NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Identifying Government Waste

July 14, 1999

The group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has produced its latest annual study of ways to cut pork barrel spending and says taxpayers could save $1.2 trillion through judicious spending cuts which wouldn't greatly affect government services.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The Department of Agriculture could halve the number of its field offices -- from the present 2,700 to 1,350 -- by greater reliance on the phone and the Internet for a savings of $2.5 billion over five years.
  • Ending the Export Enhancement Program -- which subsidizes big corporation in the export of farm commodities -- would save taxpayers $2.2 billion over five years.
  • The Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration -- which is supposed to help poor areas of the country, but actually hands out money to some of the country's wealthiest and economically healthiest areas -- could be eliminated for a savings of $1 billion over five years.
  • Savings of some $591 million could be realized over five years by canceling Commerce's Advanced Technology Program -- which pays large firms to conduct the kind of research they would probably do anyway.

Then the Pentagon could save $10 billion over five years if Congress would allow it to close superfluous military bases and other facilities.

Privatizing the Energy Department's four Power Marketing Administrations would save $18 billion -- with another $2.5 billion realized by getting rid of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Then CAGW identified $1 billion of waste at the Environmental Protection Agency -- which hands out grants to nonprofit groups, which turn around and use the money to lobby for EPA programs.

Source: Macroscope, "Cutting the Waste," Investor's Business Daily, July 14, 1999.


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