2008 Prime Cuts is a Guide to Cut Spending | Citizens Against Government Waste

2008 Prime Cuts is a Guide to Cut Spending

The WasteWatcher

With the election on November 4th looming, both Presidential candidates have pledged to go through the budget line by line to find wasteful spending.  Whoever wins could save a lot of time by reading Citizens Against Government Waste’s 2008 Prime Cuts, a list of 700 recommendations that would save $27 billion on one year and $1.2 trillion over five years.  The new President will inherit a $455 billion deficit from fiscal year 2008 and be staring at a possible $1 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2009.  There’s no room for new programs and plenty of incentive to cut those that are ineffective, duplicative, or wasteful. 

The new President could start by eliminating the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP), saving $231 million over five years.  The program gives funds to the Commodity Credit Program, which then provides funding to various organizations and private companies so they can promote U.S. agricultural products abroad.  Millions of dollars go to large, profitable corporations, which already advertise overseas without MAP.  For example, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., Sunkist Growers, and the National Grape Cooperative/Welch’s have all received funding from the program.  On May 27, 2006 the House of Representatives rejected by a vote of 70-345 Rep. Steve Chabot’s (R-Ohio) amendment to the fiscal 2007 Agricultural Appropriations Act that would have eliminated funding for MAP.  A new President that is fully committed to  MAP’s elimination could change that outcome.

Also recommended for elimination is the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which was created in 1998.  The goal of the program is to encourage kids to stay drug-free through the use of advertisements and interactive media.  However, the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget’s Performance Assessment Rating Tool have both judged the program to be ineffective.  Elimination of the program would save taxpayers $512 million over five years.

In addition, CAGW recommends the elimination of the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), which would save $115 million over five years.  The NDIC received a $23 million earmark from House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-Pa.) in fiscal year 2008.  A May 7, 2007 article in The Hill cited the House Government Reform Committee as describing the NDIC as “an expensive and duplicative use of scarce federal drug enforcement resources.”

One of the more expensive programs that could be cut is NASA’s New Moon/Mars initiative, which would place astronauts on the moon and continue with the exploration of Mars.  Until the deficit falls back to Earth from its stratospheric levels, this plan can be set aside.  The moon and Mars are not going anywhere; in the current economic climate no other nation is going to take off for either destination.  Taxpayers could save $1.5 billion in one year and $11.5 billion over five years by focusing on needs that are closer to home.

This year’s complete Prime Cuts report can be viewed at www.cagw.org.

  -- Sarah Maroney

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