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July 21st, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Government services you're willing to see reduced or eliminated?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Almost every state in the nation is hurting financially. More unemployed people along with cuts in consumer spending mean states are collecting a lot less in taxes - and that means bigger and bigger budget shortfalls.

Protesters demonstrate against cuts to social services that aid people with disabilities and the poor at the home of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Financial Times reports one estimate shows tax collections dropped by almost 12 percent during the first quarter of this year... with 45 of 50 states reporting declines. Early numbers for April and May are even worse - showing declines in tax revenue of almost 20 percent.

Some are also questioning how effective the federal stimulus package has been - if states are spending billions of these stimulus dollars and still can't close budget shortfalls. There are only two choices when it comes to this: either raise taxes or cut expenses.

Many states have made cuts to school districts, health care, programs for the disabled, the prison system and state employees... California has even been issuing IOUs for things like welfare checks.

The bad news is this may not be a temporary situation. These cuts to state budgets may be the new reality going forward... Almost two-thirds of states are projecting budget gaps for 2011... and at least 15 states already foresee gaps as far out as 2012 - when the federal stimulus money will have dried up.

Here’s my question to you: What government services are you willing to see reduced or eliminated?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Ira writes:
The way to cut spending is to cut the budget for each federal department by a minimum of 10-percent. Every cabinet department needs to bear the burden of that cut. Start by cutting the staff at each agency, including Congressional, Judicial and Executive offices. Cut, cut, cut. The general population has to tighten its belt, so should the federal government.

Remo in Pflugerville, Texas writes:
Jack, Do we need to light up every inch of street, road, and highway? Do we need to cut grass along the highway as well? In my little town, do they really need to collect trash twice a week? Do they need to mow the grass in the park when we are in "extreme drought conditions"? Can't a little common sense be used instead of service overkill?

Karen writes:
Social programs for illegal immigrants in the U.S. don't make sense to me.

Carl in Aurora, Illinois writes:
I would like to see the elimination of farm subsidies and corporate welfare before we start taking services away from those existing on the bottom rung of the ladder.

AC writes:
How about cutting back on mail delivery from six days a week to three? I could do just fine with mail on Mon/Weds/Fri or Tues/Thurs/Sat.

Robert writes:
How about canceling a war or two? There's a service I'd be willing to cut back on – should free up a few hundred billion to give to the states.

J. writes:
Start with the House and Senate. Then work your way out from there.

Nuria writes:
How about the IRS, can we get rid of that?


Filed under: Economy • Government
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Addam, WV

    Cut out money for paving, money for the fire department and police department, cut out subsidies for farmers, cut out every social service including unemployment and food stamps. When people have to start driving on rough roads, houses burn down, people are mugged at will, people lose their jobs and can't pay their bills at all, food prices shoot up and the number of people who go hungry increase, maybe then everyone will see what their tax money really does go toward, maybe then they'll stop complaining about taxes and government, and maybe then they'll realize that we really are in this together and that united we stand isn't just a slogan, it really does mean something.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  2. Mark

    Any cut is a good cut. The leaner the resources, the less money for lobbyists to fight for, and the more efficient government will need to be.

    Agreed, tough choices will have to be made. Citizens will have to be more driven to not depend on the public system, and administrators will have to display better stewardship of taxpayer funds.

    We don't elect people to say "yes" to everybody.

    Austin, TX

    July 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  3. Dale - Palm Springs

    Let try an across the board method. Choose your precentage 5, 10 15% etc...but cut each and every program the same amount. If that doesnt do it.....then raise the percentage until we are within our means. I do this everyday...I dont spend what I dont have. It's time our Government realized they must do the same. Granted we might not all be happy, but at least we would all be sharing the load equally.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  4. Chad Brick

    You can only make meaningful cuts where we actually spend meaningful money. At the state level, that means schools, cops, and health care. At the federal level, that means Social Security, health care, and defense. Everything else is chump change. If you aren't willing to cut these things, then you really aren't willing to cut anything that would make a difference.

    Broadview Heights,

    Ohio

    July 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  5. kinda

    I think the government should put an indefinite hold on salary increases and bonuses. This should especially target congress, the czarships and everyone working for the government. Pork and special interest spending should be eliminated. It appears that our elected representatives and leaders are totally clueless regarding what is happening with middle America. Thank you

    July 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  6. Francine - San Francisco, CA

    If reducing services means more unemployed people, I'd much rather see taxes raised. Here in California, Schwarzenegger thinks he's doing something by laying thousands off, but the more people he lays off, the more he erodes the tax base and the bigger the budget shortfall gets. Yes, raise taxes on oil. Yes, raise taxes on cigarettes. People need to get out of their cars and stop smoking, anyway.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  7. Carla, Wyoming

    Let's start by eliminating salaries for Congress and the House of Representatives. Afterall, they are there for Public Service. Then let's eliminate their insurance and retirement benefits, housing allowance, chauffer, expense account, on and on and on...then, the state's "Public Servants" should give up all their benefits for the citizens of this country that pay for all of it.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  8. scott wehner

    All the pet projects that made up a majority of the first stimulus bill that are contrubting almost nothing to job growth or economic recovery.

    Thanks Obama for making all those pet projects such an urgent matter. It is really helping our nations unemployment rate.

    Scott

    Omaha, NE

    July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  9. joepuente

    NASA. We've been to the moon. If people want to go back, let the aerospace industry pay for it themselves.

    Joe Puente
    Sanpete, Utah

    July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  10. Darrell Connelly

    Less Road Construction, Only repair.
    Less Capital Spending on Education.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  11. Kathy Hurd

    I'm willing to have the congressmen and senators health care taken away, let them pay for it themselves.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  12. Gary Voeste

    I'd be willing to temporarily suspend NASA and our space program from government funding and move it into the private sector. Ater all, what return on investment does the average citizen see from the billions spent to explore the last frontier?

