January 8th, 2009
05:01 PM ET

Fed Spending: How Would You Cut It?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As a country, we are beyond broke. The Congressional Budget Office says the deficit this year will top $1.2 trillion. President- elect Barack Obama wants a stimulus package on his desk in the neighborhood of $800 billion shortly after he takes office. Predictions are that the federal deficits will exceed a trillion dollars for "years to come."

How can we cut spending?

Obama has a tough task: preach fiscal discipline to try to get Republican support (not that they've practiced anything approaching fiscal discipline for the past eight years), while at the same time, expanding health care coverage and investing in alternative energy.

The President-elect continues to talk about cutting federal spending, eliminating things from the budget, and so on. But the fact is that meaningful cuts are tough to come by. Unless you take a cleaver to defense and entitlements - Medicare and Social Security are the fastest growing drains on the federal budget - there's just not a lot of meat on the budgetary bone to trim. Plus government workers are civil servants who can't be fired.

At a news conference, Mr. Obama did say he'd talk about entitlements but not until next month.

Here’s my question to you: How would you go about cutting federal spending?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David from San Diego writes:
I would eliminate "corporate welfare" (e.g., farm subsidies) and make all expenditures go through the committee review process - no "earmarks" added after markup without committee scrutiny. I am not opposed to so-called "pet projects" proposed by individual legislators as long as they are subject to open, transparent review and decision making.

GRL from Pennsylvania writes:
How about bringing our troops home from the Middle East? That should certainly cut some spending. Not only does it cost to keep our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the medical costs to attempt to mend the bodies and minds of the survivors of those wars are prohibitive. There must be a more cost-efficient way to stop terrorism.

Stephen writes:
Raise the age at which Social Security can be collected to 70 and the ceiling of earnings up to which Social Security tax must be paid to $500K per year.

Mark from Oklahoma writes:
How about sending back ten million illegal aliens so their own government can support, educate and care for their health needs?

Billy from Las Vegas writes:
You can start with some of this over priced, consistently over budget, Pentagon foolishness that doesn't work like the "Star Wars" style ABM program. This country spends more money for so called "defense" than all the nations of the world combined with much of it pure waste.

Ike from Plainview, New York writes:
I would reduce the federal budget deficit by eliminating social security for those who earn more that $100,000.00 a year and Medicare for those who earn more that $150,000.00. How much do you need if the kids are out?

Jim from Las Vegas, Nevada writes:
Legalize pot. Not only would that cut enforcement spending and prisons, but the tax revenue would be handy, too.

Filed under: Spending • US Federal Government
soundoff (421 Responses)
  1. Marie Ontario

    The wisest thing to do for a start would be to eliminate all the jobs Bush made appointments to as they weren't needed before so they won't likely have any added value now.

    January 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  2. David in San Diego

    I would eliminate "corporate welfare" (e.g., farm subsidies) and make all expenditures go through the committee review process–no "earmarks" added after markup without committee scrutiny. I am not opposed to so-called "pet projects" proposed by individual legislators as long as they are subject to open, transparent review and decisionmaking.

    January 8, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  3. Venia PA

    Get rid of every republican in the house and senate that went along with bush's spending spree.

    January 8, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  4. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    We can't truly cut federal spending without ending the Iraq war. That's about $200 billion a year right there.

    January 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    The first thing I would do is go to Iraq in person and tell the President of Iraq the cash cow is dead. That he and his people need to start paying their fair share of the cost of the Iraq War. The War is more like a police action like Viet Nam was and the Iraq War spending has far out weighted it's worth. After all remember one of the lies we were told that the oil money would pay for the war well that never happened did it. So a major cut in spending would be to pull back and have Iraq start spending their own money for the Iraq war it would save billions.

    January 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Ed Reed

    I would cut the retirement benefits that will be paid to Pres. Bush and Vice President Cheney. They're no different than the CEO's who bankrupt their companies then leave with golden parachutes.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    January 8, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Gerry

    Make G.W. Bush pay for his own gate and have Laura Bush pay for the $500,000.00 China she bought.

    I bet they bury the costs of the state funeral for the first cat-that should be investigated as well.

    January 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  8. Conor in Chicago

    Cut the military. Nations don't refrain from attacking us because we have the biggest and most advanced military in the world. They don't attack us because we are the only nation in history to deploy atomic weapons and we have tens of thousands of nuclear weapons. Not to mention if we cut our military spending in half we would still likely remain the dominant military power in the world for a good 10 years so taking a 5 year break isn't going to destroy us.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  9. garrick

    hi jack
    1 i would make Congress pay for their own insurance until a health care bill is passed for the public
    2 their would be no raises for any public office for the next 4yrs
    3 cut all earmarks from all bills being passed to help the economy.
    4 only 5 day paid vacation for the Congress and Senate
    5 everyone in public office will have to pay for their own transportation to work just like the pulic to get to work.
    6 no paid lunheons or dinner events paid for with tax payers dollars.
    7 cut out all projects that cost the tax payers to much like paying for bridges to no were or water slides.go threw the buget to get rid of projects that dont work.
    8 all goverment should pay for their own cell phone bills
    9 no TVs or Ipods in their offices paid for with tax dollars
    10 if you dont show up to vote in Congress or Senate you dont get paid for that day by voting present.


    January 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  10. kishen c.rao

    what is this crab thing....construction of stadium...i was watching on cnn....these are the wasteful things....ok...like these so many....

    January 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  11. JD in NH

    I would immediately end George Bush's trillion dollar war of choice. Next, I'd sue the Interior Secretary, Mr. Kempthorne, to get back some of the $235,000 he blew renovating his office bathroom. Then there's the $100,000 NASA tool bag orbiting the earth . . .

    January 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  12. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Get out of Iraq!

    January 8, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  13. GRL, South Central PA

    How about bringing our troops home from the Middle East? That should certainly cut some spending. Not only does it cost to keep our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the medical costs to attempt to mend the bodies and minds of the survivors of those wars are prohibitive. There must be a more cost-efficient way to stop terrorism.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  14. stephen blesofsky

    Raise the age at which Social Security can be collected to 70 and the ceiling of earnings up to which Social Security tax must be paid to $500K per year.

    Via the media outing members of congress who seek frivolous /questionable earmarks over and over again until they withdraw them. This would introduce new words into media vocabulary: due diligence and follow up. This doubles as a plan to rescue the tv media from the realm of entertainment, back to some standing as journalists.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Troy


    We spend over a trillion dollars a year overseas so lets start there. We have over 700 military bases in other countries lets close some of them. Leave Iraq instead of building bases there like bush and obama want to do.
    Stop nation building and trying to police the world. We simply can't afford such a big overseas presence any more.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Katiec Pekin, IL

    I would go over funds and spending allotted to every department, position and staff line by line. There has to be much spending
    that can be eliminated from the top down. Many areas are no
    longer important, duplication of responsibilities and employees
    not producing. Policies of ensuring people their jobs with
    seniority etc have to be changed to performance. Padded budgets
    have to be eliminated with only necessities surviving. The staff
    and spending of each politician has to be downsized. Perks
    must be limited, taxpayer funds monitored and pork barrel
    This is just a start.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Rick Medina,OH


    I recall an old axiom: "How do you eat an elephant? ... one bite at a time."

    How do we reduce federal spending?

    1. Review every program and process, and ask ourselves, "Do we really need this? And if YES, can we get what we want at less cost?"

    2. Give the President the line-item veto. Make every spending bill stand up to its own merits.

    3. Change Congressional Rules, and require that spending bills 'stay on topic.' A Defense Spending Bill should contain only elements related to Defense, etc.

    4. And as much as I hate to admit it, John McClain was actually right about something. Let's eliminate 'entitlements.'

    Rick S., Medina, OH

    January 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  18. mitchell, arkansas

    end the war in iraq. save $10 bill a month.
    end the war on marijuana. save $44 billion a year.
    end about 1/2 of our defense spending. we cannot afford to defend the entire world.
    end funding for faith-based initiatives. save $ and follow the constitution by separating church and state.
    end aid to israel, until they accept UN brokered peace.
    end the war in iraq. did i already mention that?

    January 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  19. Mark in OKC

    I would cut out all foreign aid except food supplies. I would eliminate the very existence of so-called "pork" legislation and stop spending money on all the bases we don't need over seas....like in Iraq.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  20. Allen L. Wenger

    We need to decrease military spending, I don't think we can afford to be spending more on our military than the rest of the world combined.

    Mountain Home ID

    January 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  21. Mark in OKC

    How about sending back TEN MILLION illegal aliens so their OWN government can support, educate and care for their health needs.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  22. Terry, Chandler AZ

    A 15% cut on everything! Well not 15% on everything as memebers of congress can forget about the increase they will soon recieve and take a 25% pay cut. Earmarks should be cut to zero.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  23. Dave in Saint Louis,MO

    If you don't work you simply don't get paid! Bottom line no government involvement at all!

    January 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  24. AndyZag Lynn, MA

    My first and largest cut would be in foriegn aid. Why in the name of all that is holy do we send money overseas when we have the same problem here in America? Let's take care of our own first and then help the rest of the world.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  25. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, the French used the guillotine to eliminate government spending and over taxation. If they continue to do earmarks and waste taxpayer money on frivolity, I’ll have to get the torch and pitchfork out and make a trip to Washington.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  26. Roger from Espanola, New Mexico

    I think efficiency should come before cuts. If it can be established how and where money is being wasted or pilfered, we'll have a better idea of how to manage taxpayer dollars should be spent. The Obama administration is on the right track in having an efficiency expert look into this. I'm not overly fond of efficiency experts, but in view of the flagrant mis-spending and mishandling of our money by our government, we need a watchful eye.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  27. Tom in Tx

    Get out of Iraq .Funny how the Republicans never seem worried about that minor expenditure, isn't it?

    January 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  28. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    You would need to have line item veto powers so you could cut out the pork in bills. You need to have a bill passed that would stop lobbyist from having so much influence on Congress in the way they do business. You would also need Congress approval for that to happen, and there lies the problem.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  29. Terry from North Carolina

    I would take a cross section of America, a coupon cutting housewife with five kids, a senior citizen on social security and a sucessful business person who lost their job got divorced and lives on the street. I would give them a copy of the budget put them in a room with direction to get rid of the waste. Washington DC would become a ghost town, and you Wolf and Lou would have nothing to report.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  30. ken jefferson city mo

    Jack, first it would be medicare and medicaid and the pres, drug program you could cut half the program and get the same results you are now just start neg, with the drug companies and give the insurance companies some real regulations.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  31. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Jack, the biigest part of the budget by far is entitlements. They need to be drastically overhauled. The rules that let port be added to the budget need to be changed as well. Earmarks should be illegal.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  32. Tina

    I would end both wars. We cannot win either since we went into them for all the wrong reasons. Here it is 8 years later and where is Bin Laden? Not caught. Saddam is gone since he tried to kill my daddy but not the man responsible for bringing down the towers.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  33. Barb New Port Richey Fl

    As in any big business, there is always too much waste. So lets start at the top. Do we really need an overseer for everything? We seem to spend a lot of money and time on forming committees to "look into the matter" with little resolve. Pork barrel spending for sure. How about all this security protection? Do the kids need an escort to go to school. Does the president need a motorcade every time he goes out. Talk abaout wasting money!!!! Build a bus or RV that is secure, put them all on it instead of using 10-15 vehicles and all that $ that follows. And finally....the innauguration! Bet we could provide health care for a lot of people with that tab!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  34. Joe in DE

    I would stop paying for inspection of cargoes, containers and imported products for security & safety. I would expand these inspections but I would charge importers for the costs..

    I would elimiate funding for reconstruction in Iraq for projects not started. For projects that have been started, I would spread the payments over 5 years – Iraq could pick-up the slack and be reimbursed.

    I would delay purchases of weapons – spreading back.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  35. Anthony

    That's easy! NASA, gone! IRS, gone! War in Iraq, gone! CIA, gone! I think that would free up a trillion or so.

    Wildwood Crest, NJ

    January 8, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  36. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Cut the salaries and staff of all the overpaid clowns in the congress and White House.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  37. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    I would expedite our withdrawl from Iraq for starters.......that is our biggest federal dollar money pit. I would also review our foreign aid policy and see if there are places where we can downsize the amount of aid sent to other countries. Then I would tie the salaries of congressmen and senators to the amount of time they actually spend in session doing the people's business.......if they were paid only for the time they actually spend on the job, we could realize some substantial salary savings.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  38. Meg Ulmes

    In these tough economic times cutting programs that help people survive would be counterproductive. I'm not sure that we could cut the military because of our positions in Iraq and Afghanistan. How about cutting all the pork about of every bill that passes? That ought to save some money.

    Troy, Ohio

    January 8, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  39. David, Tampa, Fl

    No tax cuts or increases without equal cuts in expenditures within departments and earmarks/pork projects. Increases in Congressional/Executive/Legislative pay if and only if it is meritorious and is linked to the well being of the rest of us.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  40. S, Michigan

    1. By not spending money outside of our country (ie wars, cleaning up other countries messes, etc)
    2. Stopping spending for waterparks, and mob museums, etc
    3. Publish a monthly report of how much each senator and congressman requested for "earmarks"- in a few months, the key players are exposed
    4. Stop payraises for congressmen and senators until unemployment is below 3%
    5. Cutdown on foreign aid to nations (other than bottom 5 in terms of GDP)
    That's a start.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  41. odessa

    i don't care. because if the government can give up half of 700 billions of dollars for big banks while big banks are rejecting poor and working classes...cutting back earmarks is alot of help and ending the war of iraq because both cases aren't doing nothing but wasting money..

    January 8, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  42. Willow, Iowa

    That's why those guys make the big bucks and I don't. I don't know. Probably needs to be a line item veto, get rid of earmarks (by putting everything needed on a list and going by priorities.) There is enough infrastructure needing repair that we could have a list miles long.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  43. D. Texas

    Stop the wars USA has going on

    January 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm |

    Build a big fence between K Street and the Capitol. Allow no personal contact between lobbyists and anyone who works at any level of government. Once they stop taking bribes to spend taxpayers money, make every spending project meet two criteria. Is it good for the country, and is it being done at bargain prices.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  45. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Start by getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan and then apply LEAN manufacturing to all government groups which first gets rid of waste, including people.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  46. Hope M. Madisonville, KY

    Right now is not the time to cut spending. In order to get the economy moving, the President and the legislature will need to create jobs
    and that won't happen by cutting costs. I'm sure there's lots of places
    that the budget could be cut that won't affect the country such as
    bringing our troops home and curtailing the amount of money we
    send to other countries. Foreign aid needs to be reduced while we
    get our economy back on track.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  47. Robert S., New Orleans

    Stop payment on the blank checks to the military-industrial complex. Reduce the federal workforce by 50%. Stop sending billions of dollars to foreign countries who hate us. Put a freeze on the space program until the deficit is reversed. Halt all federal building construction projects. Replace Air Force One with a SmartCar.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  48. Tripp Mechanicsburg, PA

    This deficit thing is bigger than the US budget. The economy of the whole world is spasming. We are on the cusp of a new way of thinking about money. Not long ago the very idea of a trillion dollar deficit would have seemed insane to imagine. Yet, here we are. We pay for the things we need to do, regardless of the cost.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  49. Barbara - NC

    Cut Congressional pay by 10% and put a limit on the number of years they can serve. Also, they do NOT need full pay after retirement. 25 to 30% pay for retirement would still be a lot more than the little schmoes out here that actually WORK.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  50. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Inform Congress that spending now is a hanging offense.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  51. Raymond Duke

    First and foremost get all the worthless slugs of welfare that can work, send all the illegals home and cut the cost there, stop propping up failed financial institutions and manafactures as the car industry. Third cut miltary spending on equipment to fight third world countries and use what is on hand , 2000 lb bombs and small nukes and quite trying to build nations and stop all foriegn Aid. Last cut all college grants and force students to get loans on their own and put these crooked politicians in jail.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  52. Gigi in Alabama

    I think our president elect has the right ideas. Congress should get behind him and implement his programs.
    They've tried the George Bush/ Dick Cheney agenda for the last eight years and look where it's got us.
    We should all get with the program and help him all we can.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  53. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    Flat Tax equals get rid of the IRS. Have UPS and whoever deliver the mail and get rid of the Post Office. Put all of the branches of the military under one command, getting better response and interaction between the branches and getting rid of the excess brass and duplication of efforts. Get rid of paper money and coins, everything on plastic or electronic as its beginning to be anyways.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  54. Karen in CA

    I'd take a knife to weapon systems no longer relevant to anything but keeping the economy based on the defense industry, and also to the humungous padding on many other defense budget items. I'm sure we could fund health care by cutting one third of all secret 'black' defense projects.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  55. Rod from Allentown PA

    Oh I don't know Jack. I probably would not be very good at it. I would probably cut things like the couple of million dollars we spent studying the reproductive capabilities of fruitflies or something like that.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  56. JR in Norfolk VA

    First, let's put a stop to automatic pay raises for Congress. Then let's cut out earmarks altogether. Finally, eliminate departments for functions best handled at the state, local and individual level; Agriculture, Energy, Commerce and Interior could be combined into one Department of American Resources. Labor and Education Departments should be eliminated. Health and Human Services could be halved. Give the savings back to the taxpayers and let them provide for themselves – this is a principle our Nation was founded on.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  57. Jerry from Jacksonville

    Cut the pay of all the worthless congressmen in Washington, they need to be paid what they are worth which is the minimum wage. In my 68 years I've never saw such a worthless bunch. My question is how in the hell they keep getting elected. All of them must of majored in bull s–t in school.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  58. Jeff Covert

    The Elimination of Pork Barrel Spending would be a good small first step.
    Real lobby reform would be a good small second step.
    Eliminating every single subsequent agency, that duplicates the efforts or oversigh of another agency would be a good small third step.
    The list of small steps are countless, and the idea that any such idea is not a good idea because it is just a drop in the bucket is NUTS!
    We need to fight this TRILLION dollar budget deficit with a bucket full of drops in the bucket!
    Aside from being just a drop in the bucket, what is wrong with making these small steps toward a balanced budget?
    Spending money on a "performance czar" is a small step in the wrong direction....

