Patrick KnudsenTo avoid indiscriminately slashing defense spending through the sequestration process, Congress should make deliberate spending reductions in other areas, Heritage Foundation scholar Patrick Knudsen writes in a new report.

Outlining $150 billion in savings, Knudsen explains that it’s high time Congress makes targeted spending cuts:

Instead of letting this crude mechanism substitute for Congress as a governing institution, lawmakers should do what they should have done months ago: replace these mindless across-the-board cuts with specific, targeted terminations and reductions. . .

Many of the proposed reforms and reductions are long overdue; others were developed in the House reconciliation bill that aimed at replacing the sequester. The point is: Savings are available if Congress has the will to act.

Read the appendix of Knudsen’s report for details on his $150 billion in proposed cuts, including reductions in energy and transportation subsidies, repealing portions of Obamacare, and reducing food stamp eligibility.

What would you cut from the federal budget?

Comments (48)

Bill Beckham - November 16, 2012

I would cut the depts of Energy, Education, EPA, TSA, IRS, HHS, and all non essential services.

Elsie E Connelly - November 16, 2012

I would cut funding to NPR and PBS, NEA (Teacher’s union), food stamps (Clinton implemented a work program and Obozo took it away). I would also do some union busting among Federal Employees, the senate, congress and the president should all be forced to have the same health care/health insurance the rest of us have to deal with.

LB - November 16, 2012

I would start with cutting salaries of Congress, House, the President, Vice President, Cabinet and all Secretaries as well as their expense accounts and travel accounts. Then I would cut Foreign Aid, Welfare, Food Stamps, ADC, Unemployment benefit extensions, & Disability. I would do away with ObamaCare. I would do away with most subsidies on food, farm crops, gas and a lot of other subsidies. I would give authority back to the States for Education & Health Care and would do away with the Department of Education entirely. Then I would go across the board with various percentage cuts in most areas. I would not cut the Military. I would encourage drilling of oil in the USA as well as mining of coal, & nuclear power as well as updated and new facilities for refining.. That would be just a start. There would be much more once I got into it.

Dianne - November 16, 2012

What would I cut? There would be so many duplicate and useless departments slashed and/or removed that they wouldn’t know what hit them. I think we could go back in time pre-FDR and eliminate all that weren’t there before he got started. Also money is leaking out to people and groups that no one in their right mind would fund. And last, stop ALL $ going to foreign countries that hate and fight aginst us. These would be a good starting point.

duane hardesty - November 16, 2012

Eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy for starters…then review current fed government structure against the Constitution: If not authorized,eliminate the department/agency and send back to states and local governments. I spent 8 years on my local school board…I didn’t need the feds in my business. Public education is a “local” matter.

No employee whose salary is paid with tax $ should be allowed in a labor union: PERIOD! They work for those of us who pay taxes. Labor unions are for the “private” sector NOT “public” sector employees. We can’t afford it.

Gary Wilkinson - November 16, 2012

I would start by selling all federal properties that were not essential to the well being of our country.
This would elimnate all management cost.
This would allow these properties to be productive in oil, coal, etc. This would bring in sustanitlal revenues in the short term and much more in the long term as the price of gas and other energy sources and processing expenses would come down. That would make us more militarily secure cause we could make as much jet fuel and other fuels that our military establisment would need. As these energy cost come down, the cost of producing military parts and equipment would be greatly reduced, therefore reducing the cost of the dept of def. It you want any more suggestions just let me know. Us out of work people have a lot of time on our hands.

Lester St. Andrie - November 16, 2012

The first thing I would do is downsize the Department of Education, Cut the F.C.C in half, Cut the Nat’l Transportation Safety Board in half. Cut the Department of Energy out all together, stop all subsidized programs. Cut the Czars off the payroll. Cut the staff of the First Lady to 2.
I would also cut the pay to all legislators and president by 20 percent. Cut the pay of the staffs of all the legislators by 20 percent.