    Gary Voeste
    Moab, UT

    July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  13. John

    How about cutting the spending on illegal immigrants? it's a shame when illegal immigrants are treated better then veterans and the homeless.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  14. Bobby

    Texas
    1. Cut Congressional Salaries and Benefits by at least 50%.
    2 Require all Congressmen and Senaters to use commerical Airlines
    3. Cut out aid to foreign countries
    4. Cut out funding for the Arts.
    5. Cut back on the Air Force One Trips.
    6. Cut out payments to the United Nations.
    7. Cut out aid to illegal aliens.
    8. No National Health Care.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  15. Matt

    How about cutting Congressional pensions, medical care, and perks? I can't see any sense in rewarding people that spend our tax money like they're strippers.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  16. william O'Malley

    Military

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  17. Janet

    How about our gov't. representatives pay into their healthcare polices like the rest of us? I bet we'd save a bundle right there.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  18. Mark

    First they can stop dropping 1000 pound bombs on poppy fields spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to do what five hundred dollars of diesel fuel could do. What a bunch of morons.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  19. Jack in Toronto

    As an outsider looking in, I think the whole defence department could be dismantled and I am sure there would more than enough money to solve all the economic problems the states are having.
    The USA spends far too much fighting in other countries while their own are starving, dying, and declaring bankruptcy.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  20. Jim Fedchin

    I think the biggest savings would be achieved by eliminating Congress.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  21. Bob the builders Wife.

    The IRS!
    Lets have a Flat tax and get rid of all the games!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  22. doris enow

    I like to see the Executive office reduced. In fact I like to see the Power given back to the states and only the Pentagon should be still operating in Washington, otherwise close the White House, the Congressioanl Buildings and throw away the key. Governor Perry can do a much better job in Texas then Obama ever can.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  23. Elaine

    As a California resident, I am comfortable seeing some of the welfare progams placed on hole, especially for the illegal aliens. In fact, I am hoping that these people who lose benefits learn that it is better to work for a paycheck not handout.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  24. RO

    Personally, I think we need to scale back NASA's flights... and bring home our troops!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  25. Gary Wichita

    Short answer, Congress.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  26. Steve Watters

    The only goverment service, if you want to call it a service, that we could eliminate that would solve our budget problem, is congress

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  27. Judith Shade

    Besides the usual elimination of illegals and their offspring, in our state we could save a ton of money eliminating our state legislature and firing our governor! They literally and figuratively do nothing for the citizens of SC!

    Judi
    Hilton Head Island SC

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  28. Robert from Ft. Myers

    How could you ask such a ridiculous question Jack. No one any longer see any value in the services Congress performs. Give em' the axe.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  29. al from Vancouver BC

    quit putting peacefull pot smokers in jail for starters!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  30. 500lb12yrold

    Cut from services to all the working age freeloaders that live off welfare and food stamps. For too long we, the working class have supported the welfare lifestyle, spreading your legs to some unepmloyed irresponsible joker should not entitle you to public help. Save that for those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and make it only temporary not for life.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  31. Ralph

    They should start by sending illegals back from where they came, including the runts born to illegal parents. cut illegals from hospital services and any other free services that they currently obtain. then go after the employers of illegals be it lawn services or large companies – put them in jail. then start really examining who gets what for free to make sure they are eligible. cut out the child exemptions on income tax – you should pay more if you have more kids. implement a flat tax or consumption tax on everything other than food and clothing. That would be a start.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  32. Mike Kessler

    Marijuana prohibition is counterproductive and outrageously costly and there is no defensible reason for it.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  33. Allen from Illinois

    I think we can do without the services of our elected government officials, maybe if we stop paying them for doing nothing, they'll start doing something to start earning their pay...

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  34. michael

    No need to cut services...end marijuana prohibition and tax it !!!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  35. mickey mouse

    get rid of congress and senate we have enough PORK

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  36. KG, Twin Cities, MN

    Do we have to cut services? Why don't we look for ways that we, as citizens, can help out our communities at no cost? If we help out in the areas were we can, funds can be shifted to areas that need it more. I have a lawn mower. I can mow the park next to my home. How many of us are certifed lifeguards? We could take a life guard duty shift at our local pool. We could volunteer at our local libraries, keeping them open for the summer. If we can give our communities some services for free, then more money is available for law enforcement, office jobs, teachers, etc.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  37. Greg

    Let's scrap NASA. Who cares if there was water vapor on Mars a million yrs ago anyway?

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  38. Emily

    I would be in favor of eliminating the D.E.A.'s war on marijuana. That accounts for more than $12 billion per year alone. Add to that the prospect of raising more than that figure in annual state taxes if the drug were regulated like alcohol. After seventy years of flushing taxpayer dollars down the toilet, you'd think these numbskulls would put two and two together and realize what a cash cow this little plant is!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  39. Laurie

    Let's list all federal, state, and local county agencies on our next ballot, with a simple yes or no box to check. The ones with a majority of ayes remain, and the ones with a majority of nays go.

    I think you'd see that parks, schools, library and heath care services would remain, and many superfluous dollar-sucking agencies would disappear.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  40. charles bobbitt

    everyone i know thinks california should stop giving welfare to women who come in the country illegally just to have a kid and qualify for welfare.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  41. chuck

    eliminate the republican and democratic party's and we all will be rich...end of problem !

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  42. David

    I would start with state provided cars for staff. Next, I would cut out all unneeded travel, and if travel is a must, it must be on private airlines and no first class travel. This is just off the top of my head. I would have to see the entire budget before moving forward. I would NOT cut Police, Fire or schools. It seems the first thing to go is school budgets.... just wrong

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  43. Valentino

    What would I like to see cut? – Government! They spend more on socialist programs than we can possibly make as a country. I have aways considered myself a Liberal but by necessity that is changing fast!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  44. Ron W

    Eliminate as many government jobs as needed. Reduce luxury benefits on all remaining employees. If they strike, fire them all. We did alright when all the air traffic controller were fired. I think replacing lazy paper pushers should be easy.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  45. Nancy, Tennessee

    I would like to see the state stop increasing the welfare checks to unmarried women each time they have a new baby. There should be a cap on the amount received and discourage a woman from having more children in order to receive a larger check. A working family can only afford to have 1 to 2 children because of the taxes paid to support the people who have a houseful of children. The states could save tons of money on welfare and Medicaid if there were a limit going forward on how many children the state will support.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  46. Marcus

    I am willing to see the Defense budget reduced by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, end SCHIP, Medicare, and Medicaid for a National Health care single-payer system, and end the direct loan program by making higher education a right instead of a privelege for the few that can afford it.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  47. Dominic

    NONE! All the programs and schools that the government funds are essential to maintaining our way of living and cutting any of them would come to bite us.

