Not Easy, but Necessary Reducing wasteful spending is not easy.
Exasperated taxpayers see the cost of government rise with no end in sight.
Of course, eliminating waste cannot balance the budget.
Lawmakers must also rein in spending by reforming Social Security and Medicare and by eliminating government activities that are no longer affordable.
Soaring government spending and trillion-dollar budget deficits have brought fiscal responsibility -- and reducing government waste -- back onto the national agenda.
President Obama recently identified 0.004 of 1 percent of the federal budget as wasteful and proposed eliminating this $140 million from his $3.6 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget request.
Aiming higher, the President recently proposed partially offsetting a costly new government health entitlement by reducing 2 billion in Medicare and Medicaid "waste and inefficiencies" over the next decade.Taxpayers may wonder why reducing such waste is now merely a bargaining chip for new spending rather than an end in itself.It is possible to reduce spending and balance the budget.In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington consistently spent ,000 per household (adjusted for inflation).Simply returning to that level would balance the budget by 2012 without any tax hikes.Alternatively, merely returning to the 2008 (pre-recession) spending level of ,000 per household (adjusted for inflation) would likely balance the budget by 2019 without any tax hikes.