    Jeff Covert, Suwanee Georiga

    January 8, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  59. Liz

    I would cut spending by:1. ending the war in Iraq where we spend billions of dollars each day. 2. Cut or stop pork barrel spending. 3. make it impossible or less easy for illegal aliens to get welfare/food stamps etc. 4. cut wasteful spending – give the heads of each agency the right to purchase supplies from the least expensive supplier which could be a local a supplier and not some big corporation. 5. cap salaries – no more self voted raises for congress. 6. institute a faz tax system.
    Liz, Western NY

    January 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  60. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    I'd stop funneling 12 billion a month to Iraq. I'd eliminate Halliburton's no bid contracts. I'd stop bribing the Iraqis. If that meant they ended the cease fire, I'd withdraw the troops. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him American.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  61. George

    I would start by making all monetary transactions be done by plastic, or checks, by making paper money obsolete, and only have two coins minted, that being quarters, and dimes. Most crimes, especially fraud, robbery, drug trafficking, under table cash deals, ID theft, white collar theft, and over charging, gouging would all then have a paper trail. There would be less need for jails, as there would be less crime committed. Most American use plastic today to do business, but once we have everyone do business the same way there is wiggle room for a crime to happen, for instance some today can rob his neighbor, and take his money to the corner store, and spend it. In my system there would be no cash to steal, and any use of someones credit, or debit card, would be credited to your account, and then you would be easily identified to prosocute. The best way to keep money from being stolen is to never allow it to be at arms reach from an human.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  62. Scott, Wichita

    First, say goodbye to all those unnecessary tax deduction programs. Make it a flat 20% across the board, no deductions for anything. Certainly would make things easier for the general public.

    Second, NO MORE BAILOUTS. The beauty of a free market economy is that the strong companies survive, and the weak are weeded out, making room for new ones.

    Finally, all the politicians in DC should voluntarily work for a year for one dollar, like they told the Auto CEO's to do. They are the ones messing everything up, why should we pay them? 99% of them are set for life if they retired right now, so I'm pretty sure it won't hurt them much

    January 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  63. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Give all the members of Congress a stimilus package--a pay reduction.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  64. william fitzwater

    I would do just what Obama has proposed go through programs line by line . Get rid of what doesnt work spend where these programs work. Insitute a indenpent auidter to rate the perfomance vs costs in some areas encourage use of technology to reduce essive administravie overhead. Tie the costs of performace with a index and encourge government agencies to beat thier competoers. This index would be weighter on effiecy , cost and ROI.
    I would send to every american a short annodate how the government performance is debet , income , envirmental perforfance and have indepent auitors grade performace just like a prospective in a investment. Give the people some idea of whats goging on and how our government stacks up put comparisions side by side with other countries that show those same metricis.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  65. Ed Woodbridge,Va.

    Cut by 2/3rds the salaries of all Senators and members of congress, because 2/3rds of the year they are not on Capitol Hill working! (I guess if this was done all those loafers on Capitol Hill would have to go out and get "Real" jobs!


    January 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  66. KC - Cleveland

    Jack, I seem to remember way back when Gore was the VP, they initiated a campaign to eliminate waste.. (I think that was when they discovered the $435 military toilet seat and the $185 hammer.) Like all other meaningful campaigns, it lost inertia... But, this is where I would start.... My guess we would find Billions (with a 'B') and that would be a very good start.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  67. Karyn

    I would cut Federal spending by cutting the pay of Congress, for starters.
    Love it......they have no problem giving Paulson/Bush $700 Billion for the bankers and Wall Street.....but heaven forbid they work for who actually elected Obama....
    Cut the pay of Congress....by at least half. Cut their perks. Cut their health care/dental/eyeglass care...
    most of them are millionaires if not billionaires already. They have it in THEIR banks. Let them use THAT.
    Do I sound angry? You betcha!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  68. Fran, Michigan

    Just for starters, have Congressmen, Representatives and Senators punch a clock like the rest of us have to. If they are campaigning, then they get docked for every day they miss. They should receive the same benefits as the people they represent no extra perks. That should save billions of taxpayer's money!!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  69. Paul H from Los Angeles, CA

    Whoa. Because of the past eight years, I almost forgot that the idea of cutting federal spending exists. Thanks for the reminder, Jack.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  70. Billy G in Las Vegas

    you can start with some of this over priced, consistantly overbudget, Pentagon foolishness that doesn't work like the "Star Wars" style ABM program. this country spends more money for so called "defense" than all the nations of the world COMBINED with much of it PURE WASTE.

    this country needs to heed the words of retired President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1961 when he stated that "We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations." followed by the famous "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex."

    IF this country does NOT rein in our excessive spending on wasteful military projects, we will bankrupt ourselves just like the old Soviet Union did three decades ago.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  71. Joan: Burlington, VT

    Stop paying Congress out of the federal budget. Let each state pay their representatives and senators in congress based on the peoples vote to increase salaries and benefits according to how they rate the performance of their representatives and senators.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  72. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    Government payroll!!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  73. Jeff in Connecticut

    Jack, to properly answer this would take volumes, but the 1st thing I'd do is revoke the $82 plus million a day of free money GWB promised to Israel. I would eliminate all tax credits to U.S. companies who outsource jobs. I would cap the dividend tax break at $20k. I would eliminate all tax breaks to tobacco industries. (Killing people is NOT agriculture) I would also eliminate all tax breaks to the petroleum industry. They can pay or be Nationalized. We should then eliminate and prosecute all corruption involved in Military contracts. This means stopping all pending payments to Halliburton and it's subsidiaries. As cruel as it sounds, I'd also eliminate any support of illegal aliens.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  74. Ken @ Charlotte, NC


    Since it is the Middle Class and small business that produces the majority of the governments income it would be wise not to take any more away from them. Obama suggests digging more money out of those making over $200,000. I agree with him.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  75. Tom Darby

    When the Constitution was approved the budget was about one million dollars. Look at just the Federal debt today. Most States have bevt problems. We need to reduce the number of Federal, State, and Local Political Offices. Every little city and town does not need political offices. County government could provide the services. We should reduce the number of States. This would help reduce Federal Political Offices. We need a Constitutional Convention to reorganize the method of Local, State and Federal Government.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  76. susan from Idaho

    No more raises for congress. Do away with the space program; we’re having problems here not there. Let the people vote on local expenses, we have just as much common sense as the elected officials, probably even more. Elections are expensive but pie in the sky projects is worse. Revisit what was done during the first depression. They didn’t spend money on anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. Get the deadbeats off disability. Rehabilitate these folks and if they don’t want to work let them eat cake.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  77. CJ in Atlanta, GA

    Put any amount over $1 Billion up for vote. Sure, we'd have to have more frequent elections in our country, but so what? It'd give the citizens an opportunity to stop griping about decisions made at the top.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  78. NANCY , Grand Ledge MI

    First, I would stop Congress from getting a raise. They don't deserve it any more than the executives of failing companies! Then I would eliminate a few of their perks, like huge retirement pay, and extended vacations. That would help bring them back down to earth. I would also eliminate their health care until they pass health care for the rest of us. Maybe we would get something done faster. After that, we need to increase spending to stimulate the economy, and I would remove the cap on taxable social security income to solve that problem!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  79. Randy from Salt Lake City

    End the wars and bring all of our troops home.
    Close all overseas military bases.
    Abolish the Federal Reserve.
    Fire and/or jail all Senators and Congresscritters for violating their oaths of office.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  80. John from California

    Most importantly, get our money back from the robber bankers on Wall St. throw them in jail if need be, heck throw Paulson in too. Trickle down economics is not working, and never really has. It doesn't work when things can be outsourced for 2 cents an hour overseas, the money just bleeds out of the country.

    Three words, "Cut the fat", focus on cutting pork barrel projects like "bridge to nowhere". Focus our money on forward thinking projects like alternative energy and infrastructure upgrades, things that actually benefit the country in real ways. Reducing our dependency on foreign energy sources will help us create a more favorable balance of trade in the future. This will hopefully help us balance the budget later on. Programs funded by tax payers need to be held accountable and have oversight.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  81. gary saari

    Stop the illegal and immoral war in Iraq, and bring back the draft to make sure that every person (man and woman) has to fulfill their obligation to serve. There shouldn't be any exceptions like the G.W. Bush debacle with preferencial treatment for joining the National Guard. That's the only way that the politicians will consider alternate methods to their "war madness" initiative which is to support the Halliburtons of the world in the name of Democracy. I believe the correct analogy of my premise is that usually politicians and demagogues are similar in meaning.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  82. Pugas-AZ

    Means testing for all items in the budget. A 5-10 percent cut across-the-board for all items that aren't deemed absolutely essential. No lobbiest need apply.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  83. Alex

    First, pork barrel projects need to be banned. These projects include a $500,000 Teapot Musuem in South Carolina and a $1,000,000 Water Free Urinal Conservation Intiative in Michigan. Afterwards, a responsible end to the $350,000,000,000 Iraq War needs to be brought. Last, but not least, enough with the bailouts!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  84. Tom in Dallas

    I voted for Obama but here would be a fabulous position for McCain. He would cut the pork, earmarks, of whatever else you want to call it. First, there would be nothing done on a cost plus basis, that should save a few trillion for starters.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  85. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I'd take a serious look at every new defense ship, jet fighter, battle ship–on the next 5 year plan. We've got the most advanced armed forces in the world–and we could give it a rest on hardware expenses for a decade–without any compromise to our security. And as for the ground based satellite defense systems all over the world–can it in the round file.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  86. Alan, Buxton Maine

    To answer that, one would have to know what is being spent now and I don't think anyone knows that or is willing to disclose it. There are many programs such as weapons development which have been wasting trillions of dollars for years which could be halted. The whole space program is one of the biggest wastes of money in the universe. There could be far fewer renovations of bathrooms and other atrocities of that nature just to mention a few. I am certain that there are hundreds of programs that could be stopped immediately that would save many billions. Will it happen? Fat chance.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  87. Jim/NC

    There is a simple rule that my father taught me regarding spending: "DON'T SPEND MORE MONEY THAN YOU MAKE. IF YOU FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE FINANCIAL RULE IN LIFE, YOU WILL NEVER BE BROKE." If the American people and the government would adhere to this financial truth, we would not be in the "dire" condition we are in in this country. Quiet honestly, I believe that there are very few people in this country who would have a clue in how to go about reducing federal spending without putting our nation at risk.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  88. Jerry - Toronto, Canada

    Geez Jack, the list is too long, to answer this question CNN would have to run a whole series of weekly shows. Oh wait, you do, it's Lou Dobbs. A fine man with the right answers. Obama should have chosen him for the postion of Commerce Secretary. Since Barack is already dipping into the CNN staff pool with his choice of Surgeon General (Sanjay Gupta), why not one more. It would be a loss to CNN's and its viewers but our wallets would be happier.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  89. Ann from Newton, New Jersey

    Eliminate all the rediculous pork that is added onto necessary legislation. Hopefully President Obama will put an end to this.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  90. gary saari

    Stop the illegal and immoral war in Iraq, and bring back the draft to make sure that every person (man and woman) has to fulfill their obligation to serve. There shouldn't be any exceptions like the G.W. Bush debacle with preferential treatment for joining the National Guard. That's the only way that the politicians will consider alternate methods to their "war madness" initiative which is to support the Halliburtons of the world in the name of Democracy. I believe the correct analogy of my premise is that usually politicians and demagogues are similar in meaning.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  91. Lee in TN

    I would start with the pork spending first. Stop all this unnecessary
    spending on things that only your state will benefit from.!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  92. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Would demanding accountability under penalty of death be too harsh? I don't think so. We have become the United States of Waste, Greed and Corruption, and desperate times call for desperate measures. If federal waste and corruption was given the public stigma of say, treason or terrorism, then we could prosecute and incarcerate the offending parties. Instead we call them "white collar crimes" and send such people off to a country club instead of a firing squad. Or we could just stop all military involvement we are engaged in around the world. Which one sounds more feasible?

    January 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  93. Mari Fernandez, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Thanks for this question, Jack!

    The United States government should CUT ALL FOREIGN AID TO FOREIGN NATIONS: Japan, Israel, Germany, etc., etc.


    January 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  94. Matt Callaway in Omaha, NE

    Eliminate the disparate government healthcare agencies, end agricultural subsidies, end the war in Iraq, draw down American involvement in South Korea and all military presence in the Gulf, decrease the size of America's ground forces (Army, Marines, etc...), decriminalize/legalize marijuana...I could go on and on.

    I would also invest/spend money in renewable energy, infrastructure, education, scientific research, and universal healthcare because they are indeed investments from which we will see returns.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  95. Vinnie Vino


    I wish it was as simple as waving a magic wand, however we are all in an period of tough times that calls for new thinking and planning.

    1. Freeze Government spending, except for public works projects.

    2. Cut Government Department budgets, except the Defence Dept.

    3. Go green in all Federal buildings and shorter work weeks.

    4. Increase Sin Taxes and Government User Fees.

    5. Cut wasteful Federal spending, ie: printing documents in
    everyones race.

    The last thing I would do is cut social programs, but make sure people are not cut off of programs, ie: the olderly and the disable...

    C.I. New York

    January 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  96. Erma, Tenn.

    Don't cut it, Jack. That's government's duty to pour out its blessings on
    this great nation.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  97. Jack Martin


    I would require a new rule for the Senate and the House. Each member would be required to stand and explain each request they make for pork and describe the beneficial effect on the country as well as the recipient. It would be a start. No more bridges to nowhere.

    Jack Martin. Boynton Beach Florida

    January 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  98. Richard Green


    The defense budget is one of the most bloated and wasteful in our government. I'd start there. Next, I'd look at reducing the number of contratctors used to do what soldiers and gov't employees used to do. We've got more employees and soldiers and four times as many contractors as we used to have. There are contractors exercising oversight on contratctors! Then, I'd bring a close to our involvement in Iraq as quickly as possible. I'd follow that with reducing the number of overseas bases we maintain and follow that with reducing aid to countries who are in better financial shape than we [Israel for one]. Then I'd put money where it'll do the most good for the whole economy.....get it in the hands of people who will spend it in the US on US goods and services. No tax breaks for moving jobs and money off shore. I could go on for pages. Thanks for the opportunity. Good question.
    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  99. Jim, from Las Vegas

    Legalize pot. Not only would that cut enforcement spending and prisons, but the tax revenue would be handy, too.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  100. Dan from Bloomington Indiana

    a freeze on pay increases for the congress would be a good start.
    How about running the government like a business? You know, spend only the money you bring in and stop spending my children's money that they haven't even made yet.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  101. Michael Odegard

    Hi Jack, you won't like the way I'd cut spending. I'd cut spending in accord to merit–meaning I'd start with Social Security. We have a Baby Boomer generation which enjoyed the strongest economy in the history of the modern world (the 60s) and what did they do to it? They've trashed the work ethic through what is tantamount to an anti-work ethic cultural revolution. They've outsourced the manufacturing sector and much of our labor. They've all but openly encouraged the depression of wages through high tolerance of illegal immigration and they've totally stratified the economy. In fact the only way for the 401K plans to do well is for Gen X and Gen Y workers to do poorly. So, I'd start with cutting social security benefits by 75%, and give the Baby Boomers only what they deserve.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  102. barbara in Tacoma

    First by making the Senate and Congress work for Miniuim Wage most of them are milionaries anyway, second by taking all the perks they recieve, such as special airplanes and all the staff they require, then maybe you will see a change. Tired of seeing these guys in there $2000.00 suits and there hair style and there tans. this should say billions and also they will have to really work for a living.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  103. Anon in Atlanta

    As a retired federal worker I can tell you that at the end of every fiscal year, every federal department scrambles to expend every last dime left in their budgets to justify next year's budget proposals and allocations. If the next allocation of departmental funds were based on the previous year's saving and conservation, then federal offices would be writing with stubby pencils instead of state of the art computers. As long as spending is rewarded, and this goes for congressional pork, look for more of it. LOTS more.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  104. L.M.,Arizona

    I would start by stopping all these wars we have had going for twenty plus years. What has the war on drugs accomplished? Bring the troops home from Japan,Korea,Europe,and definitely the middle-east.
    Secure our borders and tax gas,drugs,and other things that kill you,but people can't seem to live without in short let's grow up.


    January 8, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  105. Robert S., New Orleans

    1.) Make the military industrial complex follow the same regulations as other federal agencies; 2.) Stop entitlement programs such as corporate welfare and bonuses for Halliburton. 3.) Replace Air Force One with a combination hellicopter/SmartCar. 4.) Cut the federal work force in half. 5.) Cancel health insurance benefits for congress and let them find their own plans in the private sector.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  106. Joan

    Congress could give back theri raises as a good example.
    Also, no money should be spent on proposals for things like a Polar Bear museum. This type of project just keeps costing money. And people are actually beingpaid to write proposls for these things?? Way too much waste.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  107. Henry in Connecticut

    I would change the paradigm that military spending isn't really spending, and doesn't have to be accounted for very well in our budget. There would be no more wasteful spending of hundreds of billions of dollars on stuff like the Iraq war. At this point military spending is probably the easiest area to cut because we have an economic crisis where actual real Americans are hurting.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  108. Sue -Idaho

    Fire half the Senators and Congressmen and all their aides, eliminate all lobbyists and hire a really good accountant and take everyone's checkbooks away! All spending would be done by invoice submitted on the WEB and the public would have the final say!

