In his recent address to the joint session of Congress, President Obama announced that he has "begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs." The President has released his FY 2010 budget proposal, but POGO would like to provide additional recommendations that are not captured in the President's budget to assist the President and Congress in their effort to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs. These recommendations would result in an increase of over $100 billion in revenue and savings for the federal government, nearly all of which can be accomplished over the next four of five years.
"This is easy money. Although there are debates in Washington as to how to revive the economy, no one wants tax dollars to be wasted," said Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). "These are sensible, good government moves that allow over $100 billion to be put to better use."
POGO's top five recommendations are:
- Congress and the Department of Defense need to make fundamental weapons acquisition reforms and redefine the military's 21st-century priorities in order to reduce wasteful defense spending. (Estimated revenue/savings: $39 billion)
- Federal agencies and Congress should work together to ensure that government auditors and Inspectors General have sufficient funding, staffing, and resources to expose wasteful and abusive spending. In addition, agencies should make every effort to implement the recommendations made by these oversight bodies, or at least provide a satisfactory explanation for not doing so. Experience has shown that increased funding for auditors and investigators ultimately results in greater savings for taxpayers. (Estimated revenue/savings: $31.5 billion)
- The Department of Energy should downblend its excess highly enriched uranium and sell it as fuel for nuclear reactors. (Estimated revenue/savings: $21.6 billion)
- Congress and the Department of Energy should substantially reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads, which would save money not only on the refurbishment of unneeded warheads but also on associated delivery systems. In addition, Congress should consider eliminating funding for wasteful and unnecessary nuclear weapons facilities and plutonium pits. (Estimated revenue/savings: $11.2 billion)
- The Department of the Interior should phase out its Royalty-In-Kind program and return to a market-priced Royalty-In-Value program.