TIGHTENING THE FEDERAL BUDGET BELT
October 14, 2005
If Congress spends $200 billion to rebuild the Gulf Coast, it should cut the budget elsewhere to close the gap, says Maya MacGuineas of the New America Foundation and graphic artist Alicia Cheng.
Budget cuts should focus on priorities because spending more in one area means spending less in another. Moreover, in a five-year period, the cuts distributed among all areas could save $200 billion, say MacGuineas and Cheng. They recommend:
- Eliminating $36.1 billion in defense spending, including canceling production of the V-22 Osprey aircraft and canceling the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator program.
- Slashing $30.1 billion in corporate welfare spending, including reducing agriculture subsidies by $11.1 billion.
- Cutting $13.7 billion from Medicare by applying a means test to the prescription drug program.
- Saving $50 billion by updating the inflation estimate used to calculate the Consumer Price Index.
Additionally, Congress could save $20 billion by eliminating pork projects, such as $2.3 million on an animal waste management research laboratory in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Finally, Congress could save $223 million by eliminating the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" from Gravina Island to Ketchikan, Alaska, say MacGuineas and Cheng.
Source: Maya MacGuineas and Alicia Cheng, "Closing the Hurricane Gap," New York Times, October 7, 2005.
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