    January 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  109. Jack


    Cutting federal spending will be like taking candy from your "leaders", expect a lot of crying, tantrums and all the other infantile reactions they will display for "our" sake. The voting public must let their "representatives" know that earmarks are no longer acceptable within proposed bills, that junkets including, cruises, golf outings, seminars on how to do their jobs,world travel (el al.), by governors, congressman, senators, mayors county officials (sheriffs)and likely council members, city engineers, city (I forgot Board of Education members), School superintendants, et. al, If I forgot any you know who you are. None have helped so far so past behavior is OUT. Sorry Jack, I forgot nepotism. I know they will do what they can to get THEIR kids jobs.

    Jack, Lancaster, Ohio

    January 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  110. Dennis North Carolina

    Make all spending transparent and open, then audit and get rid of the abuses.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  111. lynn. vancouver

    I'd start by rescinding the $5 000 tax increase in salary, review the pension benefits of Congress and bring them in line with the private sector and I would change their health benefits package to one that is more in line with the average American worker. These people have lost touch with the daily lives of the middle and working class and that they are elected to DO something not just keep their eye on the next elecetion.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  112. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I'd go after "farmers" getting compensated for non- working farms and gov. bureaucrats spending over 200 grand for a bathroom. I'd also slow down Congressional travel expenses.

    January 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  113. chris

    simple jack
    1. cut there enourmous pay of all govt officals across the u.s and their benefits
    2. cut the judges pay and benefits and congress and senate pay cut their and their benefits and president and vice president paya nd benefits cut them too
    3. cut pork barrel projects and spending ghtat is nto what the govt. should be us taxpayers are paying for
    4. and cut govt workers in all areas aroudn the country from police fbi and so on we hace too many running around doing nothign here in monore county, fl as across the county that with cuttign spending across the board and cut taxes for us and no more bailouts except for who need it us the average taxpayer would do more than giving it to the auto's and the banks and now the porn industry

    January 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  114. Teri in St. Augustine FL

    I'd start with Congress – convert them to an HMO that they'd have to pay into, then I'd move onto their pensions. If they don't have 30 years, no pension. Convert them to a cash balance plan. Automatic raises like this last $4,700? No way. Oh, and I'd have them work an actual 5 day work week. Fiscal responsibility starts at home, right? That's just a start, Jack. I can come up with plenty more.

    Teri in St Augustine, FL

    January 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  115. Ralph Nelson

    I would assign the Vice President the job of going through everything to cut spendng that does not cut economic stimulus. Reduce overseas troop deployments in Europe, Korea, and Iraq. Invest in government spending that generates more in revenue than the cost of the spending. Raise taxes on rich to Clinton standard. Charge small fees for government services, like a dollar or two. Put on a gas tax to pay for bridges, roads, transit with a trigger that cuts it back if gas exceeds $4.00 a gallon. Say 25-to-40 cents a gallon. Consider a tariff of some sort on imported oil. Get stuff on those who have closed markets, but freely sell here (fair trade). Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  116. Doug from Bloomington IN

    I wouldn't touch education, but everything else is on the table. We blow too much on military, homeland security and many other programs that don't work at peak efficiency. Make them do more with less and see how it works for them.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  117. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    Health care costs. Why should some doctors and all insurance companies make billions? We need some way to limit profits in those fields where people have no choice when in need of services. I guess I would limit legal fees too, and let's not forget pharmaceutical industry executives. We have no competition or choice in fees for hospitals and drugs. This should end. It is NOT capitalism or free enterprise or fair. Until and unless we can get what we need for a fair fee, the federal budget will never be balanced again in my life time.(Much less yours, Jack)

    January 8, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  118. John, Fort Collins, CO

    I would have all tax refunds, tax credits, and any future stimulus money paid out in the form of debit cards that could only be used to make purchases and pay bills. It would be illegal to use them purchase nvestments in financial institutions or put the proceeds into savings accounts. 100% of the money would go into the economy, thereby creating jobs and reducing the federal outlays required to pay for the proposed make work programs.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  119. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    The Congress needs to set an example of taking pay cuts and cuts in benefits just like they are demanding of the real working class that puts in a 40 hour work week instead of the less than two days a week that Congress puts in. Or Congress could work for hourly pay. That would probable save millions.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  120. Jim from Chicago

    I would start by cutting the tax incentives to the oil companies and taking away the tax loopholes for those American companies with phony corporate headquarters in Bermuda and the Caymen Islands. Those stupid and inneffective abstinence programs would also quickly feel the ax. And finally, there would be no such thing as no-bid contracts for Iraq or non-negotiable drug prices from the big pharmaceutical companies. There, I think I earned my keep.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  121. John

    Jack: Line by line working many hours a day. Break the budget down. Cut out all outdated programs. It is not easy, but Congress and Wall Street got us in this mess, and now Obama and company must figure away out. Congress needs to ring Wall Street in or better still ring their collective necks with oversite. The people need to support Obama Administration and pray for a good outcome.


    January 8, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  122. mike in montana

    I would cut our military budget especially the crazy hi tech weapons.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  123. Jose from Hoboken, NJ

    1- Cut superfluous defense systems.
    2- Get Health Care back in line, double benefit healthier people less expense.
    3- Diminish the size of all "big honchos" caravans.
    4- No more money for Iraq, time to go.
    5- Farm subsidies, need to go all we are doing is feeding China on the cheap.
    6- Stop spending money on the "war on drugs", just legalize and tax the stuff to the hilt.
    7- Tax cigarettes to the hilt, double benefit more tax income less smoking and healthier (cheaper) people.
    8- Impose a gasoline tax to keep gas at 4 dollars a gallon, triple benefit: less emissions, promotes conservation and related industries and promotes new technologies and jobs.
    9- Review entitlements so people that should be working work (if they can find a job) and second review medicare so all this advertisements of stuff that Medicare pays for is not so.
    10- And last but not least, allow medicare and Medicaid to "negotiate" with pharmaceutical companies it should cut the price of medications in half; at the same time "cap" to a percentage the amount that can be made on medications. It is blackmail to charge sick people exorbitant amounts of money for life saving medication.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  124. Susan from Greenfield, Wi.

    Stop the wars, and remove all Military-Industrial Complex lobbyists from Washington. This will not weaken the nation, it will make us stronger. A true free market, with a military that isn't worn out and saddled with junk that doesn't work.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  125. Al in IA

    I would cut spending where the hogs are standing knee-deep in the trough and wallowing in the buttermilk.....the military.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  126. Lynne

    I would sever the connection between our military and private contractors like Halliburton, KBR, etc. as well as close bases overseas. We could cut our military budget in half easily and remain just as safe if not safer.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  127. Ray Kinserlow

    Sure thing, withdraw from Iraq War and cut off Bush's fat cat buddies from slopping at the federal trough. That ought to save enough to install national health insurance plus some left over for infrastructure rebuilding.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    January 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  128. Karen - Nashville

    Find a way to cut waste to zero and we'll have money coming out the wazoo.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  129. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Stop sending money to foreign countries until we have taken care of home and money that's owed to us by foreign governments, ask if they can start paying it back.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  130. Kiran, Atlanta,GA

    1. Abolish all contract jobs and hire them as full time employees. The contracting companies pay only 20% of what is charged to the Fed and 80% is pocketed by these consulting companies.
    2. End Iraq war and take an oath no war on any country just for fun.
    3. Introduce Fair Tax and say good bye to IRS.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  131. Rhonda Sheehan

    #1 stop the rebate checks
    #1 stop pork barrel spending
    #3 stop giving Wall Street and Big Companies bail-out money

    That's a start.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  132. Eric

    1- Eliminate Homeland Security, it's been a failure since day 1
    2 – Implement a flat tax of 10% no matter your income. This would eliminate the IRS and asure everyone pays their fare share
    3 – Eliminate all Pork from all future budgets and or bills
    4 – Stop all pay raises for senior level management within the Federal Government

    This is just a start, I have many many more....

    January 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  133. Chryssa

    I'd start by pulling the plug on programs that have proven themselves failures, like No Child Left Behind, the war in Iraq and abstinence-only education.

    Boise, ID

    January 8, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  134. Rose

    If I could answer that I would be inaugurated January 20th. Since that last eight years have caused this mess, I know what not to do!

    Rose Hann New London, Connecticut

    January 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  135. Annie Kraft Naples FL

    Just like I cut my budget. All extras removed; all priorities re prioritized; all unnecessary spending gone; all waste gone; a prepared realistic budget.

    And by the way government workers and civil servants do not work very hard (every try to reach one when you need to) they can do extra jobs (like most companies are now requiring their employees to do with NO extra pay). My daughter in the comptroller job she has in school is now doing the work of 5 people. When someone leaves or retires they aer NOT being replaced. Welcome to the real world and be happy you have a job.

    Oh, I just woke up from this dream.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  136. Ondrya in the San Fernando Valley, CA

    Dear Super Old Dude,

    Ours is not to question the reason why, ours is just to pay taxes and die.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  137. Sharon, Chicago, IL

    The first thing: Publish where every dollar is being spent and let the people and the congress see where tax dollars are going. If a company (like Halliburton) cannot account for every penny it has received, it should be required to return every such penny to the government's coffers. All programs that require monies be spent or forfeited should be cancelled summarily (that would stop a great deal of military waste as just one example). Appropriations must be reviewed at decent periodic intervals and all that are wasteful cancelled summarily. Subsidies of all manner should be abandoned and tarrifs reinstated to allow American workers to be on a level playing field. The last thing: Total transparency and full accountability in ALL government spending. Hopefully that would put an immediate stop to lots of black-ops that we should not be funding as well.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  138. Dean in Pa


    Let's start with concessions from congress, like give up a portion of your pensions and medical coverage, like you are asking the UAW working tax payers to do. Next take away their private taxpayer paid Washington, DC homes, like your asking the auto execs to do, and let them do video conferencing like the rest of corporate America. This would also make them readily available to the people that pay their wages, again the taxpayer. Take away the "vote yourself a raise" option and give it back to your bosses, again the tax payer, after they lead by example we will start to take them seriously. Welcome to the real world.

    Dean the Tax Payer from PA

    January 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  139. Patrick in Hampstead, Maryland

    Jack – The spending on the IRAQ War is the first place I would look. Demand repayment from IRAQ Oil profits. The President needs line item Veto authority to cut pork barrel spending. Obama is correct in looking at Technology in Medical and other areas to cut costs. Its sad that Middle Americans and many Baby Boomers will now have to work until they die just to make ends meet and put food on the table. Maybe thats a sick cure for Obesity in this country. Work them and Starve them to death. They've earned it!! One word -Disgusting!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  140. David in Raleigh, NC

    I would cut government entitlement and wealth transfer programs including all forms of welfare including the Earned Income Credit. I would also lower taxes on those who make enough to pay taxes and quit transferring wealth to those that don't make enough to pay taxes.

    I would restrict government spending to satisfying only those tasks assigned to the Federal Government in the Constitution. I would then repeal the unconstitutional Federal Income Tax and the Internal Revenue Service.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  141. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    anyone who has worked in the federal government knows one thing : there is waste to be eliminated period! What is missing from goverment is not wasting real leadership! 🙂

    January 8, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  142. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    anyone who has worked in the federal government knows one thing : there is waste to be eliminated period! What is missing from government is not wasting real leadership! 🙂

    January 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  143. Roy - Chicago IL

    Jack, THANK YOU for mentioning that the Republicans have had no fiscal responsibility for 8 years. Remember we had a trillion dollar surplus back then?
    First, we need to remove the lobbyists and special interests that will try and block any cut in spending.
    Then, I would cut federal spending by:
    -Ending bloated Farm Subsidies
    -Freeze all salaries for ALL legislators
    -Ending the 'Star Wars' military initiative sucking up billions
    -Reforming Health Care to lower costs and drug prices, thereby lowering government spending via Medicare, etc
    -Start a 'Living within Your means' initiative to educate overspending consumers on lessening 'money leakage' and massive debt
    -End no bid government contracts
    -End massive aid and loans to unfriendly countries
    -Review massive aid and loans to 'ally' countries who invade others without our consent or approval
    Although not a panacea, it's a start!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  144. Mickie

    I think all give-aways from the Government should have a sunset law and right now Pres. Elect Obama should request his new appointees in every area to identifying "non-critical" spending. How much money would have been saved over the years if someone (ANYONE) would have just kept control over these idiots spending thousands on screwdrivers that I could buy at any hardware store for under $10, not to mention over $200,000 to outfit a private bathroom for an official. That's more than I've spent in a lifetime to buy a house. While we're at it, let's stop using my tax dollars to pay their retirements, trips, security, etc., etc., etc. when they've done absolutely nothing to earn it. Let's base it on performance like all of my jobs.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  145. Terence

    To cut spending i would start putting them in the same position as we are in. Cut their pensions and health insurance to bring them down to our level. Get rid of all the free private planes they use to travel on our dime . They had the nerve to complain about the auto kings using private planes to appear in washington when they fly all over for free themselves. Plus stop all the foreign aid that money that we send over seas. This would be a good start Jack.
    Terence , Piscataway, NJ

    January 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  146. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    Guuullllllp! (I am retired, on SocSec and pension).

    We could . . . well . . . cut (OUCH!) entitlements somewhat . .. ooooh.
    We could . . . well . .. delay the demand for public health reform ...ooh.
    We could . . . well . .. forego these .. umm.. tax cuts
    We could . . . well .... we COULD forget the 'incentives' and let the economy self-adjust . . .ouch .. oooh., uh, damn that hurts!
    We could .... well .... quit giving money to the banks etc etc etc etc
    - just for a few years, mind you, Jack, just temporarily, just until the gubmint gets back in the black - ohmiGawd did i just treasonate???

    Of course, Jack, we should be developing a far-reaching and all inclusive plan to completely rebuild the fundamentals of the economy during the hiatus

    January 8, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  147. Ed

    Two ways; spend more, spend a lot more. It seems like getting on the freeway; the only faster way to the next exit is to speed up. Destination Hotel Calfornia; you can check out but you can never leave. Third way, get out and walk.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  148. Bill from NJ

    I don't know all the possible ways, but one way to achieve big savings up front might be to take the troops out of Iraq, send them to Afghanistan for a year and win (or re-win) that war, then bring them home and keep them home for a while.

    Of course, since many of them are Guardsmen or Reservists, that could just throw them into unemployment lines.

    Actually, Jack, I don't have a clue how to cut spending. But then again, neither does anyone else.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  149. Jasmine in Germany

    The list is too long. We can start with getting sincere, educated community workers into public offices (remember Jesus, Ghandi, and MLK?) because they understand human needs better than those who leave excess caviar on their plates which gets dumped into a garbage landfill instead of an organic compost which would create fertilizer which would help feed the impoverished in the US and other parts of the world.

    Ach, Jack, ach, Jack...for what the federal government spends, they don't have all too much to show for it. Millions without health insurance (against the law in other industrialized nations), low ranking on international educational scores, very high international poverty and crime rates, lower health and life span averages than in other countries and an embarrassing infrastructure. But those in power in the USA continue to multiply their wealth and it reeks of worse than failed corrupt Communism to me. I think what bugs me is that US Americans are unaware that Europeans (and others) indeed have a higher quality of life than in the good ol' USA. Sad, isn't it?.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  150. Linda in Bisbee, AZ

    End foreign wars. Amazing how much money that would save.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  151. Jeff in Minnesota

    Heaven forbid the Federal government will clean up its act. While I appreciate President-Elect Obama's admirable naming of a Chief Performance Officer, I think she'll last about nine to twelve months and will likely be bald at the end of that tenure. It's worth a shot, but past experience says that the bureaucracy is HIGHLY risk adverse to any changes. Particularly any changes that make sense or were not developed in-house. Time will tell, but I'm not optimistic that significant change will occur and savings will be seen.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  152. Faison A. McNeal

    Does Harry Reid Work for Pres.-elect Obama? Yes. If Harry Reid is a Senator from Nevada who is a member of Congress who works for the people of the United States who hired him, then he works for the people who elected Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States of America which is for the people, of the people and by the people. Therefore, he works for the people and Barack Obama who is one of the people who Harry Reid works for.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  153. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    out of that 1.2 trillion deficit, we must wonder how much was spent on the 27 buildings built in Irak. Bottom line, is all that money spent with nothing to look at! The new government spending will be spent at home for jobs! We are questioning the small tax cuts that may help a family buy food or shoes...we did not question the wall street bailout!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  154. Marilyn, Oklahoma

    Now is when we may actually see what every politician running for office says he will do: cut out pork barrel spending.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  155. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    people forget that some people have to drive long distance for their job. So even a small tax cut will benefit family and work and yes..gaz!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  156. Rae from Indiana

    Pay cuts for congress, no raises until their approval rating comes up, they can pay for their own health insurance and their own transportation. Cuts in corporate welfare, no spending added to bills being considered for passage. No $350,000 toilet seats. I could go on and on. Oh, and if the banks can't or won't tell us where they spent the bailout money...they can pay it back.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  157. Jim


    It sure isn't easy, for the reasons you mentioned. Cuts are needed, of course, but more pain to the average citizen is not. The goal, as I see it, is to cut without compromising citizen safety or security. About the only strategy that leaves is cutting benefits and services, but only for the wealthy. Thus, cuts to Social Security and Medicare should be on the table, but only for those worth over X-million dollars. Cutting farm and other subsidies should be looked at, but only for the gigantic farms, etc., not for the mom and pop operations. Can this approach generate the kind of savings we need? I don't know. But it should be the starting point for budget cuts.

    Reno, Nevada

    January 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  158. David Janesville WI

    I'd follow the money and find out who is individually profitting in a big way at such a financially strenuous time for everybody else.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  159. MD Julie

    Eliminate all Guest Worker programs except agriculture. These are unnecessary, particlauly "High tech" programs wher the visas go to entrance level talent, We would not only save the costs of Administration but would increase revenue by saving these jobs for taxpaying US citizens.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  160. david doherty

    End the Irag boone doggle, and have the money we've spent rebuilding that country repaid like we were told at the begining of this mess, ya know with all the oil profits!!!