Jeffrey Pickett - November 16, 2012

Eliminate the Department of Energy and Education.
Department of Agriculture subsidies to start.
They have all become good Communist Manifesto fronts.
The Republican Party has become the enablers and this is why we are where we are today. Consent for shared power.

George Abramson - November 16, 2012

In summary, the DOE was established about 36 years ago to make the US energy independent. They employ 32,000 people, and the US is still not energy independent. That means that they are essentially worthless. Phase out DOE over, say, 3-6 months. This is only one of many ideas, but this will suffice.

john gibas - November 16, 2012

only agree to tax increases and/or higher debt limits IF:1.) All Federal govt. hiring (even replacements) is frozen, 2.) necessary defense funds are restored, 3.) only permanent until 2014, and 4.) restored thereafter only if GNP growth >3% and unemployment <6% and 10% federal spending reduction FROM LAST YEAR'S SPENDING is achieved

john gibas - November 16, 2012

Recommended Cuts in Spending:
1. all public broadcasting funds
2. all Planned Parenthood funds
3. all Federal education funds
4. all farm subsidies and price supports
5. all alternative energy subsidies
6. food stamps limited to staples only
7. restore welfare work requirement
8. limit Medicaid to state block grants
9. not allow any Obamacare spending
10. discontinue unemployment insurance beyond 6 mo.

Donald DaCosta - November 16, 2012

This on going lament about budget cuts and the tax revenue shortfall never openly approaches the issue of the duplication, waste, fraud and mismanagement that by all accounts is rampant within all government managed entities from defense to the so called entitlements. Before any talk about tax increases and budget cuts a serious effort should be made to address, and correct this blatant, careless waste of the nations wealth by a government unconcerned.

This is not rocket science. Every, successful private enterprise, of every size, must do this on an on going basis in order to remain competitive and profitable. That the government treats tax revenue so carelessly is the biggest argument for limiting its size.

This is not going to be given anything other than lip service and therein lies the biggest fiscal problem of all; the level of complete indifference to what for every average American is an essential if not existential concern.

Louise - November 16, 2012

What would you cut from the federal budget?
Pensions and Healthcare cut from all government employees that make over $50,000.00 (including the retirees). Also, no pay until the budget is balanced. Congress needs to experience what middle class Americans face.

Lloyd Smith - November 16, 2012

Reduce TSA while the airlines (and air travelers) provide for the security of our airports and aircraft.

Lloyd Smith - November 16, 2012

Reduce the pay and benefits of congress. Since they cannot seem to do anything why are we paying them at all.

Anthony Pichoff - November 16, 2012

I was with Romney on defunding PBS- compete with everybody else and thrive or perish based on your own merits. I appreciate John Stossel’s no non sense approach to matters like this and would hereby like to nominate him to go through this mess and produce a list of needless wastes of our tax dollars. I am dying to see all these damn bailouts stop too. I bought a house I could afford so I wouldn’t lose it and the gov’t then takes my hard earned money and gives it to jerks who bought out of their affordable range. We seriously need to return to the virtue of personal responsibility and quick (though I fear it may already be too late).

Debbie - November 16, 2012

I would slash all subsidies, all entitlement programs, all foreign aide…everything but the military & protecting our borders. NO aid of any kind for illegals, no pay increases for any government employees; cut back to part time employment and slash their benefits, too. Simply stop the spending and give away programs. Cut the salaries and perks of all government employees, including the Pres and Congress.

barbara m hergenrother - November 16, 2012

I strongly suggest a FREEZEin the budget of EVERY federal government department at 2010 levels. It is a disgrace that most taxpayers are making these cuts in a family setting and neither DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS can get serious about preventing a depression! Thank you Barbara

Dean Tillery - November 17, 2012

You are correct. The last place for reduced spending is the military. I would reduce the size of government by reducing every government department by 25%, 15% would be GS 16s and above. Reduce the dept of education, epa, energy, and state dept by 50% now. Foreign aid to all muslim countries should be stopped and bring our troops home. Stop all support to the illegal immigrants, if we stop supporting they will stop coming into our country. A valid work program managed properly can be implemented for those to become legal residents. Welfare programs need to be reduced for those that really need the help, not the moochers. Medicare and social security need to be made more efficient, however, these are earned entitlements. All other entitlements should be stopped. The government should get out of the grant, student loans, and guaranteed loan business. Simply put, the federal government has the primary responsibility to provide national security, period. Everything else needs to be cut for final dissolution.

