Thursday, September 22, 2005

Operation Get Real

So, Congressional conservatives have offered their plan for spending cuts in the face of the ramping up of spending for the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, called Operation Offset (what is it with these militaristic titles?), which includes such proposals as delaying the Medicare drug benefit by a year and putting stop to any funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (way to sneak that one in there, gang). You can read more about it from this AP story via the NYTimes. Think Progress has a few thought of their own on how to trim spending and balance the Katrina expenditures:

Progressives can do better. As we show below, it’s possible to cut far more unnecessary federal spending ($688 billion), accomplish it in half the time (just five years), and do it while upholding the principles of fiscal responsibility and concern for the common good.


$327 billion: Roll back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans [without sunsets, 2005-09; CBPP]
$65 billion: Clarify the definition of offshore tax shelters [Joint Committee on Taxation]


$12 billion: Eliminate roughly half of the 6,371 special earmarked projects of the 2005 transportation bill [MSNBC]


$43 billion: Permit mail order prescription drug purchases, which offer lower overheard costs, bulk purchasing and fewer dispensing errors [Lewin Group]


$8.5 billion: Roll back the tax breaks, loan guarantees, and other subsidies for the electricity, coal, nuclear, natural gas and oil industries in the 2005 energy bill [San Francisco Chronicle]


$200 billion: Eliminate several Defense Department weapons programs that are either unnecessary (such as the F/A 22 Raptor and the DD(X)) or counter to our national security interests (like space weapons and “bunker buster” nuclear bombs) [L. Korb, “A Realistic Defense for America”]

Agricultural Subsidies

$30 billion: Eliminate export subsidies [Oxfam]
$2.5 billion: Reduce cotton subsidies [Environmental Working Group]
$845 million: Reduce maximum payment limits on what producers can receive from $360,000 to $250,000, and related subsidy reductions [CRS, “Agriculture: Prospective Issues for Congress”]

And let's not forget giving back some of that transportation bill pork, which Robert Reich suggested last week on NPR's Marketplace. This week, Reich takes on the subject of no-bid contracts that have been continually offered by BushCo to their industry friends and non-competitive purchasing plans (such as the new Medicare drug law)--give it a listen. (I'd transcribe a section, but gotta get back to work.)


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