    Easton, PA

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  48. Kevin Volchek

    1.Legalize Marijuana and tax it, yes it's time! (Shouldn't be legal if sold on a street though)
    2.Drop a bunch of trivial charges and let those poor folks in prisons go. 3.State parks (at least for now) ... why do we really need to keep an eye on something that has been there for thousands of years? And that shouldn't mean that they should be closed! I still want to visit them!
    4. We seriously need to pressure those who drove this country to its knees (Banks for one) and tax those individuals so they can't sleep so sweet at night.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  49. michael

    Jack – close the dept of transportation. Maybe than we drive the great cars one can drive in the rest of the democratic world including Europe and Canada and including cars made by "Detroit" that are not sold in the us.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  50. Mark in Rutland, Vermont

    I think the politicians, who care so much about our country and/or state, should take pay cuts. If the people they serve have to suffer so should they. Maybe this will help them see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel and get something done.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  51. JD

    Jack,

    Personally I'd like to see some serious restrictions on welfare and food stamps. I make about $2000 per month after taxes and nothing makes me more angry than when I go to the grocery store to pick up the small amount I can afford, while right next to me in line is a drug addict with 4 kids who pays for their munchies with a Link card (Illinois' version of food stamps).

    I'm completely sick of these Welfare junkies sucking up all of our tax dollars.

    -JD
    Peoria, IL

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  52. Bogdan Koszarycz

    Law Enforcement at federal and state levels, that way you will not have
    officers in a parking lot sitting all day giving tickets

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  53. James Thorn

    Any federal or state program supporting illegal immigrants!!! Wether they are educational, medical or welfare hand outs in general! California is 26 billion in debt and won't mention illegal immigration!!! Wake up and quit smoking your medical WEED!!!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  54. Jim Fedchin

    I think the biggest savings would be achieved by eliminating Congress.

    Pennington, NJ

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  55. Joseph Kraatz

    Here in California it is not a function of the economy. Powerful unions have been controlling Sacramento for 2 decades. They are the very entities that don't need the money so we are all being strangled by these special interests. I've lived here all my life and remember when this state was the ultimate in progress. I am starting to feel like I am living in a third world country. I have no hope for California.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  56. Jim Gregory

    There are an awful lot of agribusinessmen–I won't dignify them by using the term "farmers"– in my area who receive huge subsidies. Their kids drive brand-new pickups to school, their wives wear enough jewelry to pass for members of the royal family, and they do an awful lot of semi-concealed chuckling at the government. I suspect they employ illegals, too. There's something fishy with Old McDonald's farm.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  57. Luke

    Welfare should be done away with immediately if possible, gradually if necessary. It becomes a crutch and a security blanket for many people who otherwise could find work.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  58. Jeremy

    Services that create a dependency on the government need to be scrapped. Safety nets should be designed for short-term to help people down and out. Too often, people become dependent on government aid and are left out in the cold when financial collapses occur.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  59. Jeanette

    We are spending too much of our own tax dollars servicing illegal immigrants in our country. Until immigrants start to spend their own money on healthcare we should be able to turn them away from our hospitals. They are not entitled to our healthcare system when they are not even supposed to be in our country in the first place.
    Germantown, Tennessee

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  60. Jack McCurdy Clermont, Fl.

    eliminate Congress , President and their staff for a year. The taxpayers would save money and they couldn,t screw up anything

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  61. rob nelson

    Why is it the first thing to go out the window are essential citizen services? There is just as much waste at the state level as there is at the federal. Eliminate all services to illegal immigrants along with welfare recipients of over 6 months.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  62. Rob

    Federal and state budgets have been so poorly managed that there is no choice now but to cut. These cuts should be made across the board – no sacred cows. We cannot afford our current entitlement programs, much less the President's planned expansions. This fact has been confirmed by the CBO and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

    It's time for the public to get real and demand that politicians stop mortgaging our future. The President also needs to stop pandering to his pet constiutencies and be the transparent, post-partisan leader that he claimed to be.

    Americans are famous for being resourceful in difficult times. We're heading into those times again. Time will tell whether we've still got it.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  63. James In Idaho

    Jack, I'm not sure about what services should eb eliminated outright, but deffered taxes for workers might be a good incentive. If they deserve a return, give it to them, if they owe in taxes, defer those until 2012 for two years, and allow them to make payments on what they owe.

    Or how about granting them a one year repreive? If they deserve a return; pay them. If they owe... waive it indefinitely.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  64. Vern Plato; LAKEVIEW, OREGON

    I would like to see congress and the senate lose their health care package (or let us have a similar program) until they can approve a package to help the average American.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  65. Larry

    I'd like to see the gov't services involved in tobacco support be ended; ditto for Big Oil. The Nicotine Drug Lords and the Oil Overlords do not need American public moneyu

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  66. John Owens

    As a veteran I would suggest dropping the VA in most of its functions.

    As a customer I would suggest overhauling and cancelling most of the Post Office, advertising outlet is all.

    Simplifying the tax code and eliminating the IRS. Get the money up front, with few deductions, if any.

