NTU, US PIRG and Heritage Get Specific

Yesterday was a big day for getting specific as the National Taxpayers Union and the United States Public Interest Research Group, as well as the Heritage Foundation, came out with their own specific fiscal plans!

The NTU/USPIRG report offers a specific plan to cut $600 billion by 2015. This plan goes beyond the low-hanging fruit and tackles important areas like tax expenditures, Medicare and defense.

This plan is also noteworthy in that it brings together two organizations that often don't see eye-to-eye in supporting specific proposals to stabilize our national debt. Not only does the proposal offer hope that specific ideas can be put forth and debated, but that it can be done in a bipartisan manner. The report uses ideas from a variety of sources such as the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Government Accountability Office. Their plan focuses on four main areas; eliminating wasteful spending, improving contracting and assets acquisition, improving government operations and addressing outdated or ineffective military programs.

Their plan offers the following proposals:


Savings by 2015  ($  millions)

Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation 154
Eliminate the Market Access Program 1,000
Eliminate subsidies to trade assocations for marketing abroad 175

Eliminate subsidies to "big agribusiness"

Eliminate refundable tax credits for ethanol 22,640
Eliminate insurance subsidies for repeatedly-flooded homes 891
Eliminate ultra-deepwater natural gas and petroleum research program 158
Reduce funding for public timber sales that lose money 279
Sell Southeastern Power Administration and related assets 1,220
Implement acquisititon reforms identified by Defense Acquisition Panel 135,000
Eliminate 32 already-identified wasteful Department of Homeland Security projects 34,300
End orders for obsolete spare parts and supplies for the Defense Logistics Agency 35,500
End orders for obsolete spare parts and supplies for the Army 18,000
End orders for obsolete spare parts and supplies for the Navy 37,500
End orders for obsolete spare parts and supplies for the Air Force 93,500
Remove ceiling on the collection of overpayments for the SSI 580
Reduce by 25 percent the backlog of federal-owned buildings "not utilized or underutilized" 24,000
Recalibrate Medicare payments to cover actual costs for its graduate education program 20,500
Recalibrate Medicare reimbursement rates in high-cost regions 11,700
Eliminate overpayments for housing subsidies 4,480
Eliminate the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership 272
Return unallocated funds from TARP 15,000
Eliminate National Drug Intelligence Center 223
Cancel production of the V-22 Osprey 6,164
Cancel F-35 Joint Striker Fighter and replace with cheap and reliable alternatives 22,500
Alternativly, reduce F-35 procurements by cancelling Navy and Marine Corps Joint Striker Fighters 7,400
End spending for high-risk satellites and replace with lower cost alternatives 5,000
Align nuclear arsenal with current needs and threats 56,750
Cancel Expendtionary Fighting Vehicle 16,309
Change military depots' pricing structure for repairs to be more cost effective 1,030
Total 600,322

The Heritage Foundation also came out with a spending cut program of their own. This plan details over $343 billion in spending cuts that can be implemented this coming fiscal year. We will analyze their proposal in a separate blog.

Overall, we commend NTU, US PIRG and the Heritage Foundation for following our Let's Get Specific call and coming out with specific ideas on fiscal responsibility. The more realistic plans introduced by credible organizations designed to fix our budget, the better. For a comparison, see Congressman Paul Ryan’s Roadmap, Esquire’s own plan and CRFB President Maya MacGuineas and Bill Galston’s plan. And devise your own plan using our budget simulator.