    Dave from NH.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  161. don in naples, florida

    first i would cut foreign aide to everyone. second i would come home and trim all government salaries to a teacher's salary. Third, mandate that all lobbyists channel their money through programs like clean fuel, clean energy. thirdly, i would drastically cut entitlements. After this, I would strictly eliminate all pork from government spending, whether law makers like it or not.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  162. britney miami florida

    jack this is meant for a economist and im not one but what i can say is ....i would put in money to the most struggling budget promblem the united states has.

    miami florida

    January 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  163. Debby

    The bail out would have been a good place to start but it's too late for that now. Maybe if those of us on Main Street could have received a bail out it would have been more productive. Since all of that is 20/20 hind-sight maybe we should be sure that all is well from now on by helping those that truly need it by giving us the opportunity to become large auto-makers or AIGers.

    If I didn't look and receive my help from God continually thanking Him that I didn't have any stock because I'd be as nutty as a fruitcake by now. God's blessings to those that did loose in the stock market.

    Pasadena, CA

    January 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  164. Gary

    I would take away the $4000 raise that the millionaires in congress don't need because it will not STIMULATE the economy and give the working poor a tax break. $20 a week will help my situation and others. This just shows how out of touch they are!!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  165. Jim

    I live in El Paso Texas and one of the ways I would cut Federal Spending is to eliminate the Pension Plan given to all Congressman, both the House and Senate. They seem to think that those in the working world can give up theirs, like the comments on the Bridge Loan for Autoworkers. Give them a 401K like everyone else and pattern it after the average of what working americans get.
    Another area would be to legalize drugs, control it, Tax it and use our resources on more pressing matters like terrorism and poverty. Thousands of people are dying every year because we are the major users of illegal drugs. Legalizing them could save billions of dollars in prevention, encarceration and enforcement.
    Wake up to the 21st century, most of our polititcians, especially in the South, are living in the 19th century.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  166. Annie, Atlanta

    First, bring ALL our troops home; get rid of all military contractors; and KBR would get nothing else, NADA. Second, cut all medical coverage and pensions for every Congressman and woman, and put a time-clock in congress where they would punch in and out, and be paid accordingly, with salary based on a real, not pretend, year.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  167. John

    Cut the military–in Iraq first and then forget about hunting bin Ladin in Afghanistan.

    Without Bush's idiotic war, we could save $10 billion a month.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  168. will

    I just listened to the Republican congressmen Eric Contor say he is concerned about the Obama spending plan to fix the economy, but for six years the Republicans had not one concern when they gave there beloved President George W. Bush blank checks to spend and wrote bills that had a record amount of pork spending in them.

    The Republicans do not have anything at all to say about Barack Hussein Obama ideas of fixing the problems that the Republicans created.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  169. Dave of Oregon

    Well, there goes the idea that Republicans are conservative with money if such account deficits loom. How does one spend that much money when conservatives hate social spending? Bush said Wall Street got drunk! I would say that they still are!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  170. Bill Bradford

    It seems everyone in Congress has their own plan for recovery if it benefits their agenda.
    I wonder when Congress will put aside what profits them and will be willing to work together to get us out of this mess that they have allowed to happen over the years.
    I think we should replace everyone of them with new blood and someone that really cares about our country.
    What we really need is some good role models that we have not had for years.



    January 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  171. Frank, Connellsville, PA

    I start with a revolutionary approach to DC: first and foremost you can't spend more than you take in. Second, you can't spend money to be placed in the retirement account (Social Security). Third, provide the president the line item veto and force individual votes on all spending items.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  172. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    sorry I'm on a roll...one of the problem right now is people with money are not spending as much as they used to!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  173. Al Bledsoe in Dallas

    Federal spending is part of the GDP. But, it is spending more than it is taking in. So, it either needs to produce more income or only spend what it takes in. However, the deficit requires interest payments to pay off the debt. This means the Federal government now should bring in more income than it can spend on goods and services. The best way I see that the Fed can end this cancer is to default on every loan and quit paying interest on its debt. That would make it virtually impossible for the Federal government to obtain any more loans. Only then would the Federal govt. be forced to spend only what it has. I think you will find bible prophesies become fulfilled before or while this occurs.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  174. Eli, Oklahoma


    1. Give Congress a pay cut and get rid of their stupid benifits.
    2. Quit bailing out big business and banks.
    3. Get rid of the bogus and worthless entitlements.
    4. Make "civil servants" work the 40 hours a week their paid for.
    5. Quit giving Medicare and SS benefits to people who don't need

    The list is endless.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  175. Wally Ruehmann las vegas nv

    the first two thing's that came to mind were THE MILATERY, AND ISERIAL.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  176. Ondrya in the San Fernando Valley, CA

    Dear Super Old Dude,

    Ours is not to reason why, ours is just to pay taxes and die.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  177. Simpliticus

    When Grover Norquist said that he wanted government to get small enough so as to be able to drown it in the bath tub, should the justice department take seriously the republican ethic akin to murdering the US government and economy? This is so egregious as to proffer investigations on the draining of the US Treasury which I think is robbery! Shouldn't Republicans all be considered felonious as a result of all of this? I think so! I think that this is all a conspiracy to defraud the US and where is Patrick Fitzgerald on this matter?

    January 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  178. Ron

    Best way to cut spending is to force the law makers to live on S.S.then they might learn how to live on a budget.As long as they run the money printing press the big time pork and all of the waste in our system might stop.Maybe if we turn of the juice to the presses that might help

    January 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  179. Tom from Boston, Mass.

    We voted for change, and we meant it. It's time to stop assuming that defense and entitlements are off-limits. Obama must make substantial changes in these areas – period. Yes, he needs to scrutinize all areas of the government, but it's well past time to face the music in these areas too.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  180. Christine, Edmeston NY

    Stop spending unethical dollars. For starters, how about eliminating health-care insurance for everyone on Capitol Hill? Every penny of this spending comes directly from the pockets of American taxpayers, most of whom cannot afford health-care insurance for themselves and their families. How disgraceful . . . and remarkably akin to the "taxation without representation" that fueled a revolution 234 years ago.

    January 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  181. Kevin Hemp

    Lets start with: 1st get rid of all those damn lobbiests (and I mean ALL). Second stop ALL Pork Barrell spending (and I mean ALL)Cut the pay to the politicans just like is being done to "Joe the Plumber" people.
    Now just how far do you think that will fly with our so called budget minded Senators?. Lets see if they are serious or just beating their gums. Want to bet the out come?

    January 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  182. Allen

    Jack, first I'd go after foreign spending. After all, if the country is going to spread our tax dollars they should be spread at home first.
    Then I'd go after fraud, waste, and abuse in government programs. Then I'd go after fraud, waste, and abuse in government contracts. Then I'd go after fraud, waste, and abuse by the government.
    Then I'd look at what I'd accomplished and decide if anything else would need to be done.
    Hartwell, GA

    January 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  183. johnchristopher

    Why are intelligent people not listening to Ron Paul and other great American minds of the past? They have been telling the American people, in no uncertain terms, that the health of the U.S. economy begins with the dissolution of the Federal Reserve which is a predatory banking cartel. How bad do things have to get before this fact is recognized?

    January 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  184. Karen - AZ

    Check the Pentagon first!!! Bet there's enough their to pay off our debt!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  185. rpb Viburnum Mo

    First I would restore the Reagan tax cuts then cut all funds to the US Chamber of Comerce. I would cut all the tax breaks for companies shiping our jobs overseas. I would cut the paychecks of our wonderful elected officials to that of what the average teacher makes. I would cut forein aid and last I would cut the name Homeland Security and change it to the US Department of Defence.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  186. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack

    we need to invest in higher education because it is suppose to pay higher salary which brings in higher income tax paid to the government. We need programmes where people working low paying jobs have access to affordable schools to improve their skills for higher paying jobs; unless you start increasing minimum wage which most of the time companies are against such increases and can not afford such increases at this time! Something to think about increasing slowly every year the minimum wage something that we refuse to do to reduce poverty...that small increase would probably go back in the economy! And it is that small increase that gives hope to people to even work harder and longer hours! A stimulus package has to look at all the diverse need of the population and occupations to have faith restored again in the economy! So we need a diverse stimulus package and a positive responsible outlook!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  187. Jan Illinois

    I would eliminate every pork barrel spending project until it was deemed needed, Every gov't office would get an overhaul. Welfare, Disability, Healthcare paid for by government should all be reviewed, people are working the system badly. Eliminate lobbyist for good , ban them and make oil co. pay their fair share of taxes on property as well as regular taxes.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  188. Barb from Hazel Crest, IL

    I think Obama is doing it the right way. You must attack from four positions. 1. Insert a Stimulus 2. Create jobs 3. Cut Taxes 4. Track the progress so he can stop inflation

    January 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  189. Krishna Koliwad

    To start, all the Senators and Reprersentatives should take $1 annual salary as they were demanding of the Detroit CEOs! Or at least the treasury department give them an IOU to be cashed in 2050. They should reduce their staff to two persons. Of course the war! How many we have going on now? Stop funding them immediately. We have no business meddling in every fight. For example let Hamas and Israel fight it out. It is no body's business to inject to mediate! I could think of many more superflous expenditures like these!


    January 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  190. Sherri in Illinois

    Thats a question unanswered Jack! And besides getting the heck out of Iraq of which we have spent over $600 BILLION dollars since the invasion & that will save us $60 BILLION a month. PE Obama has created this new Protection Officer position and that will be her responsibility to go over the entire Federal Budget line by line and eliminate all unnecessary spending that has transpired in the last 8 years under the Bush Administration. I wish President-Elect Obama ALL the luck after 1/20/09 because God up in heaven, he certainly will need it!!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  191. John from collinsville, Illinois

    Simply stop spending money on the wrong war! Get back to basics and the needs of the american people.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  192. Doug - Dallas, TX

    There's enough money wasted every year by our government in so many areas, it can make you crazy. If Obama could just solve that our budget deficits would drop dramatically.

    However, asking the government to spend less is like asking FEMA why they can't get their act together. After listening to their answer, you forget what the question was.

    It's going to take managers who have the courage to question expenditures and say no instead of rubber stamping requests. That has been missing from our government for many years. Then again, you have to get that type of manager working for the government and that presents a whole different set of problems.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  193. Matthew from Orange, CA

    Why cut it? Everyone in the Federal Government MUST have some budget blueprint in their office. If they exceed their budget, FINE THEM! And hit them where it hurts, their salaries. The massive flow of income from fines would far outweigh the benefit of any budget cut, and it might teach some people a few lessons as well.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  194. Chris in Illinois

    Well Jack! He can eliminate the office of Interior's $265.000 bathroom extravaganza AND fire the person that approved the order form once it crossed his or her desk.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  195. Rufus in Twentynine Palms, CA

    I don't know about cutting Federal spending Jack, but if you and Wolf don't cut the public display of mutual manlove, I'm going to recommend that CNN separate the two of you lovebirds. Jeez you guys, get a room!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  196. Daniel

    Obama should take a few minutes and talk to the average person, and try and explain to us: what can WE do to help the economy? Everyone's talking in billions, but isn't there anything I can do? I pay my mortgage, I buy stuff, I save - but what more? I think people are eager to do, but don't know what and how they can help.

    - Daniel, New York

    January 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  197. Kevin

    Start cutting medicare and social security. We are going to have to do it soon anyway. 5% to start, and 5% a year for the next 5 years.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  198. HannaH

    One answer Jack, the War on Drugs.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  199. Barb

    Cut some of the fat cats in Washington, let them see how the rest of us live , that should save all of us a lot of money.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  200. joe

    Take away W's pension!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  201. Robert Pegg

    First, make a flat tax for ALL. That means ALL. Then put even more people on the job of watching where and how OUR money is spent.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  202. Josh

    I would cut some defense spending. We don't need to shave off a large percentage to save a lot of money, what we spend now is a fairly staggering number. We could probably do it without any sacrifice in firepower by negotiating with defense contractors a little more aggressively. Shouldn't they be feeling the pinch, too?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  203. Adam from Canada

    The government of the US needs to implement a higher death penalty, one that includes more useless politicians and lets convicted criminals stop using tax payer dollars.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  204. Tim In Silicon Valley

    How would I cut spending, three words "War on Terror". You can not fight terror with cruise missiles and land invasions. If we ended out military supremacy and focused more on diplomatic solutions, our country could and would save a gigantic chunk of our budget to spend at home instead of abroad.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  205. Blake

    I think that they should cut the pay for members of the us senate, congress, and himself. Like a president accually needs that 400 thousand a year anyway.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  206. Charles

    You have to stop the bleeding so you have to start with Iraq! Begin with Rush Limbough, who bills the government for his slanted view of the World. Then cut ALL contracts with Halliburton and their subsidaries. Then get rid of Blackwater. Then you can begin to cut wasteful spending from the Congress!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  207. StickMaker

    Easy, Jack. I'd beef up law enforcement, force judges to get tough and I'd toughen sentences on all drug pushers. Drugs is BIG business in your country and I'd take away EVERYTHING a drug pusher has and everything his/her spouse might have. No exceptions. Catch them all and take all they have. That should give Mr. Obama all he needs and more, to cover any deficits. Easy. Lots more easy solutions like it.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  208. Lyn Jenks

    Jack –

    I would do what every single company in America has done – over and over again for years – go to every single department manager in the government and tell them that they have 30 days to deliver 25% in cuts – or the cuts will be made for them. I can't for the life of me figure out why the government is allowed to behave in such an UN- businesslike manner.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  209. Happy in Arizona

    First, I would cut the salaries of Congress. Then I would stop all pork spending. Next, I would cut the salaries of all government jobs but not reduce staff. I would not cut funding for schools or healthcare such as Medicare. I would re-evaluate all on Medicaid and not allow any illegals from receiving care. I would require illegals to pay for services at the time just as Americans are required to pay for services at the time of appointment. Government waste is rediculous and again, no pork spending, reduction in salary and benefits to government workers and Congress.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  210. Metta Spencer

    Cut military spending - especially new weaponry. There's another reason too: military planes, tanks, and ships are the most polluting objects on the planet. We get a double benefit by stopping their production. And there are better ways to protect our security than by readiness to go fight people who don't like us.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  211. carlos

    that's easy, quit funding israel and the idf.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  212. Zack A.

    Simple. I would spread the wealth around. The top 1% of this country is wealthier than the bottom 50% combined.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  213. Cleo

    Well, they could start with the Congress not taking a pay raise.

    Then they could start with not paying for $300 hammers and $500 toilet seats.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  214. Brian Ford II

    We as Americans and the world for that matter cant afford to cut defense out of our budget. we can only afford to cut the money wasting projects. we must cut funding from within our social programs and basically rewire our whole government spending from the basics..... this recession will last for time thats not something we can deny but for the long term lets make it better for generations not just this generations......

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  215. Adrian, in IL

    Want to solve a few problems at once? Cut military funding, stop aid to Israel, redirect it to fixing education and healthcare, and watch as the economy turns around and the world is a safer place as the US military-industrial complex leaves Washington and the Middle East becomes safer when Israel stops its aggression in Gaza. The point isn't to make everyone happy, it's to get things done.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  216. Steve

    Start with a Congressional paycut, a big one, and also make them vote for their raises like they used to. No more of this automatic raises and having them need to opt out of their raises.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  217. Patrick

    As a Canadian, I'm surprised that America isn't talking about massive defense cuts. You spend more than 50% of the world's defense budget, despite the fact that there are no real super-powers to threaten you. This isn't the cold war, America, you don't have to put lasers on 747s to keep yourselves from annihilation

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  218. Jake, Oregon

    A universal healthcare plan, (single payer) NOT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE as insurance and drug companies and other opponents like to label it. Another fix would be getting millions of people back to work in the private sector and positively participating in the system. And, if so called civil servants are hired for life...than change the damn rules. They don't seem to have a problem removing rules regulating big business like banks and insurance companies.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  219. wilma puich

    I'd like to suggest that we get rid of the current Congress, all of whom are largely responsible for the mess, but since that is impossible I can only suggest that we quit funding golf courses, and other such pet projects for the next four years. Maybe then they won't get re-elected again by doing this but maybe that is what it will take to get rid of them as well as the mess??

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  220. marlene

    most of the people in office are independantly wealthy and recieve huge 6 figure salaries. Maybe all of them could take a pay cut? I'd vote for a candidate that offered to take $1 for 2009.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  221. garth

    Listening to the term "Lobbyist feeding frenzy" earlier in the broadcast day, it occurs to me that one positive step, from a canuck bystander's point of view, would be to outlaw lobbying, and put some teeth in the penalty for engaging in, or with them. That'll just drive it underground, but may buy the time now to get a few things done minus the pressure from special interests.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  222. Jim Roushey

    How 'bout if we get out of Iraq by . . . let's see, January 21. How much a month will that save? Lets bring defense a bit closer to home like defending our boarders.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  223. Ron Williams

    Dear Jack,

    Obama should hire 30,000 people to investigate and eliminate the fraud in the disability program in this country. I know several people on it, that should not have it, they work side jobs for cash and end up making more than I do. Millions of people that have not paid a dime in, but are drawing yours and mine out.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  224. Joan

    Why not make Iraq pay for US troops since they can't get their act together ?