    That's a lot of money I've outlined. The only good thing about government employment is its color-blindness.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  67. Jennifer Mossholder

    Nationally, I'd be willing to have cut backs in the postal system. Locally, I'd give up trash pick up (we have a mandated township system) and I'd be thrilled to go with a private hauler. Not entirely sure what I could live without from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; probably driver services, we all can't drive anyway 🙂

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  68. Jessica Bowman Bluefield WV

    Why don't we start paying senators by the hour instead of salaries. Think about it for a second. At what other job would it be ok to just not show up like they sometimes do when there is something to vote on? My job won't even allow me to be over break by one minute much less not show up at all. Maybe we'd get more done and save money if they were actually paid for the work they've done.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  69. Mike - Boca Raton, Florida

    I would reduce welfare and state employees first. Both are groups that are a drain on taxes provided by hard-working Americans and contribute very little or nothing in most cases to society. Here in Florida many state employees are dedicated and paid to provide FREE English language training to immigrants and are PROHIBITED BY LAW from asking if they are legal immigrants, or based on my real-life experience with them, more likely illegal immigrants

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  70. bob-dog

    drastic cuts in military spending – get out troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and discharge them from the service – so much money would be saved!
    cut back on the vast fraud in disability benefits (social security, VA, and similar)
    make industry pay their own way – no more cheap govt oil leases, etc; no more exorbitant tax write-offs

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  71. Marjorie, NYC

    I must preface this comment by saying that I am a Democrat and I believe in the role of Government in the public good. That said, as a teacher in NYC I have seen a lot of waste. I do not believe it is a question of cutting services, but rather making these services more accountable and more efficient in their operations. America needs to learn to be more pragmatic and proactive about these issues; we, the American people, tend to allow for too many knee-jerk reactions about flare ups instead of actually getting to the bottom of things and fixing them.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  72. California Screaming

    The goverment should provide only the basic services: safety, courts, fire, regulation. One year maximum on welfare. Eliminate the political 'payback' jobs and special commissions. No more government pork barrel. Eliminate the wasteful and redundant departments such as BLM and Interior Dept. Re-instate the line veto.
    If Murtha wants an airport let his constituents pay for it, NOT the federal government. Thank you DOD for rejecting the F-24
    NO NEW TAXES.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  73. Eric from CO

    The congressional leaders should not be allowed to receive money from the lobbyist. We need the type of reform which changes our congressional funding like europe.

    The congressional leadership should have to pay for the healthcare like the rest of America.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  74. Harry - Bloomington, IL

    These budget crises are a golden opportunity to reform so many programs that have been wasting money for decades and have gotten out of hand. Many of the programs you mention, (education, health care, disabled support, prisons, state payrolls) are excellent places to start looking to make cuts.

    For too long government hasn't been forced to take a really hard look at the budgets and make the hard choices about what is truly essential versus what is nice to have. Instead, the solution has been to just bring in new money. Finally, the money is starting to run out. Maybe now we will see some fiscal responsibility at all levels of government. Yet, somehow I doubt it.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  75. Jim from Georgia

    Jack
    This is a easy one, the guys and gals in Washington can give up their private jets and lemos to start with. Once they have sold off those then give up the special interest money by turning it back to the Treasury. Then once they have done these two things and start working for the citizens of the United States and quite wasting time on stupid things like the BCS Bowl system.
    Jim
    Ga

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  76. Dexter

    We can do away with congress.The fence stradling democrats,Hypocritical out-of touch republicans and any other useless piece of political flesh on capital hill.FLUSH THE WHOLE HOUSE!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  77. yellowfattybean

    At the very minimum I think we can all agree that any money that's being spent on programs that save adults from themselves need to be eliminated.

    Sorry, but once you hit the age of 18 you need to take responsibility for yourself and enough with blaming everyone else for your addictions, stupidity, etc.

    Enough with the war on saving people from themselves!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  78. Kadlen from Shell Knob MO

    Almost every county in every state of the United States has an Agricultural Extension Office staffed with 1 to 5 agents and secretaries. Their purpose is to educate the public on matters concerning agriculture, horticulture etc. Those same goals for agriculture education could be met through use of the interned. Although the Agricultural Extension Office is a sacred cow, it is an outdated concept.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  79. Kevin Done Hartford, CT

    Jack,

    Cut Isreal, cut Irag and tell president Obama that his days of celebrety leadership is over. We want CHANEGE we can believe in, not the rethorical change he promised us. It short, cut Obama and Congress.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  80. Jayne Armstrong

    I notice lots of waste just in my own neighborhood. For example, I see police helicopters constantly flying over my neighborhood and I know this isn't cheap and it's all for searching for drugs. Why not just tax and regulate all drugs? It would bring in billions in revenue and we could more than afford treatment programs for those who need it and put thugs out of business. . I know these helicopters cost a lot to operate and perhaps only flying them during extreme emergencies. I could see cutting these operations as a need. I could do with out helicopters flying over at all hours of the night. We would more than have enough for needed services if we cut out on that.
    Those who benefit from welfare should volunteer their time and help clean up the neighborhood or help out with other services in the neighborhood or city; what comes around goes around. The city helps you, you help the city. This might help eliminate some costs and those who benefit from welfare should b paying back what they take in hours. They could do administrative work, clean up areas of the city and much more. I feel this should be a requirement.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  81. Zack B.

    It's not programs that we want cut, it's wasteful spending within those programs that needs to go. Every DMV has a plethora of employees, yet, it still takes at least 2 hours for every single person to get through the line. Supervisors need to be held accountable for time management and overall spending. Once the government starts operating with the efficiency of the private sector, that's when we will start to see solutions to the current practice of placing new bandages over old wounds.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  82. don

    Lets cut back on congressional terms and set term limits. Its time to stop blaming the presdient for everything and address the real issue here – congress. They maintian the status quo with the good 'ol boys network. TIme for new blood and real change.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  83. Jim from California

    Jack –

    The Federal Govt provides me with safety and security via the U.S. Military. My City govt provides police/fire services and picks up my trash. But Jack – my right hand to God – I have no idea what the California State Government does. It just appears to be some huge blob of a bureauracy that sucks tax money from the citizens and squanders it on meaningless "services". If the California state goverment disappeared tomorrow it would literally have no effect on me personally.

    Jim Flaherty
    Newport Beach, California

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  84. Shamus McDougal

    To reduce government spending at the state level, the first options to achieve would be to lower saleries for the most well paid state employees ie. governors, state supreme court judges, state department commissioners, etc. Efforts should also be made to take away their luxeries such as state cars, force them to use their own cars, pay for their own gas and insurance instead of charging the state tax payers and cheating the state departments. Requirements should also be made to temporarily close state governor's mansions, force the governors and their families to reside in their own homes and make the mansions available to the homeless instead..

