Policy Documents

Sliding Past Sequestration: Two trillion in common sense cuts to avoid the cliff

October 1, 2012

In the summer of 2011, Congress sent the President a bill that acknowledged failure. Instead of swallowing hard and coming up with trillions of dollars in deficit reductions, they punted the effort to a “Super Committee” of Republican and Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate to figure it out. The specter of sequestration – across the board budget cuts hitting defense and non-defense equally – was supposed to be enough of a threat to force action.

It wasn’t. The Super Committee flopped.

For seventeen years, Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) has mined the budget to highlight wasteful spending, exposing, naming, and killing earmarks like the “Bridge to Nowhere” as well as relentlessly going after wasteful spending in the tax code like the duplicative ethanol tax credit subsidy. Building on our earlier submissions to the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, TCS offered $1.5 trillion worth of deficit reduction in our “Super Cuts for the Super Committee,” $300 billion more than needed to avoid sequestration. But rather than making the hard choices, the Super Committee did nothing and failed to propose even a single dollar of deficit reduction.

With the January 2, 2013 start of sequestration looming, Taxpayers for Common Sense is back on the job. We believe the programs listed here – whether funded through appropriations or the tax code – can be safely eliminated from the budget because they are an inefficient, ineffective, or wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. We have gathered more than $2.0 trillion in deficit reduction that reflect the values of effectiveness and efficiency in managing taxpayer dollars. By simply adopting these common sense recommendations, Washington will be $800 billion beyond its statutory requirement.