    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  225. Peter, Pittsburgh,PA

    Peace is cheaper than war. I would immediately move all our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out and just think how much money could we save.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  226. Bob Giramma

    The easiest way to cut federal spending is by following the US Constitution as written. Article 1, Section 8, enumerates specific powers of Congress. Most of what the federal government does is not compliant with those established constitutional provisions. Look at your favorite federal program and see if it's constitutionally authorized. The relevant portion of the Constituion is very short, perhaps half a page. It's easy. Try it.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  227. Julie-Sioux City, IA

    Easy! Start with the GSA and their $200 toilet seats! They sell them at WalMart for $19.95. I know, it's my thrown. GSA overspends on everything.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  228. Kevin Vendetti

    We should have voted for Ron Paul. That was the only way to cut the federal deficit. Now we all should prepare ourselves for run away inflation.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  229. Mike Wallace

    How about half as many Federal, State and Local government "workers" working twice as hard? The mediocrity I see is overhwelming. And, I can't figure out why we brought in a million new citizens from abroad in the last year while we lost some million and a half jobs. Common sense: An endangered species in Washington, DC.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |

    End the Iraq war and let them pay to rebuild their own country. Cut Bush/Cheny pay and health insurance for involving us in a war that should never have happened. Take away bodyguards from all previous presidents and wives.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  231. Brandon-CA

    How much are we pumping into the war on drugs? spending more on Marijuana eradication than feeding our population. I understand we have to protect our people from harming themselves, but shouldn't they be fed first?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  232. Jay in Texas

    Take the cleaver to the bloated defense budget ! Bring our military home from the two illegal, undeclared wars they are fighting in and stop paying mercenaries like Blackwater to do their dirty work. These would be great places to start. Stop sending handouts of billions of dollars to Israel every year and demand that they stop killing innocent women and children on a massive scale or we will take them to the woodshed. Begin dismantling our huge nuclear arsenal and stop building nuclear weapons. Stop funding the unconstitutional "internal spying" programs that are designed to eavesdrop on every American and are gross violations of our Constitution. Repeal the Patriot Act ! Stop funding the military/industrial complex by starting wars around the globe so they can make trillions. It is much cheaper and effective to promote and negotiate peace than it is to make war.
    Brownwood, Texas

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  233. Chuck Kase

    The time has come to means test Social Security, and to let coming generations that the time to save is now, as the government will not be there if you drop this fundamental individual responsibility.

    We also need to take a broad look at the services we provide to everyone, but with an especially critical eye towards those in the country illegally. Don't deport, but don't support either.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  234. ann burke

    Medicare is ripe for the picking, doctors and hospitals know this. It begs to be ripped off. As a Nurse Practitioner, I see blatant fraud and abuse daily. Billions could be saved yearly, but I know the powerful AMA would be right there protesting, using their usual scare tactics. What a shame,

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  235. Justin Kolpak

    86 the contracts to companies like Blackwater and Haliburton. Those are the guys that stole from us in the first place.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  236. Steven


    Stop spending billions in foreign aid. When is the last time you lent someone money when you were broke yourself?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  237. David - Atlanta

    Jack's right about the largest drains on our spending. It only takes one look at the actual budget to know that. So, let's start with defense. Bring all the boys and girls home. Then, actually practice DEFENSE! We have borders, defend them. Hey, wait! That means, we don't really need thousands of people on border patrol, anymore. Sorry, those jobs are lost, but tough times call for tough measures. As for entitlements, they just will have to be cut. Keep our promises to the older generations who are already living on those fixed incomes, but the future is out of luck. Tough times. Anything else that the government is spending money on that isn't absolutely essential – slash it!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  238. Dee Lacey


    I would start by getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service. I am sure they cost a ton and have been a pain in my B&^T for years!


    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  239. Brennan in Portland, Oregon

    Two things: means testing and raising the level of income that is taxed for social security. If the titans of Wall Street paid social security taxes on even a quarter of their income, social security would be funded for years to come. Means testing would ensure that both Medicare and Social Security remained solvent. Won't happen but it would sure be nice if the wealthiest among us were a bit more concerned about the least among us!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  240. Peter, Pittsburgh,PA

    Oh, of course I would cut all military help to Israel. Immediately!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  241. Susan

    Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be paid to the wealthy. Nationalize our health care system. Provide preventative and basic health care for every person in the country. Tax the heck out of cigarettes. Require schools to provide exercise and nutrition classes for all students. Stop war spending.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  242. vince

    To limit future SSA liabilities, possibility of offering a lump sum pay out at retirement points (62, 65, 66, 67 &70) in place of monthly payments like some pensions and annuities? Just an off the wall thought.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  243. Mary Gaborik

    Jack, I am a retired civil servant and after working at a major Army hq for 25 years I can tell you one place to cut government spending. One example, if military installations spend 99.99% of their annual budget they get an atta boy. Penalized if they don't make 99.9% which means money is used to buy frivulous and unneeded supplies and equipment rather than turn money back and get penalized. Reward the installation commander who turns unused/unneeded money back to the government.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  244. Jennifer Stace

    I would cut back military spending... overseas and in the States... But I'd be sure to keep a strong military to protect us.... but all those Halburton's and government contracts except for academic spending and schools over seas... I'd cut way back, embassies etc... Over seas education protects the United States... Jennifer Stace

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  245. a.d.

    It's easy Jack. Give every U.S. citizen $10-$20 million dollars out of the TARP once. Include American born children of the undocumented laborers and documented workers. No more poverty, no more entitlements. Just costs $7 billion.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  246. daniel

    Jack how about ending the war in iraq and making the iraqui government pay for its country's security and reconstruction. It is well known that they have 70 billion dollars in swiss banks.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  247. Roger Zoeller

    Have All Americans buy OBAMA Presidential memorabila its all made in China anyway.... GOD BLESS THE GOOD OLD U.S.A

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  248. skippy56

    I would first address money paid to foreign governments. why do we provide entitlement programs to take care of the world, when we have our own to care for? Secondly, I would address the need for other world leaders to take part in the various conflicts – you don't see Russia or China sending their troops to stand into those fighting!
    Lastly, I would address how our medicare and Social Security system operates – Seeing I can buy supplies cheaper overseas, there is a problem here; as well as many receiving SSI can be retrained and put back to gainful employment!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  249. Paul

    Combine the Mine Safety and Health Admisistration (MSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into one agency within the Department of Labor. At times one agency is unable to inpect workplaces due to legal language and jusisdiction concerns inspectors are at times making unnecessary trips and wasting taxpayer money. The issues that both agencies work around need to be revised and updated to accomodate the moderen workplaces and protect the nations workers.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  250. Alan, Buxton Maine

    We might think about halting the insane, immoral and illegal war in Iraq to start with. Then examine every government program in existence and trash every one that is not accomplishing useful goals. That might leave two or three that deserve to be funded and would save many billions if not trillions of dollars.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  251. Gus in Northern Minnesota

    A good way to cut a few billion dollars out of the federal budget is to close down a handful of the thousands of standing nuclear missile sites. We have enough to kill everything on the planet several times over.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  252. Lesley ABQ, NM

    Revamp the SSI Division and get rid of the IRS.....and taxes!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  253. Dan


    Why doesn't president elect Obama bring all the troops home from the 130 countries that we have them in? I do not believe we still have to guard the South Korean border 60 years after the war. This Empire is broke. I have a bad feeling I better brush up on my Chinese.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  254. Art in Virginia

    Cutting federal spending shouldn't be all that tough. Just take a real close look at what George Bush has done over the past eight years and do the opposite.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  255. Tony Fennen

    How would I cut government spending?

    First of all... POLITICIANS SALARIES!!!
    If Politicians made minimum wage they might be able to understand what the rest of America is going through

    How much did this war cost? enough said on that one.

    Instead of bailing automakers make EXXON MOBILE bail them out. After all the oil industry needs the auto industry.

    Americans are not stupid. Stop trying to use language that SOUNDS OFFICIAL and say whats really happening. This is the 2nd GREAT DEPRESSION....
    how did we get out of the last one? END PROHIBITION. DE-CRIMINALIZE Marijuana and we will have our cash crop and a happier nation

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  256. Christian

    How about holding not only the federal officials but federal employees accountable for their work. Have you ever tried calling the federal Govt.???
    Treat federal employees the same way my peers and I have been treated in the commercial world.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  257. Jim Handy

    I just watched Obama's speech and I heard a lot about unnecessary spending and responsibility. This sounds great, but is Obama and the congress going to set the example and lead the way in these areas. Does mean that the taxpayers are not going to have to buy new drapes for the Oval Office because the ones in there now are just fine? Does this mean the taxpayers won't have to buy new carpet for the Oval Office because the carpet in there now is just fine?, even Bill Clinton said so yesterday. Does this mean that the taxpayers won't have to buy Obama a new desk because the desk Bush is using is just fine? I heard yesterday that the Obama's were staying at a LUXURY hotel in D.C. If the taxpayers are paying for this, does this mean that he will either move his family to a more reasonably priced hotel, or that he will make up the difference in cost out his pocket?Does this mean that the congressional raise due this month will be rescinded and congressional
    salaries be brought more on line with those of us who are paying their salaries? Does this mean that the presidential, vice presidential, and congressional retirement packages and benefits will be re-structured so they are more reasonable? Does this mean we will stop paying retirement checks to convicted criminals from congress?Does this mean that ALL of our politicians will start traveling cheaper, staying in less expensive accommodations, and eating cheaper meals when the taxpayer is footing the bill? There are so many ways to cut money from our budget that are right in front of there noses if they just open their eyes and start acting responsibly.It is unusual but at the same time refreshing to hear a democrat talk about RESPONSIBILITY, now he just needs to back up his words. I guarantee you that somewhere in Los Angeles, where I live, that somewhere this evening, there is a man who lost his job and has hit the end of his rope. This is a man who has
    worked and paid taxes his whole life and now has nothing to show for it. Is Obama willing to come to L.A and look that man in the face, and tell him that the reason he has to sleep on the sidewalk tonight is that the tax money he paid in is needed to by new carpet for the Oval Office? Actions speak louder than words. All of our leaders need to wake up and get their priorities straight. They need to start realizing that the positions they hold are about the people who elected them, not themselves.

    Jim Handy

    Inglewood, Ca.


    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  258. beth

    I would trim the budget by cutting foreign aid. I believe America has come to a point that we can no longer afford to do this. WE need aid! The money used from cutting foreign aid could be used to start the public works or universal health care. i would also make VERY public any and all requests for pork. The voters need to know who is asking for this and why.
    I would make sure that each person that is paid by the federal government that has a job that is useful, valid and needed. Make people justify their jobs. What do they do? Why is it important. Because right now it seems like pretty much the whole congress spends most of their time "debating" and campaigning.

    Thanks from Texas,
    Libertarian Party

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  259. Rothe Cox in Texas

    Jack: Nobody has mentioned cutting back on foreign aid. Say, cut everyone, across the board, 10-20-30%, or more. Bet you could save a bundle.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  260. David Millman

    I found out on the history channel that Andrew Jackson was the only president to pay off the federal deficit in history..............he did it by selling federal lands. Maybe we should start selling national parks.........

    Also, if we gave homeowners TWICE the tax benefit for buying a foreclosured house, we would clear the inventory of houses much faster and home sales would begin to go up................apply that to American cars ( only American ) and you would clear that glut too.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  261. Lynda

    I think the best way our nation could cut spending is to have our leaders in government be the example to follow, not that they have been a great example thus far!
    I suggest all government employees give up their pensions and all the freebies that the American public is paying for! After all, by the time I get to collect social security, I'm told there probably won't be any. What options do I have, or those like ,me who actually work for a living unlike our Congress! If government employees had to give up something that cost them something, they would have a paradym shift in thinking. They are, after all, spending OUR money!

    Amherst, Virginia

    January 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  262. Liberal Percy

    Stop the stupid, damned war! Cut DOD 30%.
    Stop Bush's stupid tax cuts for the wealthy – who don't need it regardless of the economy.
    Eliminate the income cap on payroll taxes for Social Security.
    Single-payer health plan (that would solve the Medicare/Medicaid problem).
    Eliminate all those Big Business tax breaks – particularily the one that lets fund managers get away with falsely calling their $Billions in income, "Capital gains".
    In other words – stop letting the wealthy accumulate more and more wealth and return to policies that allow the middle class to grow.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  263. Jan Daugherty

    I know exactly where to start in cutting the expenses. Cut the congressmen and senator's salary - also their ability to continue voting themselves raises and put them on a budget for their perks. That would give our legislators a reason to conserve.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  264. DALE

    We are losing the war on drugs-put that money into education where we really need it, expecially Texas,(see Pres Bush)

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  265. Wally

    Hello Jack:
    The burden of deficit payment always falls on the backs of the middle class. It is about time that the Congressional and Government(Federal and State) Workers start taking on some of the responsiblilty of paying "their fair share".
    Double and tripple dipping through lucrative and exhorbident retirement and pension funds should be trimmed to be more in line with the average middle class worker.
    Apparently, this noone wants to discuss this issue as it is the "third rail" like Medicare and Social Security.
    This issue is a huge cost overrun that must be put on the table!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  266. Chloe

    Here's a big idea on federal spending, the war? We're spending billions of dollars there every month, maybe if that was cut out we'd be saving money to help pay off this huge dept!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  267. Wes Neilly

    Without trying to be sarcastic.. how much is spent on the Iraq war per
    day, week, month, year ?? Though not an American, I feel that the
    USA is in a war that it will never win.. Thusly, to continue pouring
    capital into such a venture while USA is dropping further and further
    into a Recession that very well could become a Depression, appears
    quite unfounded.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  268. Brotha Perry

    since our country is so broke.. why is it that nobody talks about the money other countries owe the U.S. why cant we collect the money they owe us. or forclose on them.. the banks do it to us, we wouldnt need all these bailouts... if the U.S. would collect on our hand outs...

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  269. Joe from Oklahoma City

    I'd start out by firing the IRS!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  270. Myles

    Obama sure has his hands full (not with cash, but rather with problems).

    Here are some ideas:

    Sell the White House Art Collection (valued at over a hundred million dollars).

    Use paper plates rather than risking a chip in the $500,000 flatware.

    Or, the country could exploit the new oil findings in the Dakotas, thus taking a page out of America's favorite under-fifty Grandmother.

    We'll have to find a new catchphrase though because "Drill Baby, Drill!" has been copyrited, and we can't afford to pay an attorney for court fees

    Myles from Rochester, NY

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  271. Bill, Miami, FL


    It's not hard to find places to cut, but it's been impossible to get it done. There is incredible waste in the Defense budget which could probably contribute $100 billion or more a year in cuts. Good luck trying to make that happen though.
    The waste is Medicare could be reduced by getting rid of crooked doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Again, good luck.

    One difference... Obama will try, Bush never did.


    Miami, FL

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  272. Lisa

    SSI gone, Free $ to get preg. gone, prison luxuries. GONE Free rides to crack town via ambulance, Gone, Free housing for illegals, drunks, never worked a day in your life? nothing for you. GET a JOB U BUMS. And if u got sick for being a drunk or druggy to bad .GONE

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  273. Burgess

    As a military officer I firmly believe that oversight committees for government employees, military and civil servants with financial trend analyzers who can determine the areas in which our government is wasting taxpayers money. In my job alone I see astronomical amounts of money go towards absolutely useless items, and projects. I am all for military/government spending, however it must be done while properly exercising due diligence and appropriation of money for much needed programs and goods.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  274. Carla

    Mr. Obama should cut farm subsidies to people who have redeveloped their land and no longer use it for farming.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  275. Salim

    I would eliminate the 3 BILLION dollars in funding we provide to Israel every year. I believe we are funding true terrorist that inflict pain and horror towards innocent woman and children in the Gaza Strip. Israel is considered an allie to the U.S, I ask this question- what have they done to aid us in the war against terrorism?!? We fund money that allows them to murder people, destroying our public image in the eyes of the world, and creating more hatred towards Americans

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  276. Ryan

    Number one, take congressional control of the nations money by revoking the federal reserves ability to charge interest on money printed by the treasury and used by the congress. The very idea of a gov't allowing a PRIVATE bank to control the money of a democratic-republic is absurd. Not having to pay the usury would free up a nice chunk of money for the fed govt.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  277. Bill Novatny (South Carolina)

    Postal Servce – Why on earth do we need mail delivered 6 days/week? Why not every other day thus saving fuel and a myriad of other costs. I'm certain I can wait until the "next day" to receive my various catalogs and credit card offers.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  278. Michael

    As others have suggested, make all spending transparent. Cut all pork from every new bill and even take a look at past bills for improperly cooked pork!! It's sad to see great ideas and time put into good bills for the general public, and have elected 'Americans' add pork to the bill that say only, "buy my vote".

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  279. J.D.Benson

    We have to spend money but we have to reorganize what we spend the money on. Take all the funds currently dedicated by the government to health care–V.A., Medicare, etc–and put that allocation in with additional money and create single payer health care. Every citizen with health care, cradle to grave. If that isn't better than the proposed $500 a year tax cut for each adult tax payer and the small business tax cut Obama proposes now, I don't know what is. Besides health care for all, we have to spend money on infrastructure-fix bridges, repave roads and underground electric and telephone lines-with federal dollars. We can have a strong military and cut back on the funding by going line-by-line in the military budget and doing "lasar surgery" on it. We can cut back by greening our government properties. We can, with great care, make some extraordinary cuts in the overall budget even while we spend in these areas. Short term "ouch", long term sustainability.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  280. Sue in Charleston, S.C.