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  85. gene waters

    i would like to know how much of a pay cut these calif so called law makers including the govnor,and will they vote down their next pay increase..also i think we need to check the gov's birth certifacate.just to make sure he is a citizen...

    July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  86. Deldergod

    Third world countries like the U.S. has become, due in part to unfettered free trade policies of the last few decades, must act like third world countries and tax and spend accordingly.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  87. Washington

    Stop giving tax cuts to big businesses

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  88. Clark

    Washington can start by ending No Child Left Behind which was nothing more than a scam and a financial drain on our schools. They can end Abstinance Only Programs and so called Faith Based Initiative programs. They have all been failures and a financial drain on our country, just to name a few Jack. Clark From Gulf breeze fl.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  89. mark murphy

    The cuts need to be in personell unfortunately. Any good business is run lean and mean in these types of economic times. So the local governments need to cut their workforce by 10-20%. So we wait a little longer at the DMV, or at the Building department. Its not like they run efficiently anyway. Thats where they need to start, then they need to cut the non essential services down, Lights off earlier, and on later, street sweeping every 10 days in stead of 7. And all the little stuff, like the ad campaigns for the mayors office, and the DWP, we have no choice but to use the DWP, so why do they need to market to us, they are a monopoly. Thats where I'd Start Jack!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  90. Clarasunshine

    There is a very wasteful Pentagon procurement process and almost non existant oversight of Pentagon contracts. End cost overuns on supplies and equipment, cut unecessary weapons and R&D on unessary future weapons. Cut welfare for private enterprise, pass a health care bill that will save money. Just a few ideas, Jack.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  91. ROBERT

    Think of added tax costs to the rich as simply being required to pay back taxes that should have not been cut during time of war.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  92. Angela from IL

    Cut down on perks for politicians, for starters. Maybe they don't really understand what it means to struggle, when they have everything at their fingertips. They definitely don't know what it means to WORK for a living...Fed up with it all.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  93. Duane Lock Haven PA

    Cut all Health insurance and free travel exspences for all politicians.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  94. Gilda from Aurora, Il.

    Want to fix the government in 3 easy steps and save a whole lotta money?

    1. Ban Lobbying
    2. Limit the terms of office to ALL members of Congress to 2 terms.
    3. Since they are public servants and can go back to their previous jobs
    as attorneys and bankers- ELIMINATE their pensions.

    What you will get are altruistic people willing run for positions to make a difference.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  95. richard Kohnke From Moorpark CA

    Hey Jack I have an idea, lets cut their pay checks. They really do not deserve what we are giving them. If they worked for me I would fire them all and hire anew.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  96. Joanne Stratton

    Cuts-- Start with the Congressional travel budget.
    Add cuts to Congressional salaries. They are just playing games in Washington. Consider eliminating some Federal holidays. I work as usual on some of those days.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  97. Chris

    Jack, I would be willing to see the funding for the War on Drugs reduced dramatically. We are spending multi-billions of dollars every year on programs that are producing very little success to prevent usage of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy, while prescription drugs are being passed out and abused like candy. Take a look at countries like the Netherlands, who spend significantly less than we do on their criminal justice system and drug-enforcement yet have a much lower rate of illicit drug abuse – obviously, there is a fundamental problem with the approach we are taking in the first place. A focus on education and rehabilitation instead of incarceration will be both cheaper and more effective in reducing the drug problems of the United States. The United States has (by far) the highest rate of incarceration, both total and per capita of any country in the world. Putting people in jail is not cheap; it's time for us to spend out money more wisely when we are dealing with non-violent crime.
    I would also like to see "pork" spending in Congress completely eliminated

    Thanks,
    Chris from Indiana

    July 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  98. Bromley

    Scratch my previous post......I believe congress should have the same benefits as the public they make decisions for (such as soc. sec. and health care). That way they would be more responsible in developing programs they will one day be subject to. And one more thing, they should NOT enjoy full beneifts after serving one term in office.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  99. Christine Umhoefer

    Every fee based government department should be as close to 100% self supporting as possible; this includes motor vehicle departments, DNRs, Parks and Rec, libraries, Fish and Wildlife, National And State Forest Services, National Parks, etc. Accomplish it by raising all entry and license fees; also increase the gasoline tax, and local building permit fees. We should pay whatever it takes to cover the costs to our local, state and federal governments for the privledge of using all of these wonderful entities, including the roads. In addition, welfare services should be subject to a year residency requirement in every state.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  100. Tony

    Jack, the LA Times recently had the courage to report about how illegal immigration has a significant effect on California's budget woes. Also, how many foreign exchange students in California's public colleges get financial assistance and/or grants that are ultimately from the state or federal government? Perhaps Lou Dobb, if not you, would be willing to examine and report on this further.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  101. Jim

    Jack;
    If the govt went through all programs that are essentialy not needed and wasting money for things definatly not needed then the generations coming up would not be saddled with the huge debt that faces them in the future in other words govt needs to stop funding things that a waste of taxpayers money but until people descide to vote out the career politicians now in office no such remedies will ever take place in my lifetime or anyone elses career politicians need to retire and make room for younger people with new and better ideas otherwise nothing will ever change be the same school yard squabbling taking place will continue america needs to awaken soon.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  102. Brigid in Va. Beach, VA

    I left another comment about releasing non-violent drug offenders but here's another...
    Jack-
    States should spend a little effort tracking down all of the irresponsible fathers that don't pay any child support so that more single mothers can get off welfare. On that same note, states could help prevent unwanted pregnancies (future single mom's on welfare) by giving students access to birth control. Sex education should not be cut from the budget; it is too important for the future.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  103. GY

    You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  104. John C.

