Several months ago, I pointed all of my readers to a simple graphic that the New York Times had on their website. It was an interactive graphic in which you could fix the budget. I’d like to return to this graphic and show how very simple it is to fix the budget with some simple fixes. If you do not adhere to rigid ideology we can fix this. Remember, our goal is a combination of short-term and long-term savings.
Domestic Programs and Foreign Aid
Cut foreign aid in half – we can save $17 billion. Let’s hold on this for now. I think that foreign aid is extremely important.
Eliminate earmarks – yes, we need to eliminate earmarks. I just don’t see that earmarks helps us or our democracy. This saves $14 billion.
Eliminate farm subsidies – since most of our farm subsidies go to large corporations, I don’t think that this really helps us. Cutting this will save us another $14 billion.
Cutting paper civilian federal workers by 5% – this would save $14 billion in the short term and $17 billion in the long term. I don’t think this helps our financial situation and it hurts federal workers. I would not support this.
Reduce the federal workforce by 10% – this would save $12 billion in the short term and $15 billion in the long term. Cutting jobs hurts the economy. I wouldn’t do it.
Cut 250,000 government contractors – I would do this. This would save $17 billion both in the short term and the long term.
Cutting other federal programs – this would include reducing funds to the Smithsonian and cutting our National Park Service. This would add up to $30 billion both in the short term and in the long term. I do not support this.
Cutting aid to states by 5% – this would save $29 billion in the short term and $42 billion in the long-term. States are hurting. By cutting aid to states, states will then turn around and cut jobs. This will hurt our long-term growth. I would not support it.
Reduce nuclear arsenal and space spending – this would reduce our near-term deficit by $19 billion and our long-term deficit by $38 billion. This would reduce our nuclear warheads from around 2002 closer to 1000. I do support this.
Reduce military to pre-war size and further reduce troops in Asia and Europe – this would save $25 billion in the short term and $49 billion in the long term. I think that this is a must.
Reduce Navy and Air Force fleets – this would reduce the Navy by 48 ships and retire 37 ships early. The Air Force would retire two tactical fighter wings and reduce the number of fighter jets that are currently planned to be purchased. This would save $19 billion in the short term and $24 billion in the long term.
Cancel or delay some weapons systems – there are some weapons systems, like the Osprey, that have been around for years. These have had some modest success, but I think they need to be eliminated. Put them back in moth balls of necessary. This would save $19 billion in the short term and $18 billion in the long term.
Reduce non-combat military compensation and overhead – this would change health-care plans for military personnel who were not injured in battle. I do not support this. Although this would save $23 billion in the short term and $51 billion in the long term, I think we need to meet our obligations to our military personnel.
Reduce the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 60,000 by 2013 – we need to bring our troops home. They need to come home as quickly as possible. This would save $86 billion in the short term and $169 billion in the long-term.
So far, we have saved $213 billion in the short term (2015) and $343 billion in the long term (2030). I think that all of these cuts are reasonable. We still have more work to do. We need to talk about healthcare, Social Security and our existing tax structure. Let’s do a little bit more of this later.