Group Offers Weight Loss Plan for Federal Budget

Published May 1, 2004

The federal budget could easily slim down with a workout in the gym of spending cuts and continued economic growth, according to a nine-step weight loss plan published on January 13 by the Lewisville, Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI).

“If there is any overriding theme of the economic and fiscal policy-making scene in Washington over the past two decades, it might be this: We fought a war against big government, and big government won,” said Stephen Moore, author of the report.

“In just the past three years,” Moore continued, “the federal budget has exploded in size by more than one half trillion dollars.

“The sudden spurt of government spending and the resulting mountainous budget deficits are all the more unexpected given that they have occurred under a Republican Congress and president,” noted Moore. “After seven budgets designed by the majorities in the House and Senate, the budget is bulkier than ever before. The 108th Congress is spending at a faster pace than any Congress since before Woodstock.”

In “Putting Taxpayers First: A Federal Budget Plan to Benefit the Next Generation of American Taxpayers,” Moore spells out specific steps to cut federal spending and put the federal budget on a “glide-path” toward an unprecedented era of prosperity for American taxpayers. The study, according to Moore, “offers a nine-step budgetary weight loss plan that protects the financial future of tomorrow’s taxpayers.”

Moore recommends linking the crusade for a streamlined government with pro-growth tax cuts and debt retirement to benefit future generations. He prescribes budget reforms calculated to appeal to fiscally conservative Republicans and Democrats alike.

Moore’s plan would reduce the size of government by more than two-fifths over the next 10 years. The FY 2011 federal budget would be $1.5 trillion under Moore’s plan–nearly half its projected size of $2.6 trillion.

The plan is far-reaching–even radical–acknowledged IPI President Tom Giovanetti.

“Are [legislators] now claiming that everything the Federal government does–every program, every department, every bureaucracy–is absolutely necessary and immune from consideration?” Giovanetti asked, though he knows full well the answer. “If so, this is a radical and new position for [most] Republicans to espouse.”

As far as voters are concerned, however, Moore said the plan is not at all radical. “By two-to-one margins Americans still say they prefer less government services and lower taxes to more government and higher taxes. Two-thirds of voters consistently say they think their taxes are too high, not too low.

“The goal of government downsizing is not flawed, but the game plan has been,” he explained. “For one thing, budget-cutters have not made an effort to garner bipartisan support. Furthermore, they have failed to convince the public that there is a financial and freedom dividend from smaller government.”

Finally, Moore noted there is precedent for such far-reaching reform in the U.S. “Starting in the mid-1980s, America’s private industries restructured themselves, sweated out inefficiencies, cut costs, and raised productivity levels. The only industry that has been immune from this productivity revolution has been government itself.”

Sonia Hoffman is director of media and legislative affairs for the Institute for Policy Innovation. Her email address is [email protected].

For more information …

For the full text of Stephen Moore’s report, “Putting Taxpayers First: A Federal Budget Plan to Benefit the Next Generation of American Taxpayers,” visit the Institute for Policy Innovation Web site at