious Examples of Government Waste This Year

This year’s full report targets most of the government’s largest programs—including the billions of improper Medicare payments made each year.

The report suggests that the government should reinstate the Recovery Audit Contractor, a program that collects Medicare overpayments. It saved more than $3.5 billion in 2013, before it was suspended. The report estimated that it would save an estimated $24 billion over the next five years.

“Medicare is plagued with the highest reported amount of improper payments of any federal program,’ the report said. The government doled out about $46 billion in improper payments last year alone.

Related: Government Blatantly Wastes $30 Billion This Year

The group also recommends getting rid of the Rural Utilities Service, which provides broadband Internet access to small communities across the country. That would save about $9.5 billion the first year alone.

It also takes aim at several federal agencies—including the Denali Commission—established in 1998 to provide grants to build infrastructure in Alaska. The group says completely eliminating the commission could save $10 million this year alone. Similarly, it recommends eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, which it says would save about $335 million over the first year.

Of course, many of the group’s recommendations face fierce opposition—especially by those benefitting from the programs and projects it’s pushing to eliminate. Still, it says its report can act as a road map for lawmakers looking for places to slash spending.

“The November 2014 elections gave the Republican Party control of the Senate and a larger majority in the House,” the report said. "Hanging over Capitol Hill during this shift in power is the nation's record $18.2 trillion national debt, which is a constant reminder of profligate spending in Washington. By following the blueprint provided by CAGW's Prime Cuts 2015, wasteful government spending can be cut and the nation can start on a path toward fiscal sanity.”

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