Report Lays Out How To Balance The Federal Budget And Still Have Billions Left Over

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Congress could balance the federal budget and still have more than $110 billion left over by following a nonprofit government watchdog’s 618 suggested spending cuts.

The federal government could eliminate $644.1 billion of waste in just one year and $2.6 trillion over five years, according to Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) “Prime Cuts 2016” report released Tuesday. The 2016 deficit is estimated at $534 billion. (RELATED: Tax Cuts May Not Be Enough To Get Budget Passed)

“By following the blueprint provided by CAGW’s Prime Cuts 2016, wasteful government can be eliminated, the U.S. can achieve the first balanced budget since [fiscal year] 1998, and the nation can begin to lower the fiscally calamitous national debt,” CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement.

The report contains 618 recommendations, such as reducing improper Medicare payments by 50 percent, which totaled $43.3 billion in 2015. It also suggested rebooting the Recovery Audit Contractor project, which collected nearly $3.7 billion in Medicare overpayments in 2013 alone.

“Medicare is plagued with the highest reported amount of improper payments of any federal program,” the report said.

The watchdog also suggested eliminating the sugar subsidy for a one-year saving of $1.2 billion.

“Few examples exist of more conspicuous public regulation for the benefit of entrenched special interests at the expense of taxpayers than the U.S. sugar program,” the report said. “The sweet deal for sugar leaves a sour taste for consumers and taxpayers.” (RELATED: This One Lobby Group Is Forcing You To Pay Double The Price For Sugar)

Replacing the $1 bill with a $1 coin would also save $730 billion over five years, according to CAGW. Such a coin would cost between about eight and 20 cents more than a bill, but would survive more than 28 years longer.

The watchdog also made suggestions that wouldn’t necessarily save tax dollars immediately, such as privatizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Postal Service.

The Postal Service “has lost more than $50 billion since 2007,” the report said. “Unfortunately, the agency’s regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission, seems more interested in allowing the Postal Service to engage in questionable ventures, such as the overnight delivery of groceries and other packaged goods, than fixing its core problems.”

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