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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 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
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.
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
The Bureau of Indian Affairs funded a fish hatchery that did not hatch a single fish for fourteen years.
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.
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...
The Government Accountability office found that people who double-dip from unemployment insurance and disability benefits cost the U.S. $850 million annually.
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