I have some simple but effective ideas for cutting some uneeded fat from our federal government’s budget. These ideas will mean almost instant savings of a significant amount of money, in the billions of dollars. Some may not provide continued savings over a period of time since they entail the elimination of certain spending obligations.

But even that fact will enable the large immediate savings to lend some breathing room to the ongoing budget battles so more intelligent long range savings can be instituted.

My first recommendation is to completely withdraw our military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. We are spending over $100,000,000,000 (100 billion) on these operations each year we remain. There is additional financial cost not so readily assessed that would include the physical and mental rehabilitation of troops deployed to those areas, replacement equipment for National Guard and Reserve units  once they return home, and other stateside military expenditures that support those operations but are not reflected in the budget figures for them.

There will be other savings, too which cannot be measured in terms of dollars. Our young people will no longer be subject to death and maiming from combat action. Military families will not be torn apart by separation during deployment. Perhaps there will be a number of intangible benefits, too.

But the $100,000,000,000 is a great start, isn’t it?

The second item on the agenda is closely related. Immediately end our involvement in whatever is taking place with Libya.

Cruise missiles alone cost $600,000 each and we have already seen over $100,000,000 worth of Tomahawk missiles go up in vapor trails. The estimated cost of foreseeable action is over $1,000,000,000. We all know how government estimates of costs are always so precise don’t we.


Part three of the great UMOC budget paring is to end another insane war, the one on drugs.

The federal government spends over $26,000,000,000 per year on fighting this war, with only a small portion devoted to prevention and treatment.


Has all this spending eliminated the drug problem in this country? Hell no. I have espoused ending the drug wars for years and favor legalization. I am on record here as to why I believe that.


Obviously with an illicit market, and no publicly traded companies issuing financial statements on sales, estimating the value of illegal drugs sold is extremely difficult. Some figures have been bandied about that the street value of drugs sold is as much as $500,000,000,000. That is five hundered BILLION dollars of business in the United States each year.

That number is probably exaggerated and the figure may be 20-50% less, but still exceeding $200,000,000,000.  (Here are some numbers and their sources…http://www.drugwardistortions.org/distortion19.htm)

Part of the cost of doing business with these wares is dealing with the law enforcement aspects. But let’s say with a free, though somewhat regulated, legal market for these same drugs, that would be worth at least $100,000,000,000 per year, still a big chunk of change.

Let’s say that part of the regulation is taxes. Let us also say that there would be a 25% tax on drug sales. That may appear excessive to some, but it is nowhere near the total tax rates on alcohol and tobacco products by the federal and state governments.

If only the federal government is permitted to impose excise taxes on drugs, while still allowing states to charge sales tax, much revenue could be generated on both levels.

The $25,000,000,000 the feds would realize could be dedicated to rehabilitation and education, to lessen the problems of addiction.

By legalization and regulation and taxation together would produce a net positive effect for the federal budget of over $50,000,000,000.

And that positive effect would be repeated each and every year.

Congress and the President have been attempting to cut at least $30,000,000,000 from the fiscal 2011 budget which has not been passed halfway through the fiscal year. While not all of the savings I propose would result in an immediate effect of that amount, implementation taking some time, but some savings would be felt right away.

In the long run our nation will be healthier and happier for adopting these measures.

To paraphrase the old hippie slogan


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  • C J Marshall  On March 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    The only problem that I find with you proposal is that it is too logical and would be so successful that the neocons would not have enough reasons to continue their campaign agaist all the programs which have so benefitted society for decades. If your ideas were adopted there would be no reason left to gut social security, no reason to abolish unions and collective bargaining, no reason to scale back Medicare and Medicaid, no reason left to end unemployment compensation or aid to parentless children. The USA of the GOP would not know what to do with themselves. They would for the first time in at least a hundred years be speechless. Well, come to think of it, they could still bash gays; and maybe mandate evangelical worship service attendence; and promote mandatory carrying of automatic weapons with multiple round clips. As the old saying goes; there is no amount they won’t spend to kill people and no amount they are willing to spend to help people. And they call themselves the “Christian Coalition”.

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