    First, Jack, we need to stop parking Social Security checks in the mailboxes along the Mexico border. If you're not living here, and paying taxes here then you don't get our money. Let's repeal whatever insane law that saysthe babies of illegal immigrants born on American soil are instantly entitled to American money and services – especially after they're deported. Secondly, lets teach the government what it's like to live the life of the majority of American people – no more lifelong salaries and no secret service protection for life – You can't, in all fairness, get rid of golden parachutes for executives as long as we're blithely handing it over to idiots like some of our retiring leaders... and I won't mention George Bush and Dick Cheney's names.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  281. John Girardeau

    End the insane "War on Drugs"!!! Legalize, regulate, medicate and tax all "recreational" drugs such as marijuana the same way we currently do alcohol and tobacco!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  282. Cindy

    One governmental wasteful spending is in medicare funded health apparatus. My mother receives a wheelchair that rents for $200.00 per month. She has 4 diabetic testing machines she got for free (I'm sure medicare paid in some way) and an oxygen tank renting for several hundred a month. Even scooters are overpriced.(Go to a scooter store and they are blatent about the money they get) The companies providing these are milking the government and push these items on the TV. Times this expense that by all the elderly using them and that's millions. It should be a central location where people use them and return them without all the middlemen.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  283. Janice Sewell

    Hi Jack, I am a first time user here but I can suggest how to save government money. I AM 72 YEARS OLD AND JUST KNOW THEY WILL PROBABLY UP OUR MEDICARE COSTS BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT i HAVE TO SAY. nO ONE CAN TELL ME THAT THOSE FAT CATS IN ALL THOSE GOVERNMENT JOBS NEED TO BE PAID WHAT THEY ARE PAID. tHEYGET MORE PERKS THAN COFFEE AND STILL KEEP LIVING HIGH ON THE HOG. jUST LIKE ALL THOSE BAILOUTS, LOOK AT THE UPPER SNOOTERS, i MEAN MANAGEMENT. Having a little prob with my cap button, I am not hollering!! A sincere voter who knows how to pinch pennies to pay for meds and health care. Best to you and Happy New Year.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  284. Joe Giustra

    Look at Medicare and Social Security? How about Iraq and Afghanistan? As long as we are wasting our wealth in those two cesspools, how dare anyone even compare helping the aged and the sick with these needless, corrupt wars? Leave these two oil -driven wars (like Iraq oilwells and the pipeline in Afghanistan), then we can look at Medicare and Social Security. While we're at it, what about shutting down some, if not most of the 800 military bases we have around the world to protect "our" oil interests. Until then, shut up about the aged, until we're ready to exterminate them.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  285. mark giddings

    I could help the defense dept save millions by manufacturing parts they they need. They have tons of surplus machinery sitting in warehouses everywhere. We could train young men and women to become "machinists" (a word from the past) to produce much needed supplys at a fraction of the cost of what defense contractors charge the government now. I know this because I taught machine shop classes for the University of Maryland for many years . Who can help me cut through the red tape and get started?

    Mark Giddings
    Myrtle beach, S.C.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  286. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    I think that it's too late. Our disgraceful entry into Iraq and the trillion dollars it will waste by the time we depart, if ever, will haunt this country as did the war in Viet-Nam. George Bush has done more harm to this country that any talk of saving money is a mute point.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  287. Jesse Jr

    Seems our politicians lack good common sense. We have a tremendous outflow of money funding one war after another. Even the dumbest of us could figure out we are depleting our own country's finances and resources fighting other people's wars. Who made us world cops?

    Jesse Jr.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  288. Emil

    Jack, there are a few alternatives is to cut federal spending. First, we need to cut down on congressional earmarks and pork barrel projects. These methods of wasteful spending have contributed to the current economic crisis. Another alternative is to say no to these stimulus packages. The $700 Billion bailout was speculated to fix the economic problems. But look were we are now, in need of another economic package.

    Holtsville, NY.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  289. Bryce From Dallas

    Toss the UN out of America and let some other country pay their bills. Start charging the countries we protect. Most of all get rid of programs that don't work, end the war in Iraq. STOP CONGRESS FROM GVING THEMSELVES RAISES! That would save us millions you cant leave the children in control of the cookie jar. Who in their right mind says no to a raise.Eliminate all benefits and healthcare for illegal aliens why should the U.S. foot the bill for people that are here illegally.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  290. Tyler Travitz

    1. Eliminate the wars
    2. Eliminate Income tax, replace with national sales tax.
    3. Cut Defense spending to 75% of current level.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  291. Anthony

    My wife and I are both government contractors for two different agencies and we have come to the same conclusion – The Federal budget could be slashed if they fired most workers and contracted out as much as possible. We do the work of 3 government workers on a typical day (that number shoots up to 6 on Fridays), we HAVE to keep costs low to win contracts (which means no $50 pens and $230K bathrooms), and we have motivation to innovate. I do think there are "govies" who are capable of getting the job done, but they simply lack the drive to do so. Fire em, and if they really want to work, we'll hire them.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  292. dottyjane

    I will immediately close down the DEA and send those people in office jobs over to the FBI who are looking for 1500 employees. What a waste of taxpayer money.

    I would go after the IRS next, but the DEA has got to go.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  293. Gabriel

    As a nation we need to cut the salaries of senators and congressmen. It is unheard, a group of people voting themselves annual raises. Why is it that they get over 100,000 dollars annually plus expenses paid for with our taxes. In the mean time the average american is struggling. Possibly ,if they lonly had the salary an average american they may be more effective and find a solution to the national debt. But until they begin living like the rest of us...how can we expect them to truly understand and find an amicable solution to the problems that face this nation.

    Gabriel from Maine

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  294. Norman Hoffman


    When will you people get it! The place to cut entitlements is to the outrageous salaries, perks and benefits our government workers give themselves. From the small town mayor to the Congress and even the President and the thousands that work for him and his cabinet the tax payer pays the bill. All these so called "civil servants" serve themselves and maybe any leftovers will go to actually paying for infrastructure,tax breaks, or whatever is the government meal of the day.

    Marietta, Ga

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  295. Dane in Gardnerville, NV

    End the war in Iraq, we would save hundreds of millions of dollars a day.
    Do what FDR did and create new jobs, such as jobs related to renewable energy, which will in time stimulate the economy.

    Anything thing the government can do to decrease its spending will add up. And any thing the government can do to decrease its spending while stimulating the economy will do even more.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  296. Steve Mcloyd, Greenville, SC

    Once the United States is out of IRAQ. The money being spent for the war can be put into the Obama stimulus package. We are spending millions of dollars a month because of the IRAQ war.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  297. Lowell Varney

    Jack; If we would let Medicare negociate drug prices we could cut expences in half. Also cancel the Bush tax cuts. Also free up the use of domestic oilfields, have we ever got a drop of oil from Alaska. For years auto companies have known how to get 70 to 100 MPG from cars.
    Lowell .... Ohio

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  298. Geraldine, Wasilla AK

    Our war in Iraq has been funded by deficit spending; so, getting out of Iraq would be a major cut in spending. One can cavel about earmark spending, but bottom line, most of it creates jobs in someone's local district or state. I can think of no program that doesn't include jobs, which in this economy stealing one job from one place to give it to another isn't the answer. I do think Social Security should be "needs based" and applied for based on income and assets, as should Medicare.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  299. Katherine Carmichael

    I would cut spending by removing illegal aliens from welfare, food stamps, Medicade and social security. A needy person should be a US citizen to get benefits. It shouldn't take huge changes to set up an emergency welfare for short term assistance before deportation.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  300. James Alonzo

    I would start with congress. The senate sould shrink to one senator per state. And Congressonal representatives to 4 per state. All Congress pay raises must be approved as a law would signed by the President, or two/thirds of congress. Pull all European assigned US troops out of England, Germany, Italy, and pull troops and close bases in Okinowa. I would elimiate any funding for reconstruction in Iraq. I would order Social Security not to approved any SSI requests for people who are drug addicts. Eliminate Homeland Security department, and let the other departments handle homeland security like they did before. I would eliminate the DEA, and the war on drugs, since we have been loosing this War(?) since this department started. Give line item veto power to the president.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  301. Jackie

    The answer is so easy, it's mind boggling! Start taxing the top 10% income brackets! Many of these people are probably the profiteers of our current collapsed financial markets. I say go after the white collar crooks who have been profiting from the banking and finance industries these past years! Make them pay for it.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  302. Dane in Gardnerville, NV

    End the war in Iraq, we would save hundreds of millions of dollars a day.
    Do what FDR did and create new jobs, such as jobs related to renewable energy, which will in time stimulate the economy.

    Any thing the government can do to decrease its spending will add up. And any thing the government can do to decrease its spending while stimulating the economy will do even more.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  303. Bob Hartley

    Being 66 years old and having had 3 strokes, several heart attacks, a 5 artery bypass, a 4 artery bypass and 3 angioplasties, I am totally dependent on medicare and social security. Any talk about cutting these programs would leave me and millions like me up a creek without a paddle. I worked to age 65 and paid into both of these programs. In my earlier years, I paid income tax rates that were unbelievable. To hell with anyone who would be in favor of now leaving me high and dry by cutting these programs.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  304. M.B.

    Here is a 'da' idea: Cut corners as much as possible.
    A not so obvious example: Get rid of all proprietary computer systems, e.g. Microsoft Windows & Apple's OSX systems, and replace them with the even more capable, open-source and free systems like Linux.
    If NASA & the local school can do it, I think many governmental institutions can.
    If I recall correctly, Microsoft charges $89 per OEM Windows XP copy, multiply this amount by tens of thousands of computers, well, you do the math. Imagine how much can be saved by getting rid of Microsoft office products!
    Open source computing solutions are already established by companies like IBM, Red Hat, Canonical, Sun, and Novell. So why the wait?

    Lawrence KS

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  305. Pamela

    How about starting with the premise that it's our bank account & we're responsible for it? All of us. And that we have to solve the problem together.

    How about asking everybody to donate $10 a month for the next 4 years? And asking those who can afford it to donate more?

    How about reviewing & rewriting the tax code so it makes sense?And how about allowing everyone to earmark 25% of their money to a category of their choice? We all know that power is attached to the pursestrings.

    How about anyone with more than 2 commas in their bank accounts step up to the plate? I know, I know – it's revolutionary but hey, what the heck.

    Thanks for listening.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  306. Ryan

    Charge a fee for any third party person seeking congressional acess. If special interest groups are willing to paying 10's of thousands of dollars to hire poeple to lobby congress, a small fee would stop them, but at least the poeple will get something out of the arrangement.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  307. Dave Pushard

    As we all now, employees are the biggest expense in business.
    Regan fired the air traffic controllers, I can't believe the government can't , in a emergency, cut back on employees. As much bloat there is, we could probably the debt off.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  308. Tyson

    Let's decriminalize marijuana. Just think of all the federal spending that goes into tracking marijuana, and incarcerating the millions of harmless citizens that use it. Think of all the jobs that could be created with cannabis law reform.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  309. Jim

    I think we need to cut spending in foriegn aid, its time to fix this country and let governments of other countries fend for themselves!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  310. Steven DiStefano

    To cut federal spending, Obama should put a wage freeze on all federal employees on his first day in office. Also if the Congress truly works for its people, there should put a hold on automatic COLA increases until this economic crisis is over. How about raises based on merit-now thats a novel idea.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  311. S.P.

    In your comments on TV you relfected on the amount spent on Medicare and Social Security. Stating these were the areas that spend the most.

    To reduce the deficit in the budget a fine tooth comb should be applied to FRAUD. Medicare, Medicade, Social Security fraud is rampant and billions are given to those who are 'milking' the system.

    Do not take from those who truly need these benefits and services. However, I have seen first-hand the fraud at point of service locations, ie, hospitals, doctors offices, pharmacies, transportation, etc... This is not where the fraud needs to be addressed......it's not the providers who give the benefits....it's the government.

    When you have someone providing fraudulent information to obtain benefits.....it's stealing and costs our government billions of dollars that would be better directed to deserving programs and individuals.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  312. N. Manetavat

    Fed. spendings has been made Americans rich. In 1985 we had 13 billionaires but now we have over 1000. Where did the money come from? It came from Gov't spendings. We did not have trade surplus which where the money comes from. Look at Japan and China, they have trade surplus and they are rich. When the Gov't spends money, money goes into American pockets. Since President Bush took the office we have more new billionaires and millonaires but the Gov't is in debts. America has good credit, she can borrow or print the money as you please.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  313. Elizabeth

    I would make congress work for free. After all they don't do much except blow around a lot of hot air. If it were you or I we would have been fired long ago. Let them put their money where there mouth is.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  314. adam king

    It's as simple as working backwards, just look at how we lost the trillion dollars in the first place and do the opposite. Get out of Iraq, tax the rich, and make pork-barrel spending illegal!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  315. Jim Shook

    Lay off half of Congress and their entire staff. Let them feel the pain too. Saves huge money and eliminates half of the bull

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  316. djkaeck

    Entitlements? This term has become a pejorative. Please stop lumping healthcare with Social Security benefits. Those of us who dutifully contributed for 40-50 years deserve a modicmum of respect and consideration. It was not our doing that the Feds have raided that TRUST fund, note the somewhat different connotation, as well as denotation. Leave the darn thing alone, please! Bring out troops home from Europe. Prioritize our involvements internationally. Stop policing the world. Cutback foreign aid-we owe "ours" first. TSmart bombs for crazy Israelis? No more! Take the next step with medicine; control it! Adopt "catastrophic" health insurance and mandate health coverage as we do for automobile coverage. Cap medical malpractice payouts. Close the Dept. of Education-let states deal with the funding and the directives. I could go on but I think I've offended sufficiently for one day. An angry old guy.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  317. R. Campos

    That's REAL simple. First, you cut the Department of Homeland Security, completely, because we already know that the only real terrorists are here, in our government, at the tops of corporations, at the top of the banking industry, and fully in charge of the military-industrial complex. You eliminate that program and concentrate on tackling the real terrorists that are terrorizing our citizens into giving up their constitutional rights via laws such as the Patriot Act which has NOTHING to do with patriotism. Then, you ABOLISH the Federal Reserve, which I might add is NOT Federal but privately owned, and you reinstate the ability of the U.S. Treasury to coin it's own money and put the Central banks out on their keesters. Lastly, you get rid of the ridiculous two party system in this country. Until we move forward as one, united group, very little at all will be accomplished and the powers-that-be will remain in complete control. These problems have to be addressed or nothing else will matter and these same groups will continue to make money hand over fist at the expense of hard working Americans.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  318. alexander Vastano

    We presently have military personal in 130 countries across the globe,
    which costs us about 2 trillion dollars a year .It would certainly help the budget to cut down drastically in this area. Lets stop trying to control the world.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  319. noni

    Jack , My first cut would be illegal immagration we , just can't afford them anymore. I guess we, will have to get off our lazy butts, and finally take those jobs Americans wouldn't do. Now that gas is cheap , we could all car pool to the boarder, I'll take my five . their's thousands of them , and guess what their out in the open.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  320. Ron San Antonio

    Nothing simple about this one Jack. We're basically Toast, We're done! To think that we could get the Congress and Senate to agree on anything is foolish! There is to much greed and power mongering and we are responsible for not holding the accountable!

    That being said, first we have to undo everything Bush did Is there any question but we have to leave Iraq NOW! Hell, We don't have Democracy here. There is no sense at all staying in Iraq one more day! Second, Charge them for the trouble!

    Third, Congress and the Senate don't get a cent in pay until they agree on a plan!

    Forth, Kick the foreigners out and demand electric cheap cars from Detroit!. Oil has to go the way of the dinosaur !

    Fifth, Pork is dead, if states can't make it on their own, to bad, they are as bad as the Feds when it comes to corrupt spending!

    That's only a start but it has to start there or we're seriously DONE!

    Obama can't fix STUPID, GREED, POWER LUST, or Religious fanatics and on top of everything else we are in prime condition for attack! Carl Marx was right, we ,will be undone from within!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  321. George Diak

    Well Jack, I think we should do it like Corporate America does it, get rid of all the high priced Congressman and Senators and replace them with people who have the country first attitude. The hell with experience, they couldn't do any worse than what we currently have.

    George in Illinois

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  322. Jim

    How pathatic, we the wealthiest country in the world reduced to cutting social services just to survive. How about ending 3 unwinnable wars, Supporting the world , including Isrial, Reining in the military outsoueced complex and bring tax generating jobs back for the working man instead of Chinese labor which only enriches the ownership class. That may help solve this mess.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  323. Tim

    With the stimulus package, come up with a set of criteria to judge how much 'bang for the buck' the proposed projects will create. Allow no proposals that don't meet a certain ranking. Put them all on-line with projected number of jobs created, etc. If the proposals don't meet the expected ranking, no more money for those who made the proposals.
    Tim in Texas

    January 8, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  324. Emilie

    First and foremost we now have a statesman leading our country. Someone we haven't had in a long time. Begin with each department, each procuring department, and each government program such as SSI and remove the catch-all funds. We have borrowed from Social Security for years and we need to stop that and begin a repayment plan. The contractors that have been hired to do government work need to be gone through with a fine- tooth comb and deleted from the budget immediately. Just the above would get competent people working and it's high time we all rolled up our sleeves and help our government and the new president out. Remember, we the people are the government.....lest we forget.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  325. Robert, Vancouver Canada

    Firstly, get the country out of the war in Iraq within 3 to 6 months period. The war profitteers (the Vice-President and such) have made enough money!

    Secondly, send the country of Iraq a bill for the reparation of money spend in the repatriation of their land. Take it out in free oil for the next number of years.

    Thirdly, cut deep into the bureaucracy and trim the fat! Even if some have to be let go or fired!

    Fourthly, get rid of the "pork" from favourite House and Senate pet projects and eliminate them for good!

    This is a start, I want to leave some for the new Administration.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  326. Kyle - Nantucket

    Technological streamline, do we really need all the foreign embassies and government workers overseas? Sell the properties, fire the people and have one person on the internet keep an eye on the world for us?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  327. hugh ~ tracy, california

    The billboard in Times Square once read that the Iraq War costs (US taxpayers) $177M per day, $7.4M per hour and $122,820 per minute. A newer study claims the war is costing us even more–$12 Billion a month! Jack, I was never too keen in mathematics, but saving $144 Billion a year by ending the war in Iraq is a great place to begin.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  328. Martha

    Oh, maybe some form of national labor laws? The number of working poor is like never been seen or could have been imagined. This alone is breaking the nation. Wages need to at least keep pace with inflation. My husband has not had a raise in 3 years. These places need to be forced into paying enough to live on. All earned income keeping pace with the rate of inflation. The government is picking up all of the cost of people not being able to live. Nobody has any disposable income and the government programs are being overwhelmed.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  329. Dale Wuestenhagen (Wisconsin)

    I would first freeze the congresses pay raise.
    I would also do what the private sector does when times are tough, go to a 32 hour work week. If we have to tighten our belts why can't most government jobs do the same.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  330. Eugene

    We need to cut ilegal war spending . Thats what started the downfall in this country, The billions we save would put a lot of people to work in this country. The military industrial complex is out of hand. Gene, From Butler, PA.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  331. bobby in florida

    Both Congress and the Senate should take a big cut in pay and pay for their health care; just like us. Also it is a shame that Bush is leaving the office and will collect a pension every year and knowing in his heart and soul he caused 3/4 of this dam mess.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  332. Yvonne - Indiana

    If our government would have protected the jobs of the American workers the past 27 years, (Republicans in power), they would be paying taxes and we would not owe as much.

