Spending Challenge: Heritage Foundation's $343 Billion Proposal

The Heritage Foundation recently came out with a detailed paper with over $300 billion in spending cuts that can be put in place in FY 2012. Their proposal is broken up into six general categories: eliminating federal programs so the task can be taken up by the states, consolidating duplicative programs, privatizing some government functions, aligning spending programs more closely with national priorities, eliminating outdated and ineffective programs and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. Breaking their proposals up further, they go into direct government departments from Agriculture to Justice to Veteran’s Affairs.

The following are their proposed cuts with their projected savings amounts.

Spending Cut ($ Millions)
Agriculture 19,500
Commerce 500
Community Development 8,000
Energy and the Environment 11,800
Government Reform 91,800
Health Care 16,600
Homeland Security 2,700
Income Security 500
Interior 1,700
International 4,000
Justice 7,800
Labor 6,800
National Science Foundation 1,800
Transportation 48,600
Treasury 26,700
Veterans 4,400
Cross-Agency and Other 80,600
Total 343,000

Note: Figures may not add up due to rounding.

Some of their proposals, since they rescind money going to the states, would put additional pressure on cash-strapped states if they keep the programs funded. This is not to say that some of the programs should not be cut, but a reminder that devolving is not so much a money-saver than a funding-shifter. Some of the programs that Heritage poposes to devolve to the states are eliminating most homeland security grands to the states ($2.7 billion), eliminating many justice grants to the states ($7.3 billion) and devolving transportation funding ($45 billion).

The Heritage plan joins a growing list of specific deficit reduction plans--see here, here, here and here for others and try our budget simulator. We are glad to see more groups getting specific and hope that more policymakers will join the trend.