Cutting Federal Waste: Not a Silver Bullet, but Still Important

Jason Lloyd / Emily Goff /

President Obama’s State of the Union Address tomorrow evening provides him with a chance to explain how he would put the country on a path to a balanced budget. He should talk about entitlement program reforms and meaningful discretionary spending cuts, but he should also target the low-hanging fruit of spending: waste.

The Heritage Foundation’s “Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012” and Senator Tom Coburn’s (R–OK) “Waste Book 2012” illustrate that there is plenty of room for such spending cuts:

“Federal Spending by the Numbers 2012”:

“Waste Book 2012”:

Eliminating wasteful spending completely—even terminating the entire NASA budget, much less its Mars menu program—would not close the deficit. Lawmakers should cut waste, however, as a positive first step and to demonstrate that they are capable of tackling the main drivers of future spending and deficits: entitlement programs.

To date, President Obama and Congress have a poor record of cutting spending or reforming entitlement programs, but they can reverse course. Targeting government waste is a good place to start.

Jason Lloyd is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: