40 Obvious And Painless Ways For The US To Cut Its Budget

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The U.S. government is one week away from the sequester deadline, when $1.2 trillion of across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect. The budget slashing is set to hit everything from NASA to food inspectors, and members of both parties are alternately playing the blame game and trying to come up with a solution to avoid the cuts. 

Still, it’s worth noting that there are some things the government spends money on that could definitely go. 

Each year, the conservative Heritage Foundation combs through the budget and points out some particularly egregious expenditures and redundancies.

Here are 40 cuts they’ve identified that the government can totally afford to make. 

The government wasted $115.3 billion in improper payments, paying money either to the wrong person, in the wrong amount, or for the wrong reason.

Amtrak lost $84.5 million having food and beverage services, a total of $833.8 million in 10 years. It has never broken a profit on serving food.

The Conservation Reserve Program of the Department of Agriculture pays farmers $2.1 billion every year not to farm in order to reduce soil erosion.

The Department of Agriculture spent $2 million on an intern program for the Office of the Chief Information officer. One intern was hired.

The government spent $1.7 billion maintaining 77,700 unused buildings.

The Rural Business Enterprise Program gave a dairy farm $55,660 to package its butter in smaller containers.

The Government Accountability Office found 34 areas where federal agencies have overlapping goals or duplicative services, costing billions annually

There are 80 economic development programs operating out of four different agencies alone. Many of these programs have overlapping or competing missions

Within the Department of Transportation are over 100 economic development programs in five agencies in the Department of Transportation alone

Seven different agencies have more than 20 different programs addressing homelessness

There are 44 different employment and training programs, run variously through the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development

... and there are 82 programs on teacher quality between the Departments of defence, Education, Energy ans well as NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The Department of Justice spent $121 million hosting or participating in 1,832 conferences in one year.

Beef Wellington made the hors d'oeuvres menu at one, costing $7.32 per serving

The most expensive DOJ conference was in Istanbul and cost $1.18 million.

The General Services Administration, which manages federal buildings, held a $822,751 conference in Vegas to the tune of $2,500 per employee

The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $6.1 million on two training conferences in Orlando, with $50,000 going to a video boosting Human Resources

Fifteen different federal agencies are overseeing 30 food safety laws

The Navy bought 450,000 gallons of biofuel at $27 per gallon

The IRS stores unused furniture at a warehouse for $862,000 annually.

The Department of Energy cannot locate $500,000 worth of green energy manufacturing equipment

The Bureau of Indian Affairs funded a fish hatchery that did not hatch a single fish for fourteen years.

The Department of labour spent $495,000 on commercials promoting an initiative for green jobs

The Department of Veterans Affairs spent $221,540 on an 11 day conference at a resort.

The Departments of Agriculture and Energy gave a $76 million grant for a wood-to-ethanol plant. It closed within a year without producing any ethanol.

A $25,000 grant was used to translate a Maldivian love ballad

The National Institutes of Health spent $170,000 over three years researching the hookah smoking habits of Jordanians.

The Department of Agriculture spends $200 million annually advertising U.S. food in other countries...

...they recently funded an Indian reality show that advertised U.S. cotton.

The EPA spent $141,450 funding a Chinese study on swine manure.

The EPA also gave the United Nations $1.2 million to promote clean fuel

The Government Accountability office found that people who double-dip from unemployment insurance and disability benefits cost the U.S. $850 million annually.

The top 20 per cent of farm subsidy recipients received 80 per cent of all premium subsidies.

26 farm businesses each collected more than $1 million in subsidies.

The government lost $528 million on an investment in Solyndra...

...$46.5 million on Beacon Power...

...and $73.1 million on Abound Solar.

Among individuals making $1 million or more annually, 2,362 received unemployment benefits in 2009.

Now here's what's actually getting cut....

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