Taxpayers for Common Sense has been working hard to meet the challenge of that the so-called Super Committee is facing – $1.2-1.5 trillion worth of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.
As you know, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has been charged with giving the deficit a haircut of at least $1.2 trillion. In Super Cuts, Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) has compiled $1.5 trillion in “Super Committee Savings” cuts that would reduce spending and increase revenues against a likely budgetary baseline. We have also compiled an additional $224 billion worth of “More Common Sense Cuts” that eliminate potential future spending that may not be included in the baseline.
Super Cuts for the Super Committee
For sixteen years, Taxpayers for Common Sense has mined the budget and highlighted wasteful spending — whether exposing, naming, and killing the “Bridge to Nowhere” earmark, or going after wasteful spending in the tax code like the duplicative ethanol tax credit subsidy. Building on our earlier submissions to the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission and to Congress, this represents the latest compilation of cuts that reflect the values of effectiveness and efficiency in managing taxpayer dollars. All of these are real, possible, and common sense, if the committee has the political will.
We believe the programs we listed – whether funded through appropriations or the tax code – can be safely eliminated from the budget because they are an inefficient, ineffective, or wasteful use of taxpayer dollars. By simply adopting these common sense recommendations, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will meet their goal even before considering entitlement program reform, fundamental tax reform, or other spending cuts and revenue raisers.
It is clear that there are cost-saving reforms available throughout government, and positive, open ways to achieve them. While this committee will not be able to tackle all of them, the greatest legacy this committee should leave is not only an even-handed approach to achieving the targeted $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, but also a record of being both transparent and accountable to the American taxpayer and establishing mechanisms to achieve fundamental tax and entitlement reform in the near future.
A note on the baseline: TCS built this list on our previous hundreds of billions of dollars in proposed cuts, but this time we tried to get in the Committee and CBO’s heads and figure out a realistic 10-year budget baseline to estimate our cuts off of. That means we didn’t count expiring programs and tax provisions we didn’t think were likely to extended (like the ethanol tax credit) or programs or projects that were either expiring or merely empty authorizations. After all that we came up with $1.53 trillion in Super Committee Cuts and an additional $207 billion in additional common sense cuts that may not be in the likely baseline budget but should be cut regardless. These could be items expiring (but you never know…) or outside the ten-year budget window (may as well try to get ahead).
We look forward to seeing what the President proposes and rolling up our sleeves and working with the Super Committee to get these enacted.