Loretta Thielen - November 17, 2012

Cut out the health benefits for Executive, Legislative & Judicial branches. They should share the same insurance that the rest of us are mandated to use. All retirement benefits should be removed for these same officials. They should provide for their own retirement as we have to do. All waivers to gov’t unions for O’Care should be eliminated. I find it totally unconstitutional that the tax payer must fund the teacher union’s cadillac healthcare when we are forced to take the dregs.

Elizabeth McMullen - November 17, 2012

Budget Cuts:
Drop Department of Education into the laps of each State where it belongs.
Put Air Force One into MOTHBALLS
Put “NEED ASSMENT” in place for any type of WELFARE (no more Obama Phones)

Janis McCoy - November 17, 2012

Eliminate all loopholes or enact a flat tax

Leland Fry - November 17, 2012

EPA: cut spending by 50%. Let evolution be.
USDA: Cut subsidies to corn farmers. Corn is for sugars and alcohols. Use oil for OUR fuel.
House & Senate; members can’t vote if they have unpaid income taxes. Pay for their own health insurance. Limit pay raises to every five years.


john haugh - November 17, 2012

Cut every dept. of the federal government by 10% ,no exceptions , they have that much in waste and fraud…they would be just fine …next year cut another 5%

aj kessel - November 17, 2012

150 Billion isn’t a serious cut, and we as a nation, must get serious!

Floy - November 17, 2012


don johnson - November 17, 2012

Do away with the Depts of Energy, Education, The EPA, . Accross the board 10% cut to every other agency except Security and Military. Privitize airport security.

Joe Walker - November 17, 2012

During the lead-up to California State budget talks last year, the Sac Bee e-newpaper placed an interactive webpage on its website. This allowed anyone to pick and choose all parts of the state budget – to add or delete – and see what effect that made immediately. Is MyHeritage in a position to build a similar webpage for the Federal Gov’t budget? I know that Sac Bee and the CA Exe branch monitored what people came up with. And it seems all of us can get a better handle on our budget if we decide to participate in the exercise. THX.

Shannon Roe - November 17, 2012

To address the extravagances of Obamacare, we need an informed public. And for an informed public, we need an informed media.

What if Heritage put together an open-book test and distributed it to media figures?

The “book” for the open-book test is the Obamacare act.
Give members of the media a test with 10–15 multiple-choice questions.

Each question addresses an aspect of Obamacare that the media are either lying about or honestly don’t know, because they haven’t read it. There can be a question about the $700+ billion cut to Medicare, for example, one on death panels, and so on.

Along with the test, give them a copy of the Obamacare tome with the place marked where they’ll find the answer to each question.

Hand-deliver them. Plop them down on their desks and challenge them to take a short, simple test to prove how well they know what’s in Obamacare.

Intellectuals, self-styled or otherwise, find it difficult to resist taking tests to show off what they know.

And somewhere among the media, I like to think there are at least a handful of folks who are genuinely misinformed and might be interested in telling the truth—if they knew what it is.

Larry P Knowles - November 17, 2012

I think it is a large mistake to consider defense spending immune from the pressing need to cut back ALL government spending systematically. We drastically need a reduction target placed on every Cabinet department for a period of about 7 or 8 years. Perhaps a 5% annual reduction S/B considered… the target cannot be too large nor much smaller. The World economy is at stake, and this approach is non-partisan. It has worked many times for necessary corporate downsizings, one I witnessed.

