Unlikely Allies Show ‘Super Committee’ Where to Cut $1 Trillion

Published September 15, 2011

One of the nation’s leading taxpayer watchdog organizations and a liberal public interest organization have identified more than $1 trillion of cuts in federal government spending they believe have appeal across the political spectrum.

Though the National Taxpayers Union and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have widely divergent views on many tax and fiscal policy issues, the organizations have identified 54 specific cuts to federal programs they say Republican and Democratic lawmakers should agree are wasteful and inefficient uses of taxpayer dollars.

Recommended cuts in “Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide with Deficit Reduction Recommendations for the Super Committee” include:

  • $214.9 billion in savings from eliminating wasteful subsidies to agribusiness and other corporations.
  • $428.8 billion in savings from ending low-priority or unnecessary military programs.
  • $232.3 billion in savings from improvements to program execution and government operations.
  • $132.1 in savings from reforms to major entitlement programs

“Though it gets drowned out by the din of Washington’s partisan rancor, there is actually a large amount of agreement between watchdog groups both right and left about where the waste is in the budget,” said report co-author Andrew Moylan, vice president of government affairs for the National Taxpayers Union. “We hope this report can aid the super committee in the difficult task of repairing the federal balance sheet by giving them suggestions with widespread support.”

The so-called “super committee” is made up of 12 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, chosen by the Republican and Democrat leaders. The committee is supposed to recommend $1.5 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. The committee was included in the deal to raise the national debt ceiling another $2.4 trillion that President Obama signed into law last month. The committee has a Nov. 23 deadline to present its recommendations.

The organizations plan to send their findings to the super committee for consideration.

“In an effort to address the deficit, we too often forget to differentiate between the good and the bad; between public priorities and special interest handouts,” said co-author Dan Smith, U.S. PIRG tax and budget associate. “These recommendations correct years of insider lobbying that has benefited narrow interests allowing room either for investment in valued programs or deficit reduction.”