How to cut $639 billion in federal spending
People interested in reducing the size and cost of government have heard this one: "Okay, what government programs would you cut?" Our friends at Citizens Against Government Waste have an answer in their latest report, called "Prime Cuts":
Federal officials could eliminate $639 billion in wasteful spending annually — more than last year's deficit — by adopting more than 600 measures proposed by a nonprofit advocacy group.
The savings — which would add up to $2.6 trillion over five years — are found in 601 recommendations included in Citizens Against Government Waste's 2015 Prime Cuts report.
What are some areas ripe for cutting?
The biggest savings from a single Prime Cuts recommendation was eliminating the Rural Utilities Service, which provides broadband access to communities with populations of less than 20,000 people. Doing so would save $9.6 billion the first year and $48.1 billion over five years.
Among the wasteful federal spending projects identified by the report was a $667,000 grant awarded to Buford Communications of LaGrange, Ark., in 2009 to build a high-speed internet network. With the town's population of 122, the project cost $5,468 per resident.
"The time has come to unplug and dispose of the Rural Utilities Service," the report said.
"Another high-savings recommendation among the Prime Cuts was to reinstate a highly successful program that audited medicare">Medicare, a move that would save $24 billion over five years by reducing improper Medicare payments by 50 percent.
The Recovery Audit Contractor, first implemented in 2005, collected more than $3.5 billion in 2013 alone by collecting overpayments to healthcare providers. However, the program was suspended by congress">Congress in 2013 at the insistence of hospitals.
"In other words, since October 2013, about $1 billion per quarter in erroneous hospital claims is not being collected," the report said. "Medicare will have little chance from dropping down from its current — and growing — position as the number one in improper payments."
In other words, crony government strikes again. And you pay for it.