Joyce Miller - November 17, 2012

Sir, today I received your letter and the second sentence begins “With the Obama Victory. . .” But I also received in the email a video recording of a hearing where Mr. Curtis, a computer program of impressive credentials, under oath states that in 2000 he created a program at the request of a Mr.Feenee (spelling is phonetic) that would be used to hack into the voter machines and create a spread of 51-49. He says that the only way this could be detected is to compare the exit pole or the coding. He also stated that the man who ordered the program won the election 51-49 and is now in congress. Mr. Curtis has stated that from the data that he has seen that this program was used in the 2012 election. This film is from Conservative Byte. Do not ask us for money if this is not investigated. Mr. Obama did not have a victory, he used this program. I would send the video if I had an e-mail or you can contact Conservative Byte your self. Joyce Miller

chuck rice - November 18, 2012

Borders, Culture, Currency. If it does not touch this, cut it.

wanda ayersman - November 18, 2012

eliminate food stamps. stop unemployment payment extension for those who have alreasy received payments. stop using medicaid and medicare for any except the elderly poor. cut the white house staff by 50 percent and cut other government agency staff by 50-75 percent. congress should refise to fund obamacare and force them to allow states who want it to fund it themselves. stop the huge payouts to unions and defund obama’s slush fund called “stimulus”.

Robert E. Solum - November 18, 2012

The first thing I would do is stop all loan guarantees etc by all departments, then I would do an audit to determine which departments if any have actually had a cut to their budget if any have then they would be exempt from cuts for one fiscal year. All departments who haven’t had cuts but haven’t had large increases will have their budgets cut by 5% any department that has had large increases in their budget will have their budgets cut by 8%. Any department that does not stay within their budget in the next fiscal year will have their budget cut again by the same amount as the previous year. The head of that department will immediately be fired and banned from holding any federal government job for life. All departments that stay within their budget will not have their budgets cut and will be eligible for increases in their budget if they can justify it. Any department found to be guilty of causing another department to fail to stay within their budget will be punished. The secretary of that department will immediately be fired and banned from ever holding another federal government position for life. Any underling found to have been helping the secretary will suffer the same consequences as the secretary. These are not large cuts every department should be able to make it through one year with these cuts if they can’t they are gone if they are caught cheating they are gone. I would privatize Social Security and Medicare, repeal Obamacare and tighten the qualifications on Medicaid. All federal subsidies would be eliminated, no special treatment for some organizations unless all organizations get that same treatment. I would eliminate federal dollars for K-12 education and the regulations that go with it the same goes for housing and finance.

Holly Chapo - November 18, 2012

From my perspective, it is time to defund “Obamacare” as well as to significantly limit the budgets of the EPA, Education, Energy, Interior, Transportation, etc. None of these bureaucracies are mandated by the Constitution and most of their inital missions have morphed into individual fiefdoms that do more harm than good to the American people. They issue regulations that have the force of law which seems to me to be a violation of the Articles of the Constitution that state specifically who is responsible for creating law. In addition to a balanced budget amendment, I would like to see another one that would make it eminently clear that only Congress can make law whether it is called a regulation or some other fanciful term.

Gary Callaghan - November 18, 2012

I believe that the American voters have spoken. The majority obviously cares not about the tax increase, or the fiscal cliff. They voted for Obama, a socialist who is doing exactly what he set out to do. Destroy this country. He wants a socialist state and the democrats are going along. It is disgusting but we had our chance and said no to liberty and yes to tyrany.

David Allen - November 18, 2012

I’d cut the Education Dept., PBS, Dept. of Energy by 50% or more, Environmental Protection Agency reduced by 75% or more, Get rid of all czars and their people, Much of the so called “fine arts”, and all the rest by 7 – 10% of their 2011 budgets. Open up the million acres the Pres. just closed the day after the election (so much for his promise of our own energy) of public land for exploration of natural resources. Get rid of 20 of the First lady’s staff which would still leave her with more than any other First lady ever had.

Lis Hall - November 18, 2012

What I would cut from the federal budget is all energy subsidies. And any funding for obamacare.