    If Bush had not went cowboy into Iraq, we not have the deep debt.

    If Republicans not push for Millionaire great tax breaks, they would be paying "their fair share" of taxes. They pay less by all the advantages they get.

    I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  333. K. Edens

    1) Cut congress pay raise...oops, They will get the automatic increase for 2009 without legislation to block it.

    2) President and VP lead by example as CEO and COO, and take a 1year, $1.00 salary.

    3) The economy is as lean as it can get, cut all the pork.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  334. Darlene Piekarski-Alaska

    The first place I would start cutting Federal spending would be with the outrageous salaries, pensions and benefits paid to Congress ! If they had to exist on Social Security like most people after they retire they'd be more in tune with the comman person. I like how "we have to cut corners & programs" always seems to come down to cutting corners of the workers first, as in the auto industry. How about starting at the top for once?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  335. Rich Hardman

    Private industry lays off employees when money get tight. Why not the federal government? Lets start with house and senate. We could cut both sides of congress. Just think of all the offices, office staff and travel expenses. Just think we would not have to worry about seating Roland Burris.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  336. erttha

    I would ask that they start by getting rid of or down sizing, EEO (equal employment oportunity) what a waste of tax payer money just ask some govenment workers.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  337. Debbie

    Cut out some of the ignaugural celebrations – show the country he's about business, not wasting money. Why a new limo? Why should Congress get a retirement annuity until they serve the time like regular fed employees. Why should the spouses get retirement annuities? They aren't Govt employees. Do away with all shameful benefits for the Congress & the President & V-Pres. If they want something, let them pay for it like every day people.
    Change the law so that the US GOVT doesn't pay for research to develop a new item. If the company wants the business, they'll pay for the research (no more $400.00 toilet seats). Do away with requirement to buy from minorities and go with the best deal.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  338. Dane in Gardnerville, NV

    End the war in Iraq, we would save hundreds of millions of dollars a day.
    Do what FDR did and create new jobs, such as jobs related to renewable energy, which will in time stimulate the economy.
    And stop giving money or considering giving money we don't have to banks and car companies.

    Any thing the government can do to decrease its spending will add up. And any thing the government can do to decrease its spending while stimulating the economy will do even more.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  339. Ron

    I have been a contractor working for the VA system for about a year. There is a bunch of fat that can be cut, but it won't be easy. I have seen 100's of people in the last year that make 60+ thousand a year that do absolutely nothing each day. Government jobs are so secured by the unions that it is almost impossible for the government to get rid of it's dead weight. It is good that government employees are secure in their jobs but not to the point that they draw a paycheck for doing nothing. I have also seen new people come in that have ideas to streamline efficiency and get condemned for trying to do so.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  340. Elena from Oakland, California

    Stop all wars now – cut major spending. And pour the money into our economy instead – our country will be prospering again within a year!


    January 8, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  341. Kurt

    A good place to start- cut the pay of Congress, The President, and Senate. Raise the amount they have to pay for health insurance. Let them feel our pain.


    St. Charles, IA

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  342. James

    I think the most sensable way of cutting the federal budget is a complete overhaul and audit of all federal departments, since its these departments that are for the most part, not including pork barrel spending that are the biggest recipiants of federal funds.
    Cutting out wasteful fiscal policies and programs by these departments, defense, and state among the more wastful entities, could save the federal government billions per year.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  343. David in Fort Worth

    Hey Jack,

    How about the legalization of marrijuana how much money does the government spend on this non-violent crime? Leagalize the use and sell of the plant, and then the gov., can tax the use and sell and the growing of this plant. I know it sounds crazy, but it is said to be California 's #1 cash crop. Gambeling was illegal now states have the lottery, alcohol was illegel now what kind of money does that bring in. It 's time to catch up with the times, and find new sources of income.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  344. Tommie in Alabama

    We should cut out all entitlement programs for immigrants. They are draining our Social Security fund as well as health care programs, food stamps and housing assistance. Our country should stop being known for its "free handouts" to immigrants.

    Secondly, Nancy Pelosi needs to go home. She is not doing anything but hurting the American people.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  345. Rich Hardman

    The the federal government put a 3-4% sales tax on all internet sale.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  346. Fred

    Social Security: No one wants to talk about the TRILLIONS of Social Security money that the US Government has spent since Eisenhouer passed a law in 1960 allowing this money to be put in the General Fund and spent as Government income! If there are 20 pallets of $10,000 bills (US) and it has a Social Security tag on it, IT MUST BE SPENT AS SOCIAL SECUITY!! 'Ol Phred

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  347. Ike

    I would reduce the federal budget deficet by elininating social security for those who earn more that $100,000.00 a year and medicare for those who earn mre that $150,000.00. How much do you need if the kids are out.

    Plainview N. Y.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  348. Adam King from Santa Cruz, California

    It’s as simple as working backwards, just look at how we lost the trillion dollars in the first place and do the opposite. Get out of Iraq, tax the rich, and make pork-barrel spending illegal!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  349. BobinMontana

    These steps WILL solve the problem: (1) Despite its obvious disasterous results, the administration continues to push free trade. End ALL trade (especially with China..melamine, anyone?) that sucks American jobs out of the country and brings in inferior products, and put jobs and production back in this country; (2)Deport all illegal aliens; stop providing them housing, food, education, and health care and save billions (Calif. especially take note); (3)Do away with labor unions (automakers would be less likely to need a bailout if they didn't pay morons $30/hour to tighten a bolt on an assembly line; (4)End the war in Iraq IMMEDIATELY.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  350. Burgess Norfolk, VA

    As a military officer I firmly believe that oversight committees for government employees, military and civil servants with financial trend analyzers who can determine the areas in which our government is wasting taxpayers money. In my job alone I see astronomical amounts of money go towards absolutely useless items, and projects. I am all for military/government spending, however it must be done while properly exercising due diligence and appropriation of money for much needed programs and goods.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  351. Larry

    Jack, Your comment that "you can't cut federal jobs, they are hired for life" – shows just how ignorant you are of the Federal Civil Service rules and processes. When we had the draw down of forces in Europe, we RIFed (reduction in force) thousands of federal employees. There's lots of rules and "red tape", but it certainly can be done. It's stupid comments like yours that gives federal workers a bad name. You ought to get your facts right before you go shooting off your mouth.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  352. Ryan

    National healthcare, would not only saves billions of dollars in federal money, but also state money. You'd get a two-fer. Over time more poeple will be willing to go to the Dr. for aches/pains and checkups which will offer greater prevention of serious illnesses, and greatly increase additional healthcare savings. This will also free up important medical facilities for serious treatment, by allowing clinics and examination facilities to take on more and more of the healthcare load via prevention promos.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  353. Charlotte Walker

    First stop the wars and stop all foreign aid to Israel. Others: temporarily stop all federal wage increases, drastically limit federal travel expenses, stop community block grants, stop congressional foreign junkets, lay off all of the excess top paid federal employees, stop allowing Congressional pork projects to the states, clean up and downsize the spending in the Defense department. Oh I could suggest so many more.

    Charlotte in Iowa City, IA

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  354. fred keller

    I'm not much of a writer but, here goes. It seems to me the economic recovery is pointed in the wrong direction. It's based on giving more rather than taking less. A simpler plan would be a return to basics. The first change would be to income taxes:
    1st -Return to the allowing of a deduction for usurious credit cards charges.
    2nd- allow a deduction for either, a partial or complete, deduction of Medical insurance premiums.
    Both of these items were allowed at one time and taken away arbitrarily, Both would help the average person more than a one-time payment which given the current situation will not help much.
    fred keller
    Queens, NY

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  355. Art Godfrey

    Start cutting corporate welfare along with he welfare programs that politicians give their self, cut off all aid to illegal aliens. End the practice of importing workers from India and other countries to replace American workers, who are in turn told to train their cheap wage replacements or they will not receive a severance package. The American People need to start asking Obama and other politicians who they are referring to when they talk about the American People and the American Worker. The American people need to start taking their country and government back, or accept what they get.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  356. chris, ottawa canada

    That's the easiest questions you've ever asked.

    The answer is foreign policy. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring the troops home from the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Germany and wherever else they are. Also stop propping up dictators in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt... Cut off all funding to all foreign countries (including Israel).

    That would save about a trillion dollars a year.The US needs to allow the rest of the world to deal with their own problems without constant meddling, which if you haven't noticed, usually makes the problem worse.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  357. Bruce Bergdoll

    Considering the cost of living increases Fereral and State employees have received since Forever Ithink that a good place to start would be the Govt unions should have to give back some of those gains that the rest of us do not receive.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  358. Christi from Newton, Iowa

    Jack, I wish Obama would give me the US check book. In order to get out of debt we need to cut our spending, raise our revenue, or both. I would quit giving all the defense contracts to Haliburton and its subsidaries and open them up to legitimate bidding. All contracts would go to American companies with all citizen employees. That way we get some of our spending back in taxes. No more $3000 hammers and nails. I would also make any government employee making over $75,000 pay part of their health insurance premiums. I would not allow people who have 6 figure incomes collect any social security (ie John McCain). I would also prorate their medicare benefits according to their income. I would allow the government to directly negotiate Medicare and Medicaid services and medication prices directly with pharmaceutical companies and providers. I would collect social security tax as we do now as well as on all income above $200,000. I would close tax loopholes allowing people to write off investment losses that are larger than their original investment for multiple years. If you made a bad investment put on your big girl panties and deal with it. GET OUT OF IRAQ and MAKE THEM PAY TO GET THEIR COUNTRY ORGANIZED. Call in some of our markers that are out there instead of forgiving everybody's debt to us. Where is Jimmy Hoffa when you need him?? Quit spending money overseas we need to get our own house in order. And finally with all the "investment" we have made in our banks, I'd start pushing some people around and getting some answers out of these bankers and let them know that the piper will be calling and we will be collecting dividends in the future to put towards our national debt. THE MONEY WAS NOT FREE.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  359. Darrell Barry

    Under existing law, as part of a deal to give up outside income from speeches and other sources, Congress receives an automatic pay raise unless it votes otherwise. In January, Congress will receive a raise of $4,700. This will increase the average Member's pay to about $174,000, or a 2.8 percent increase. Does Congress deserve a raise this year? A bill was introduced to reject the pay increase, but it died in committee. Maybe they should cut Medicare and Social Security to help with their pay hike. Those old folks don't need any money.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  360. Susan Davis - Winter Haven, Florida

    Here are my suggestions for the new president. How about NASA? Why are we sending up shuttles every few months? And should we really be trying to explore space when we can't even keep our own little country afloat? How about the Arts? Wouldn't private groups and individuals step in if government funded concerts, etc. were to cease? And here's a big one: "research'. No not all of it, just the silly ones like studying why the rare Siberian moth mates with one eye closed, and things equally unimportant. Also, huge embassies in foreign countries, having our military spread all over the world in so many bases. (Just what are we trying to accomplish?) Saturday mail delivery. Hey Jack, why don't you ask viewers how many of us would object to losing that? I wouldn't. The list goes on and on if you're a person who realizes that we don't have money for luxuries when we can't even keep a roof over our heads, so to speak.
    Susan Davis – Winter Haven, FL

    January 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  361. jim

    first, please eliminate medicare part D. the entire program was established by the clowns who ran their own circus. and, secondly, we must allow legally assisted choices, for people like me, who are on medicare and other programs, to allow GOD , and not technology, to decide when our lives have been lived long enough. this would actually be more compassionate and responsive to an individual's rights as a person of sound MIND. thank you; jim k.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  362. Christine from Lee's Summit

    Stop the corporate bailouts now. If there are any bailouts to be made then do it for the individual who is wondering how to put food on the table. All of those corporations that we gave bailouts to need to stop exploiting the individual taxpayers. Fiscal responsibility needs to begin with them and the government should monitor what they are doing – afterall, the reason they are even is business is because of the government. I have 2 citi cards and they both want to raise my rates to 25%+. Of course, I opted out, but if my tax money is going to them for a bailout – all I can say is how dare you citi! It is the corporations like citi who are putting the individual taxpayer in a position of bankruptcy. A reasonable rate is fine, but what they are doing is called loan sharking. Suzi Orman is right. When you stop caring about people first then everything else goes downhill. You cannot legislate greed.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  363. Christine, Thousand Oaks California

    1. End the tax exemption for religious institutions – The founding fathers are spinning in their graves at how their concept of separation of church and state has been twisted. (GOD is not in the Constitution)
    2. End the war in Iraq
    3. Legalize cannabis and end the stupid drug war
    4. Take away pensions and health care and all perks for Congress – they are "middle management"
    5. Slash foreign aid
    6. Institute a national lottery with all proceeds going to lower the deficit.
    Don't cut entitlement programs. We need to take care of our own.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  364. Rose NE


    Cutting spending is the last thing we need. The American infrastructure is literally falling apart we have roads and bridges that are unsafe at any speed, Flood control that in sorry shape etc, now is not worry balancing the budget. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers the overall condition of the infrastructure in the United States is substandard and on the brink of failing.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  365. Jerry

    I would cut the Senate and congress retirement royalties that they get for the rest of their lives, even a one term senator gets that pay. I would make it so the people vote more on items such as raises for Congress and the Senate. They act like they are to close to royalty they need some incentive to do their jobs. Jerry/ Iowa

    January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  366. Tom McCullough

    We need spending. We are spending money on projects we don't need. Social Security is one of the bigest drains. Fund Social Security by placing the ENTIRE Federal Government into the Social Security Sestem. Cut Welfare, Welfare should not be a way of life generation after generation. It should be a cruch to get you back on your feet. Go after the fathers of the welfare babies before the mothers can file for welfare. To raise money tax beer, wine and alcohol 25 cent a drink not the 5cents,7cents and 8 cents respectfuly. Tax cigarettes at $1.50 a pack not 35 cents and cigars at 20 cents a stick not 5 cents.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  367. frankie

    If they reformed the Social Security and Medicare bureaucracy, so much money would be saved that the entire world economy would be better off.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  368. Yvonne - Indiana

    Isn't it amazing, the first place mentioned to cut is helping people? That is a republican for you.

    Let them die, who cares. (this is what a friend said).


    January 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  369. Robert from Syracuse, IN

    Jack, Make all current and former members of congress pay for their own medical care. This would save millions per year. Then, do away with the IRS and institue a flat tax systems. Pay as you go and everyone pays the same percentage. After that, end the way and save billions per month that could be invested in edcuation and infrastructure projects.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  370. j.morgan

    The grandstand and podium they are building behind the white house is great. Why tear it down every 4 years , make it modular and reuse it. You could probably build some of those homeless people a shelter with the savings!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  371. Roland

    I'm going to dissent here and say it's not always spending that's bad, it's the value of the spending. $700 billion given to Wall Street (when the fundamentals of our economy are supposed to be "free market") was a bad idea. On the other hand, that same $700 billion if it were spent on infrastructure (even as a deficit) would be a good value for the money, since it would provide jobs for lots of Americans, which keeps money flowing into the economy, not to mention we as a nation would have safer highways/freeways and dare I say bridges/overpasses?

    St. George, UT

    January 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  372. Jim

    I'm not sure there are ways to cut the budget much. I believe we should focus on reallocating what we spend to help stimulate our national and local economies. Here on some examples, (1) what is spent on foreign aid should be sent to local communities that are hard hit by spent resources on illegal immigrants for police, and medical services. (2) Instead of sending some many troops abroad (excluding those fighting the war) we should have them home helping to patrol our borders against illegal trafficking of people and drugs. (3) Reopen some of our military bases and have the military use them to house illegal immigrants while they are awaiting their hearings or deportation instead of spending millions of dollars in detention funds or releasing them so they can abscond and we have to spend millions more to find and deport them later. Protecting our boarders and stopping these drains on our communities from coast to coast will have a positive domino effect. We don’t have the recourses in place to handle these responsibilities, so why not temporarily have the military help until we can hire and train the personnel needed to perform these tasks. Reopening some of the closed military bases will help stimulate the economies of the towns they are in or near.

    Jim Smith
    Dallas, Texas

    January 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  373. John Bosshardt

    I know this would not go down well with the Senators or Representative, but how about a" NEW RULE" , buts if as our representatives they commit any crime or listen to lobbyists, they can be immediately fired without pay, pension or health care insurance! This might serve a way of policing them from continuing in their old deceitful ways!

    Keep up the good work,
    John Bosshardt from Oregon

    January 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  374. Eric Bracke, Fort Collins, CO

    Recind the power of the Federal Government to borrow – a balanced budget amendment!
    End the War in Iraq
    Eliminate ALL aid to illegal aliens
    Implement a flat tax and get rid of the IRS
    STOP the Federal government from trying to fix the economy with all these stupid bailouts and stimulus package(s) – it just doesn't work.
    20% pay cut for all Federal employees – including congress
    Eliminate all foreign aid with the exception of humanitarian expenditures.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  375. Christopher Dotson Fort Ogden, Fl.