    The I.R.S. , the D.E.A., the Federal Reserve, the Military period (including ALL military bases in foreign countries), the D.H.S., FEMA, and finally the C.I.A. We aren't living during the Cold War any longer and defense of this nation begins at the borders, ports, and airports. The above agencies either contribute to the dissolution of civil liberties or are just plane inefficient, ineffective or worse yet, trouble making.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  105. Vi

    The Federal should cut back on all these redevelopment funds given to states and cities of which more than 90% lands in the hands of a very small group of wealthy developers and contractors. They keep building and building in downtown areas that are already saddled with high volume of traffic. A lot of theTerms of loans to developers, pay when able. Also, if you would check as to what kind of salaries are received by the personnel of community redevelopment agencies, they are extremely high.

    Cutback on defense. There is so much waste. Let us have auditors from outside examine all of the spending and the results made public

    Rebuild the manufacturing sector of this country to create jobs that will generate taxes. Instead of just importing from other countries.

    The cities and states should revamp their pay scales especially the cities, the pay scales are now about 1 and 1/2 times of the private sector. They are breaking the backs of the public. It can not be sustained.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  106. Ryan

    I could live with out the continued free support sevices offered to those people who refuse to work or contribute to society in any way. All they do is take. Take Mass for example, this state funds dental treatment for illegal aliens. I am a city worker and don't have acess to dental insurance. Welfare has no checks and balances.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  107. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    government at all levels will spend their lifetime in always making tough decisions in cutting services unless they face the tax code and decide to have a government sales tax on goods and services which in the end is more fair since people pay taxes on their use of services and their buying power..it would create a more proportional system to one's revenues and expenses because if you choose to buy more or use more services you actually create more use of our resources as well as more waste of our resources!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  108. George E. Michael

    Reduce what, Jack? How about getting out of Iraq?

    Kursk, Russia

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  109. Ted E.

    I think that states should make some services have an expiration period. We also need to tax more. Not a lot more, but more. At some point people need to take care of themselves. I am unemployed and living off a severance. I understand that I am lucky, but it is up to me to find a job. It may not be my dream job and I will take a pay cut. I can live with that and get a part-time job if need be. We have a lot of services in this great country of ours and a lot of people do not want to pay for them. If I knew the economy would improve, I would be willing to pay another 2%-5% in taxes. That adds up quick and I would not notice it as much as I might think. The economy is all mental and confidence is the reason things are so bad. Let's all do our part to get this country back where it should be.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  110. rufus jerry floyd

    eliminate one senator per state and have two representatives per state. that way we would know who is doing what and they can not hide in numbers.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  111. Independent Moderate

    I forgot....I'm willing to give up the damn Czars' who undoubtedly are not working for free. Obama is not paying their salaries. We are and we want them accountable to us.

    If the government entities already in place cannot do the job they were intended to do, get rid of them. Those of us who work in private industry have never had the luxury of being useless.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  112. winnifred Simpson

    The senate & house pensions & health care. Especially those in prison for corruption. Also the 6 month extension for security for Cheney. Let him use his own Millions.

    Wyn in Maine

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  113. tommie & linda

    when will the 2 wars be over? then the gov't will save 90 billion a month & can help the poor, etc,,,,

    July 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  114. Marc

    Mandatory campaign finance reform. No funding for Congressional campaigns from lobbyists. No health care benefits for Congress.
    If Congress fails to pass campaign finance reform on their own, then automatically expire their term and cut off all salaries.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  115. Pat

    We can do without:
    Ag Subsidies to all corporations
    Government executive jets
    golf courses and resorts for Military brass in plush locations
    Free health care for congress and federal employees
    Oil company subsidies
    Limos for congress
    Early learning programs and federal summer camps
    Charity deductions
    Deductions for political contributions
    That is enough for now.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  116. Greg

    Foreign Aid: we cant afford to take care of ourselves

    NASA: we cant afford to explore at the expense of our children

    Social Security: offer a buyout to people with IRA's that exceed $100k, have the cash deposited into their IRA's and reduce the federal liability

    Government employee benefits: they should pay a substantial portion of their checks toward medical and retirement like the rest of us

    Education: Shorten the day, students do not need 8 hours of education, homeschool children do it in less than 3 – this would reduce cost by reducing class sizes, allowing teachers to teach a morning and an afternoon class as opposed to one class all day. In addition, this will save: # of schools, desks, chairs, subsidized meals

    Illegal Immigration benefits: If we cannot afford Education, Healthcare and Housing subsidies for citizens, makes sense that we cannot continue to provide for non citizens

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  117. Gary Kole

    Government employees like to call themselves public servants. I don't have health care or vacation time nor retirement. Let the servants give these things up.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  118. Rev JD

    I think the Congress should cut their health care plans. Let them go without health insurance, let them go without our tax dollars paying for their health care.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  119. Lorraine Jones

    I am a full time registered nurse who works in our local emergency room. I would like to see the state (California) ran Medi-Cal be completely eliminated. I have seen such outrageous abuse of this state/county ran medical coverage. I have talked to people who have doctors appointments that day, but wanted to get seen earlier so they came to the ER. I have seen people call 911 to get an ambulance ride to the ER because they didn't want to wake any of their family members, or were too lazy to walk or call a cab. I have seen people who have already been seen by their medical doctor come in after their visit because they didn't get the prescription they wanted from their doctor. These people are tying up the emergency room for real emergencies and we, the tax payers are paying the entire bill, THEY DONT PAY A SINGLE CENT!!!! Oh, and by the way, a good majority of these are immigrants who had a child here in the US and now are citizens, even though they have not contributed anything to the system. It absolutely makes me sick to know our beautiful state is suffering because of scumbags like these.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  120. Sung

    We had a good start today by denying the additional F-22 jets. There is no doubt in my mind it has to start with the outrageous Defense/Military budget. Most of the weapons designed and built are never actually used. And they also can use better oversight on the huge defense contracts they do need. Stop the blank check giveaway and make sure the money is being used correctly. For example: If I hire a contractor to do a job on my house, I'm not giving him all the money upfront, especially on a big job. I'll pay as there is progress being made.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  121. Keith

    Why do we need a government again?

