Cutting the Federal Budget
To Prevent U.S. Bankruptcy

This is a twelve-part series about various ways the federal budget could be trimmed, written by Jim Grichar.  These articles are all posted at Lew Rockwell dot com.  Mr. Grichar seems to be right on target, since so many government programs have outlived the problems they were set up to solve, and many others have no constitutional basis.  For example, there is nothing in the Constitution about direct payments to individuals, yet that's where a huge portion of our tax money goes.

Part I:  Why It Needs To Be Done.  With the federal budget deficit now estimated to exceed the $500 billion level and not apparently likely to decline rapidly in the near future, citizens should rightly worry as to when, and not if, the United States will go bankrupt.

Part II:  Cutting the Defense Budget.  Because the public is upset with George Bush’s war in Iraq and generally upset with the worthless United Nations and U.S. foreign adventures in general, major cuts in defense spending and foreign aid, accompanied by a major change in U.S. defense strategy and tactics, are the area offering the best promise for savings.

Part III:  Cutting Out HUD, NASA and Other Losers.  The civilian space program is a 21st century version of Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) program, a boondoggle that provides employment on useless projects.  It is nothing more than high-class welfare for scientists and engineers and the domestic aerospace industry.

Part IV:  Abolish the Department of Education.  The U.S. Department of Education, created as a political payoff to the National Education Association by former President Jimmy Carter, is a sewer for taxpayers’ money and ought to be abolished outright.  With a budget that was at $35.7 billion in fiscal year 2001, the Bush Administration, in league with Sen. Ted Kennedy, has managed to push up that total to a whopping $64.3 billion proposed for fiscal year 2005, an increase of over 80% in just four years!

Part V:  Abolish the Agriculture Department.  Ostensibly set up to protect small farmers from the vagaries of price fluctuations and crop disasters, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has grown into a multi-faceted bureaucracy that now spends more than half of its budget ($47.3 billion) on the food stamp and related food-type welfare programs.  But if the taxpayers ended other farm subsidies, such as the $15.2 billion proposed for price supports, there probably would not be a need for food stamps as food prices would decline, making food affordable to poor people.

Part VI:  Trimming the Transportation Department.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) budget is one that is loaded with pork, and it is ripe for trimming.  At a proposed level of nearly $59 billion for fiscal year 2005, it contains loads of useless projects and programs.  DOT is an agglomeration of a wide variety of welfare-state programs along with regulatory schemes that force states, when getting associated federal monies, to comply with a host of federal environmental and safety regulations; in other words, the feds get to impose a load of unfunded mandates on states, a hidden form of taxation.

Part VII:  Privatize the Interior Department.  The Department of the Interior is an old-line federal department, with a variety of bureaus — all with some link to the land or adjacent water — under its purview.  It is a department that has largely outlived its usefulness, except as a vehicle for special interests to get the public to fund their pet programs.  Eliminating Interior would save $9.8 billion per year.

Cutting Energy and Commerce.  [The Department of Energy] runs the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC — it takes in fees from those it regulates) and manages the various power-marketing associations that sell electricity produced by government-owned hydroelectric power dams.  All of these could be abolished, with such outfits like the EIA being privatized.  FERC should be abolished, particularly because it no longer regulates power rates.  It obviously did not help the California electric power crisis of 2001, so why keep it around?

Did someone mention the California Energy Crunch?

Part IX:  Trimming Health and Human Services.  The big items in the HHS budget are Medicare and Medicaid which account for about $454 billion and are growing at astronomical rates because of the expansion of programs — like the recent addition of a prescription drug benefit plan for Medicare.  More spending on Medicaid — which is even being funneled to illegal aliens — is also making the HHS budget grow even more.

Did someone mention Medicare?

Part X:  Homeland Security, Justice, and State — Not Exempt from Cuts.  The proposed fiscal year 2005 budgets for the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the State Department are $31.1 billion, $23.7 billion and $11.1 billion, respectively.  While some would question cutting these departments while the U.S. government is engaged in a war on terrorism, there are many programs laden with pork that are ripe for reduction, if not outright elimination.

Part XI:  The Treasury Budget Can Also Be Cut.  The Treasury Department has one of the largest budgets in the government, with a total for proposed fiscal year 2005 net outlays of $395.2 billion, of which an estimated $349.8 billion is for interest on federal debt.  The estimated gross outlay total exceeds $395.2 billion because Treasury anticipates getting payments for loans and other services performed for other departments and agencies. However, there is still plenty of room for cuts.

Part XII:  Freezing the Rest of the Budget for Three Years.  The final budget proposal I shall make is to freeze the rest of the federal budget — that is, allow no increases, but only decreases if possible, in the remaining $1.663 trillion being spent this year, fiscal year 2004.  To fund increases in any of the so-called entitlement programs, such as social security and its related programs, government civilian and military pensions, matching spending cuts in other programs would have to be made.

Additional articles by Jim Grichar:

Porkus Federalus:  Will It Ever Be Cut?  Independent Agencies include (but are unfortunately not limited to) such goofball operations like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (payoffs to the Star Trek and aerospace crowd — $16.2 billion), the Environmental Protection Agency (buying off tree huggers and other earth worshipers — $7.8 billion), the National Science Foundation (welfare for academics — $5.7 billion), the Corporation for National Service (i.e., Americorps and the rest of the alphabet soup of federal "volunteer" agencies — $1 billion), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($400 million for subsidizing propaganda that favors bigger government).  The Department of Housing and Urban Development is a sewer for public money and is best known for subsidizing housing for those unwilling to work, thus making it more difficult for those working to obtain housing.

Wielding the Budget Axe:  It’s Time to Abolish NASA.  Apparently willing to bribe virtually any possible voter in order to get re-elected, George Bush has decided to go after the Star Trek and scientist vote with his proposal for launching more robotic satellites into space, sending men to the moon again and subsequently sending them on a mission to Mars.  But neither the President nor supporters of this revamped NASA space program have come up with any real justification for continuing a multi-billion dollar boondoggle other than saying that it is our destiny to explore the solar system and beyond.  As that appears to be the only reason to continue funding NASA, taxpayers should demand that the whole program be abolished to reduce the federal budget deficit.

Abolish the FDA!  The time has long since come for the Congress to abolish the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also known as the FDA.  Contrary to the baloney put out on the various pages of its web site, which would lead the unwary taxpayer into thinking that the FDA is actually protecting him or her from some hazard, the FDA has outlived any usefulness its partisans and bureaucrats have claimed for it.  Getting rid of this bureaucratic dinosaur would save taxpayers nearly $1.7 billion (the proposed fiscal year 2004 budget), lead to reductions in the prices of food and drugs paid by consumers, reduce lawsuits over product liability, and reduce the number of lives lost and lives shortened due to a lack of drugs and medical devices.

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Updated January 8, 2009.

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