Left and Right Unite against Government Waste
Friday, November 05, 2010
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
Consumer advocates at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) haven’t seen eye-to-eye with the anti-tax crusaders at the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) on many issues. But the two divergent organizations have come together on the matter of cutting government waste, for the sake of reducing the size of the bloated federal budget.
In a joint report, U.S. PIRG and NTU have proposed 30 recommendations that they claim could save Washington $600 billion by 2015. The changes would affect everything from entitlement programs to military spending to agricultural subsidies—all of which are considered sacrosanct by powerful special interests.
One recommendation calls for eliminating programs that help big corporations promote their products overseas. Specifically, get rid of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation ($154 million) and the Agriculture Department’s Market Access Program ($1 billion), the report says, because “companies like McDonald’s, Nabisco, and Fruit of the Loom should market their exports out of their ample budgets.”
The two groups also want to axe funding for agricultural policies that have been “perverted from their original intention or fallen short of their goals.” They want to eliminate subsidies to big agribusiness companies ($35.5 billion) and eliminate refundable tax credits for ethanol ($22.6 billion).
Among the report’s other recommendations are ending orders for obsolete spare parts and supplies in the Defense Department ($184.5 billion), canceling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ($22.5 billion) and the V-22 Osprey aircraft ($6.2 billion), selling almost 14,000 not utilized or underutilized buildings ($24 billion), canceling the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle ($16.3 billion), selling the SouthEastern Power Authority ($1.2 billion), and eliminating the redundant National Drug Intelligence Center ($223 million).
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending (National Taxpayers Union, U.S. PIRG Education Fund) (pdf)
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