James Hoben - November 18, 2012

How could some of the systems of the Congress be changed? Institute term limits; eliminate the life time salary for those who served and departed office; eliminate their special health care program, put them on Obamacare; eliminate any special bonus or retirement programs other than SS. How do we get started?

Wayne, La - November 18, 2012

There are many extravagant items that can be cut from the budget. Any item that is not a necessary staple should be on the chopping block. Two items, that stand out, are free cell phones and money to planned parenthood for abortions and contraception. Abortions end lives and the taxpayer should not be forced to promote this life taking action unless it involves the saving of the mother’s life or because it was brought on by rape or incest. There are many lagniappe projects that are discretionary and can be axed.

Anita Holten - November 19, 2012

I suggest abolishing Lobbyists from our legislators on Capitol Hill who greatly enjoy special favors/invested interests, to spend taxpayer”s money whose voices are not heard. The voices for, of and by the People is outrageously neglected by this”favoritism.”

Anita Holten - November 19, 2012

Lobbyists should be banned from influencing our elected legislators. It is favoritism and out of conrol. The people’s money is abused by these powerful interests.
Most legislators leave in retirement as millionaires due to this ugly undemocratic process Many are “bought” by
this manipulation.

Jim - November 20, 2012

I would start with all monies going to every Middle East
nations and the only exception is Israel. Stop all funding to the U.N. Stop all funding to the Post Offices and Con Rail. Put Mae & Mac as stand alone entities and if they fail, so be it. No bail outs, period. End funding to Obamacare whenever and wherever possible.
Fire all the Czars. End all the waivers granted to the too numerous to count unions. Close HHS, NEA and Dept of Education. Since the President wants to tax millionares reduce his salary to $1.00/yr. Reduce V.P. to $1.00/yr. Reform pensions for Congress and make 30 years the starting point, and not 2 or 6 years. All pensions monies currently in accounts should be transferred to reduce the deficit that these shamefully obtuse bureaucrats have inflicted on all Americans. Enroll all Federal employees in Obamacare and to include Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Biden and all others in Congress. End all expense accounts and travel accounts. Everyone flies economy. Every agency of the Federal Gov’t must submit a budget. Those not submitting a budget would not be eligible for funds.
All salaries of Congress would be minimum wage and no unions allowed. No new executive orders can be written that would circumvent Congress and or adversly effect the Nation and Citizens. All Green programs must be submitted to citizens via emails with the pros and cons. No longer can a president or cabinet member arbitarily decide to invest in green projects without a majority of citizens approving.
The “will of the people” must be adhered to and especially when a majortiy such as the 60% not wanting Obamacare speak. There must be consequences for all Federal employees including the President and Congress who are derrilic in their duties to the country. Clearly the Congress and the President must stop the inane spending.

Clifton jackson - November 20, 2012

Deport all illegal’s no free schools or medical until they are gone. Any American getting gov.assistance will be drug tested for all illegal drugs, if on drugs they are off .anyone capable of working must work to qualify.THAT IS ENOUGH multiples of millions come off of the health costs
Same to schools also our own children can get into schools. THIS SHOULD TAKE CARE OF ALL OUR

Todd Lester - November 22, 2012

I would cut EVERYTHING that was not one of the eighteen enumerated Constitutional responsibilities of the federal government. It’s time the the American people learn to stand on their own two feet and stop living off of the government. Providing for people is NOT the intent of government. Anything being cut that is considered to be absolutely essential needs to shift to the states, where it belongs.

Howard Woods - November 24, 2012

Start with controlling deficit spending by charging those responsible for it: Any and all dollars borrowed are borrowed from the paychecks, expense accounts, etc. of government officials. An across-the-board percentage reduction from EVERY check might do nicely. “Borrowed” means, of course, “confiscated”. That way, if they want to vote deficits, they vote themselves and all their buddies out of a job (or at least out of a paycheck).

Ron Gunnell - December 7, 2012

Most private companies with pension plans have cut these cost. Just increase the retirement ages for federal employees and big savings will result. They will still have a plan better than most people..

Roy King - December 15, 2012

Get rid of the illrgal Czars!

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