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  122. april

    Programs related to safety, law enforcement and the maintenance of basic infrastructure are the only programs that a government should be spending money on at all. And I'm sure if we took a close look at how dollars are spent on these programs, we would find a tremendous amount of waste – not to mention the padding of someone's pockets. There's no way anyone can convince me that States are going bankrupt due to tax shortage. They're going bankrupt due to greed and stupidity.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  123. Nick

    Eliminate ALL tax loopholes to make sure all businesses pay their rightful share. This will not only flush the public with immediate cash, but long term it will force businesses to make better decisions about what products and services to bring to market, eliminating waste via the free market.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  124. Michael McLarney

    Best start would be to eliminate congressional micromanaging of various agencies. CNN just did a story on the problem of no competitive bidding at Medicare and congressionally imposed inflated pricing. $1200 for a $300 wheelchair? Oh yeah, screw the taxpayer and fill your re-election fund with money from health care special interests. That is what is stalling affordable healthcare for all. After that we can start cleaning up the Defense and State Departments' spending as well. Or maybe we should begin with congressional perks and the Congressional Budget Office first!

    Michael in Broke Sacramento, CA

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  125. Gloria Williams

    Streamline and update computer systems in almost all areas of government to allow collaboration and file sharing, as appropriate. People working on obsolete, non-integrated systems are the largest loss of efficiency and misuse of manpower. Improved integration and use of electronic documentation management systems is critical. How can the DMV not use credit cards and only accept cash and check in 2009!? A non-partisan business-process analysis team should be created to review every agency and provide the recommendations needed to ensure security, privacy, business efficiencies and data integrity are included in the redesigned process models.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  126. Julio Ramirez

    Jack,

    Cut the department of education. What is its true purpose? States run (i mean CUT) the public education system anyway. States have their own tests such as Florida's FCAT required to graduate high school. Destroy the entire department and pump that money directly into the treasury and maybe some of the national debts can begin to be paid off.

    -Julio Ramirez
    Miami, FL

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  127. WarpedBob

    They should cut back on all the services I'm not currently using. The only one that should be receiving government funds are me and causes I care about.

    Oh and no taxes on anything. Why does the government need my money when it can just print it's own.

    (this is meant to be sarcastic if you can't tell)

    July 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  128. Catherine (Boston)

    What government services are you willing to see reduced or eliminated?

    Answer: none. Our two young adult children with autism have been the recipient of many government sponsored services not available privately, and our income was never a factor. We hover near the top five percent, and would welcome a tax code changed to fund our health care system and make services accessible to those who desperately need them. Trust me, the folks President Obama wants to tap for it will never even feel the pinch.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  129. Rod

    What happened to the promise from President Obama, During The Campaign, President Obama Pledged To “Go Line By Line” And “Eliminate Programs That Don’t Work.” Obama: “I want to go line by line through every item in the Federal budget and eliminate programs that don’t work, and make sure that those that do work work better and cheaper.” (Sen. Barack Obama, NBC Presidential Debate, Nashville, TN, 10/7/08).

    July 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  130. Lynn Dell

    I am not willing to give up services I want. We get what we pay for. The tax cut fervor that swept the country has brought us to this point. Be willing to pay for sevices and let taxes be raised a reasonable amount.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  131. Monica

    Scrap annual raises for congress! The people should decide if they have earned a raise...and I really cannot recall in recent memory when they have actually earned the yearly raise they give themselves year after year.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  132. John A

    Govt should increase spending and I should figure out how I can channel some of the spending to myself.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  133. Sheyleah

    How about Congress's golden fleece?

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  134. Jim K

    Military / Foreign Aid. It's really stupid to borrow money from one country and then turn around and give it to another one. We send billions of dollars every year to Egypt, Israel, and Pakistan. We could use that money here. We should not give military / foreign aid to any country for any reason during any year that we are running a budget deficit.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  135. Henry Derenoncourt

    Hi Jack,

    Eliminating or cutting services and programs by government is not the answer to the nation problems. The core of the economic problem has to do with the lack of manufacturing in this country and the skyrocketting home sales of the last decade. We need to find a way to bring manufacturing back to the land. The next stimulus spending spree must go directly to two sectors. One, reduce the mortgages on home purchased five years ago or less by 20% and by 10% on homes purchased between five and ten years ago. Second, create tax incentives for manufactures that are producing clothing, footwear, toys, elctronics, etc so the jobs can stay home and grow in numbers.
    These two sectors were not in peril when the United States was at its peak economic boom. So, we should just go back to basic and prosper again.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  136. doug Santimore

    The Government needs a complete over haul. A non-partisan group needs to look at each dept. and get rid of the non workers & the NO-SHOW jobs.
    If the President wants the support this would be a step in the right direction. As far as the Senators & Representatives on the hill, they should have there retirement programs scaled back, just like the unemployed Americans have been forced to do.

    I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THE ARROGANCE !!!!!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  137. Dave from Grass Valley, CA

    Stop printing every publication in multiple languages. Make citizenship a requirement for obtaining government services. Get rid of the teacher unions and the nonperforming teachers. Stop income tax deductions for dependents. Make the churches pay property tax because they use the same services as the homeowner.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  138. cheryl

    Jack, the way I see it...I think the people who get 100 percent disability and SSI need to be over hauled. I see capable bodies doing all kinds of work, (cutting tree's down and shooting pool) but yet they say they can't work for some odd reason. So we(tax's payers) give them money so they can have there house's and cars and plenty to eat. How is that fair? Just like the Insurance company we need to take photo's of these people in there every day lives, and prove that they are able bodies. Maybe bruised and maybe tired, but none the less able to work like the rest of America!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  139. craig

    I would be willing to see any State or Federal funds that are used to do abortions be cut. Also any State or Federal funds that are used to support ILLEGAL aliens in our country. Lets face it, my taxes should not be used to pay for these things. How about giving us a list things our taxes can be used for and we pick which ones they go to. Also I don't think all of the senates and congress pay should be reduced to at least half of what they are getting now and make them pay for their own health care.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  140. andrea

    Cut the benefits, pension plans and compensation of the House and Senate members. They need to step up to the plate and beand lead the way like real leaders do – if they want to get this country out of the recession.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  141. Claudia