    I say we have every man over the age of 18 get a stone the size of his palm and one by one call EVERY member of congress and the senate
    out one by one and stone them! I bet that will rapidly stop the pork, illegal immigration and the trillion dollar good old boy bailouts! And just think! The next Congress men and Senators will never waist a dollar! or o anything to hurt the Republic!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  376. Ryan

    End the 'drug war' since they only go after weed smokers 80% of the time anyhow, leave the other 20% intact for the serious drugs. At least then the gov't could redirect the hundreds of billions of dollars.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  377. Erik Huber

    According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy we are likely to eclipse 2 million drug-related arrests in 2009 and many of them non-violent offenses with mandatory minimum sentences created during an era of draconic distrust.

    How can we continue to create such harm on our own citizens, at such enormous costs, while attempting to justify a staggering bailout to businesses who've made unsound financial decisions and want a take-back?

    I'd put a tight leash on the DEA, focus their resources on cartels and interdiction, end the illegal asset seizures with no due process, and free all non-violent drug offenders from prison to return to society where they belong.

    Incarcerating people for being different seems awfully socialist and we Americans should be ashamed for our lack of vision in our failed drug policy. Not only are we failing our children we're drowning ourselves in debt!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  378. Phil

    Yes, replace current Defense Contractors with government employees again. Young ones out of college, not retired military officers !! Send them out to the pasture !! The double dipping must stop !! Lets open up these jobs to younger workers !!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  379. Dee

    I would eliminate sin, Remove the Good old boys from any public or governmental service. Be cautions about financial support to any country condoning war . Discontinue big tax breaks for the very rich especially those rich who have no emphathy for the poor. Then place all individuals involved in the cartel into the deepest part of Hell.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  380. Pat in SIOUX CITY, IA.

    First i would cease the practice of letting people buy works of art like 3 stones on a pile for supposedly $80,000 & then give them to a city as a gift & take them off their taxs.
    Then i would tax churchs of all faiths for property taxs & not allow anyone to give money to churchs & then take the amount off their taxs. If they want to support thier churchs fine .
    Then i would make it illegal to donate money & then deduct it from personal taxs to any charity if the Charity does not give minimum 75 percent of the donations to the cause it was collected. for & be able to prove it.
    I can go on but these are a few things that would take a big cut out of the deficet.
    I will leave the Insurance racket for another day.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  381. Ron from SF

    The troops would have been out of Iraq YESTERDAY! How about only maintaining Nukes to blow up the world 10 times, instead of 400 tiems? Eliminate Homeland Security. It's a bloated piece of crap, that's dedicated to incompetence and fearmontering. Ban lobbyists, as that's 10 Bridges to No Where the first year! End the "War on Drugs". Too many of our folks are in jail and I'm not willing to pay their tab or loose the revenue we could get by taxing that poison. Along that line, I'd look at revenue. If a corporation does business here, it pays takes here and at least 40% of it's workers are American. No more Cayman Island's crap to get out of taxes! Also, did you know that millionaires and billionaires pay a fraction of taxes they paid in the 40's, 50's and 60's? Reset them to the 1950 level and make them pay up or leave. Finally, why is some jerk who sits on his tookus, getting taxed less for Capital Gains, while the sweat of my brow is taxed much higher? Yes, I'm taking class warfare, as I'm no longer going to tolerate getting body blows from the rich, while not fighting back.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  382. Carolyn in Houston

    Hi Jack,

    I would eliminate the salaries of every lawmaker who rubber stamped Bush's war of choice with Iraq. Next I'd cut the salaries of all of those who went along for the free market, deregulation and lack of government oversight ride. I would also cut the salaries of any lawmakers who voted for any bridges to nowhere and to those who support and engage in pay-to-play politics.

    I'd increase the taxes of the 1% who paid few or no taxes at all over the last eight years and I would require that the corporations, who have also gotten a free ride, pay their fair share of taxes, too. That includes their offshore accounts.

    I'd impose a gasoline tax to curb our addition to oil and use the revenues to fund efficient, green public transportation.

    I'd sue Halliburton for negligence and demand they return our taxpayer dollars that paid for shoddy workmanship and for their criminal overcharges to Uncle Sam.

    Concerning the bailout loan to Wall St. I would charge the same interest rates that the banks have been charging their customers.

    That should put back a few pennies into our busted piggy bank.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  383. V.K. Raman, Sparks

    Eliminate the unnecessary that does not contribute to the growth and development of the country. Request each cabinet secreatary to bring out a list of all the unnecessary projects that does not add value and work on eliminating those.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  384. sharon in Colorado

    Jack.....first off we need to abolish the Fed Reserve and let
    congress coin our money and regulate the value thereof; as stated in our CONSTITUTION !
    Just like Ron Paul says, we will never get out of debt if we continue to
    print fiat currency which is not backed by anything!
    Then lets find the missing 3.1 Trillion Dollars that the Pentagon
    cannot account for as of Sep 10 2001. Until the truth about how our
    money is created and how it is spent is told to the American people
    we we never understand the scope of our problems!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  385. Dan

    Simple Jack ;- three things ,stop the stupid wars, end corruption,and most important punish GREED. Do these three things and we'll have a ten trillion dollar surplus. Lots of luck!!!
    Dan from Pennsylvania

    January 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  386. Brian

    As the government has shown it can not adhere to the very laws it enacts:
    1) a constitutional amendment requiring expenditures that equal to a % of the prior year tax receipts,
    2) elimination of income tax and replacment of it with a consumption tax that will promote the propensity to save,
    3) a requirement that all government agencies and departments are required to use zero based budgeting,
    4) each year every government agency and department will sunset unless legislation is enacted re-establishing the agency or department based upon a business plan and,
    5) reread the US Constitution with a view of strict interpretation and reform the Federal government to reflect what it was originally granted power to do by the States.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  387. fred

    Why not have a national lottery to help pay off the national debt.We all know that we the tax payers will have to pay it anyway.WE could create 4 zones so that the populations of each are equil,and have 4 winners.And to sweeten the payoff make it the winnings tax free.I think we could not print the tickets fast enough.But this money would have to go only to pay off hte debt no tag on isues.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  388. Scott W.

    The first swing of the axe cuts the defense budget by 80%. Next is the total elimination of the following federal agencies: Homeland Security, Department of Education, Securities and Exchange Commission, DEA, IRS (skeleton crew), Federal Reserve and the ATF. This is just for starters. Next is the congressional budget, cut it at least 50%. Completely cut off foreign-aid and bring our troops home. Give surplus weapons to the citizens of the USA and cut off the weapons to Israel. All surplus is to be auctioned off to pay for the debt we owe. The government employees can find new jobs working in the fields replacing the illegal aliens that are now employed picking fruits and vegetables. For once in their careers they'll actually produce something besides misery for the rest of us.

    Scott W.
    Mobile, Alabama

    January 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  389. Joe from Oklahoma City

    I'd abolish the IRS and institute a consumption tax. The amount of money saved in overhead and red tape would be considerate.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  390. Gigi

    I think it is time to cut the benefits of our congress and senators and all other workers. Health coverage could be the same as those on social security. Retirements could be frozen until they fix the economy. Salaries should be cut in half and no expenses accounts for travel outside of back to and from home. Just to start. It time to share the new life style of the people they represent. Also why isn't anyone going to jail?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  391. DAN

    First ,stop paying to rebuild Iraq and have our troops there.
    If the neighboring countries, the UN and the goverment of Iraq want us there let them pay , If not start removing our troops at once . Let someone else pay them not to fight each other . Just think of all the program we could afford if we never went to Iraq in the first place.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  392. Ken in NC

    Cut out the Federal Government. Make them work for a living.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  393. James

    I'd start by cutting the salaries of Senators and Congressman to light a fire under their behinds and give them a reality check on what the rest of us are going through.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  394. Karl from SF, CA

    To make it a permanent situation, we need to get rid of lobbyists and limit Congress to one term with public financing. Then we might have a chance. Politics has become a profession and we need to get "service" back in public service. If they didn't need campaign funds for re-election the temptations and earmarks would not exist. Pay them what their real job, that are temporarily away from and will return to, pays and no pensions or other perks. Their states or districts can provide housing in DC. Get Congress to work for the American people, not themselves.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  395. vern-t anaheim,ca

    end the war in iraq and afghanistan,we are speding billions that could be best used for our people and all these stupid projects the goverment spends money on that are worthless and ammount to nothing

    January 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  396. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    The USA has to stop being every thing to everyone. Tell the world to mooch of someone else until things are taken care of at home. NO more loans to foreign countries. Close you foregn bases and let people defend themselves for a change. Maybe then they won't be so fast to hate America and for god sake get Arnold out of office before California is sold out from under you. hmmmm...maybe Saudi Arabia will buy it for the 10 trillion you owe.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  397. Marcia

    Jack – Social Security was not originally intended as the sole means of support for retirees, but it has become that in many cases. It is a Ponzi scheme of huge proportions. Let' s cut off SS for all workers under 45, pay the folks retiring in the next 20 years,with the money they have put into the system, and let the under 45 workers invest their money privately.This has to stop soon – the boomers entering the system will drown it!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  398. Mike-FL

    Cuts alone will not fix our problem. Not only do we need to control spending .... we have to come up with strategies to increase revenues.

    1. The Auto industry was told to cut parachutes and wages and benefits......OK.....house, senate...let's practice what you preach...how about a wage cut for all those politicians WE employ and no wage increases until unemployment is down.
    2. LINEITEM-VETO Too many lineitems are sneaking through for approval because they are attached to some vital piece of legislation
    3. Raise the Social Security tax Limit to help the Social Security program. All taxpayers are paying Social Security on wages earned up to $106800......raise this to $300000.
    4. Tax reform for ALL taxpayers......define a percentage of all earnings from all taxpayers. So if you make $20000 or $2000000....all taxpayers are paying the same percentage.........it is fair!!!!!

    These are a few ways to start.......

    January 8, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  399. EugeneWiese

    I would get money back from the same sources Bush used for spending,e.g., Iraq., Afganistan,Tax cuts to the rich;reduce military spending on contractors(KBR and Haliburton,etc.) tanks,aircrft carriers,and aircraft not suitable for guerilla warfare.Cut special interests like Corporations who outsource. No money for oil companies. That would take care of a multitude of sins. Gene

    January 8, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  400. Kevin -CA

    Conventional economic theory dictates increased government spending during recessions to stimulate the economy – therefore, government spending should not be curtailed in the near term.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  401. Mike Larkins

    Cut Federal spending the same way my family has. If their is no money in the bank their is nothing to spend. How do we accomplish this? Simple – Since this is a new year and we all are having to fill out our yearly W-4 for 2009 I strongly suggest you file Single or Married as needed, and under # of dependents claim all the banks and corporations bailed out as dependents. This year I am filing M-112. Looks like I will get a hefty reduction in witholding taxes and just wait till I see my refund for 2009!! That ought to get their attention.

    Bailout, I Don Need No Stinking Bailout.!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  402. Christi from Newton, Iowa

    1. let the bush tax cuts expire
    2. No more defense contracts (or any federal contracts for that matter)to Haliburton or their subsidaries, open them up to real bidding. No more $3000 hammers and nails.
    4. Demand payment on markers that we hold around the world, 5tarting with Iraq.
    6. No social security benefits for people making 6 figures
    prorate medicare benefits for people making over 6 figures
    7. make federal employees foot part of their health insurance premiums (prorate according to salary)
    8. collect additional social security tax on income over $250,000
    9. Limit the time people can spend on welfare and taper their benefits.
    10. Collect dividends from the banks we have "invested" in
    11. quit spending overseas
    12. any company winning a federal contract must do the work in the US with legal US tax-paying citizens
    13. 5% tax credit for buying anything of $100 value or more that was made in the US
    14. Pay congress with IOU's until they propose a balanced budget
    15. Fine congress members that add earmarks to bills

    Christi from Iowa

    January 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  403. Danni

    If the American people can cut their spending on purchasing porn, Im sure the Fed can figure something out.
    Upland CA

    January 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  404. JBK

    I think there would be some savings by giving Europe and Japan more responsibility over their security needs, thereby creating a reduction in our military presence in those countries

    Santa Cruz, CA

    January 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  405. Dennis Jaques

    Jack, Health care costs must be controlled. Two important steps would save huge amounts of money and improve services. The first step would be to place ALL health care programs under the control of each State – no Federal operations should exist other than to transfer appropriate tax revenues to the States.

    Secondly, health care must be viewed primarily as a necessary service (similar to sewage, water, military, etc. services) and NOT primarily as a for-profit operation as it presently is. All pharmaceutical product advertising should be banned from all media. This would save billions of dollars each year that the pharmaceutical industry could return as reducded product costs (or do I see these savings going into extra bonuses for CEO's??)

    Keep up the good work and analyses.

    Dennis Jaques

    January 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  406. Bernadette Loesch

    Dear Jack, It is obvious to me that our defense budget has to be cut back drastically. By bringing a majority of our troops stateside we will accomplish two very important tasks. One, reduce the military budget and put those service people to work within the United States fixing many of the projects that Obama says need immedicate attention.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  407. Ellen

    Billions of dollars in cash is floating around "under the radar" in this county UNTAXED. About 32 billion is wired to Mexico each month – untaxed and untouched..
    Shell Beach, CA

    January 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  408. Pete in Bradenton Florida

    1. Abolish the fillibuster: A waste of time and time is money. Debate the bill then research it for no more than two weeks, off the 'floor. Meantime, immediately begin the next debate on the next bill.
    2. Line Item veto until the nations economy is in the black. Thereafter,
    determine a fiscal budget limit for earmarks.
    3. Cut 'duplications' in inter-agency functions and consolidate.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  409. EugeneWiese

    I wonder about Harry Reid. I'm sure the Democrats have a better Senate Majority Leader(Hilliary). Gene Midlothian Va.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  410. Vince, Canada


    I have been through the "reduce federal spending scenario a few times. What that means is cutting services and terminating employment of "term" employees that interact with taxpayers, where the rubber meets the road. There is reluctance to fire high paid public servants when you can lay off several "little people". In case you have not noticed, Washington does not shrink, but Mooses Groin Montana does!

    Obama has the right idea, spend your way out of this mess. Creating employment generates wealth, buying power and increases tax revenues which is the "only" solution. You need to take in more money than you pay out. Simple household economics. Use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).

    January 8, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  411. Michael Fermanich,Marinette,Wisconsin

    Jack; Downsize, Downsize, Downsize Government and Outsource and they might get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  412. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    We're in a fiscal crisis, not only because of vastly increased spending but because we were misled about 'supply-side' (or 'trickle-down') economics.

    All those tax breaks were supposed to generate more jobs. but they did not. Quite the contrary, Federal revenues did not burgeon to fill the gap.

    We've got an economy that is suffering from too much 'leakage' – our foreign 'balance of payments deficit' reflects this. We're on a downward spiral, especially as our corporations continue to invest overseas rather than here. And it isn't just oil – it is clothing, automobiles, Air Force tankers, computer software, 'outsourcing' of federal as well as corporate functions,...(just look at the new scandal that has erupted today in India over Satyam Computer Services.)...

    ... it's a 'brain drain', too. Millions of us college-educated professionals are currently under-employed – working on jobs we were doing before we even got our degrees.

    We've also known about the 'entitlement' gap for years, yet even this last week, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration reported on a local talk show here in Boston that Social Security funding was 'solvent' until sometime about 30 or 40 years from now.

    This, the greatest 'pyramid' or 'Ponzi' scheme of all was started years ago when the Johnson cabal in Congress went to a 'consolidated budget' to conceal the massive deficits.

    Our own Congress and corporate America has 'made off' with a lot more than Bernard Madoff has.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  413. Jackie in Dallas

    Joan of Birmingham

    I LIKE the idea of making the states pay for the Senators and Representatives out of the state budget, and tying it to how the public that elected them views their perfomance! Wow! Great concept.

    Like many others, I agree with a line-by-line review by an independent auditor of the US budget, and a line-item veto for the President. I also agree with getting out of Iraq and rethinking what we are doing in Afghanistan. As a veteran, I'd like to see the VA facilities improved and better care of those who have served this country honorably - and just to make sure it happens, all Congressional members, Cabinets members, etc. should get their health care through the VA. The President actually already does - their health care is usually through Bethesda Naval Hospital which is also a VA facility. I think other government employees should have the exact same type of insurance as most of us do, and have to pay deductables like we all do. Get rid of Presidential and Vice Presidential pensions if they can't maintain a 40% national approval rating for at least 80% of the time they are in office.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  414. Gabe

    Did you say cut spending? I dont think there is any need to if we can always print some more money like the Zimbabweans do. We can thank G.W.Bush for his prosperious 8 years by featuring him on a new $1,000,000,000 note. Wouldn't you like that Wolfman-Jack?..LOL!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  415. Ken Hubert

    Building a new house provides jobs for a variety of people. So why not work a deal with local governments for them to offer incentives to new house builders. This plan would result in people who can afford it building their dream home and helping the economy at the same time.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  416. Ike

    I don't knw Jack, why don't we ask Madoff???

    Plainview, N. Y.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  417. ray from florida

    Dear Jack,
    I feel that not giving accommodations to the Obamas was not a slight. The Vice President's mansion could be a possibility, however, they would need more time to clean up all the guana.

    January 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  418. Bob

    Simple Downsize the Government. We don't need to have 50 states....we could cut that number down to 40. We could combine some of the smaller states together through a massive right sizing of America. We could then Layoff the extra senators, congressmen, etc. Since Corporate America is laying off why should the Federal Government be any different?

    January 8, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  419. Melissa Miranda

    I think all the budget problems started with the war. Al lot of money has been used on the war, a lot!

    January 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  420. Michael

    How about getting us out of the "War for Democracy...er, oil", follow that up with getting the hell out of the United Nations and pushing the UN building into the East River. Then lets think about closing the 700 or so military bases littered around the globe and allow our troops to live state side and allow other nations to deal with their own problems.
    On that note, get out of NATO as well.

    January 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  421. Jude McCarney

    I would certainly not reduce it by taking away money from sick old ladies. In other words entitlement programs. Even considering it is shameful.

    January 8, 2009 at 6:55 pm |