    We can do away with all the infighting shenanigans of congress, and the doomsayers that took us down this road to start with. then if congress could agree to serve the interests of the people again, maybe they could learn to stick to the budgets we all have to in our daily lives.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  142. Burt in Sun Lakes, Az

    Nancy Pelosi's private Jet.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  143. Andrew, Amherst NY

    Get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, it' make up nearlly 50% of the National budget and 50% of my states budget.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  144. Fred Tomasello

    Stop bailing out bloated, greedy banks; auto companies who can't compete; insurance companies that run Ponzi schemes; the military-industrial-congressional complex and their exorbitant waste on high-tech weaponry; no bid contracts to companies like Halliburton, et.al.; billions of dollars in cash given to bribe Iraqis; allowing Medicare and Medicaid to be ripped off by greedy Doctors and Insurance Companies; and they've spent all these trillions without a shred of accountability!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  145. wondermommaX5

    Times are tough for almost everyone right now. When I have to choose between one bag of apples or two at the grocery store because of their price, I feel like I'm letting my kids down. Later as I'm getting ready to check out the person in front of me in line has a cart full of assorted chips and cookies, soda, and ice cream...and they pay with their EBT food card!! Now, I don't mind helping people out, but why should I have to pay for their snacks!?!? I'd like to see the USDA ban junk foods and sodas being able to be purchased with food stamps. Maybe then we can reduce the amount of assistance each family gets.

    Jen

    Thornville, ohio

    July 21, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  146. D.R. Texas

    Jack that is a hard question to answer,I had reather see the Gov. quit balling Banks & Auto ind. Looks like to me the Gov. is trying to elemate the OLD & POOR.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  147. Brian Long

    "The two wars"- Is there really anything else left in those two coutries to blow up (now we are blowing up poppy fields...). NEW road construction, we can not afford to maintain the roads we have and it contributes to urban sprawl. Subsidizing the "Free Market" corporations with taxpayer dollars,,, oximoron in itself no explanation necessary. "Pet Projects" of lawmakers in local areas – this is simply not the responsibility of the US Government.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  148. John Sapey

    Perhaps the first cut would be politicans benifits, such as their 401K, their health care benefits, and retirement pay. They should be paid based on their performance an the quality of life in their districts. This would cause a rude awaking.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  149. Judith wichhart

    Jack, As a nurse that works in a small california community. I would like to see those people that continually abuse their health to have limited health care. We have chronic abusers/ drug abusers in to get a fix when their ssi has run out before the end of the month or as we call them in taking funds from working people who can't afford medical insurance/care. I am tried of seeing hard hardworking people not able to get health care leaving hospital care too early because they are afraid of the bill that will send them into bankrupsy. As for myself. I work hard, do not need assistance from anyone even though I have chornic back pain.So I do not need any assistance Except the police that protect me and my community from those that have no respect for me or themselves

    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  150. Patty

    I think we should give all the politicians the pink slips. They haven't done a good job yet they have have job, they get well, they have health insurance & who knows what other perks they get. But If they worked for any other company they would have been fired along time ago for the bad job they done so far!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  151. bam, Asheville, NC

    One measure of a civilized society is its ability to take care of its own. Instead of cutting programs that help average Americans, let's cut corporate welfare, offshore tax havens, tax breaks for the rich, and waste in the military. The annual budget for the Pentagon costs twice what it would cost to pay for ten years of health care for all Americans.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  152. Leslie Jack

    I would preferably not like to see every Government service eliminated but have them all reduced, assuming that they all are necessary, otherwise abolish all that are unnecessary; but retain all that are necessary for life and limb, which would include food, shelter among others, without any reduction. These are difficult times and anything else that is necessary organize citizens to give their services gratis to get along until this fiscal mess is behind us.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  153. Terence Gaffney

    Government Services (MONIES) – 1/ STOP sending BILLIONS of dollars overseas to foreign countries – regardless of what is IN PLACE and has been for many many years!............2/ STOP giving BILLIONS to ILLEGAL people in the USA and have them repatriated........3/ Start taxing the wealthy very heavily until the USA financial situation gets back to normal (see how fast these people will start doing things to HELP the economy)..........4/ Start TAXING large amounts on these USA businesses that make BILLIONS for themselves by having their factories OVERSEAS for CHEAP HELP and BIGGER PROFITS for themselves. Now this is a good START! Both you and Lou Dobbs are doing a terrific job on TV – getting the honest word out to the public.... Good luck.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  154. Mike in St. Paul

    Congress and the Senate have become careers. The politicians main goal is to get re-elected so they will try to buy us whatever they think their loyal followers will want. If it is a war in Iraq or health care, some constituency wins.
    Without term limits they will continue to milk the taxpayers while trying to get re-elected.
    They should also revoke their retirement benefits and get on Social Security like the rest of us. A 401k would replace their huge retirement plan. And they should get the same insurance that the average American has.
    They have voted themselves great benefits and these need to be changed.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  155. Bill Hamby

    I think it is time to stop talking about cutting and start talking about creating. We need to stop looking for ways to cut spending, and look for ways of creating revenue. This means using coal-derivitive products to create "green jobs" for production of such. Allowing things that are now idiotically illegal, like marijuana, to become legal to create more revenues. I am tired of the "cut, cut, cut" mentality that congress has. It is time we have the "make money" mentality.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  156. John in Boston

    First, cut military spending in half by leaving Iraq and Afganistan (there is no good outcome in either war and no purpose) and eliminating large, unnecessary programs like the F-22. We spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Second, force congressional representatives to participate in the same retirement and healthcare programs as most US citizens so they can "feel our pain." Third, eliminate all non-essential pork projects, like those highlighted in the stimulus package (research into pig smell, saving the environment for the coastal mouse in SF bay, etc. ) and only allow congress to legislate infrastructure rebuilding projects until the economy recovers.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  157. Bucky Freeman

    Jack,
    Government services that I would be willing to give up.
    For starters the so called "public service". That would be the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. What they call public service has evolved into what is commonly called "SELF SERVICE".

    Bucky in Penna.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  158. Adam, Chicago, Illinois

    I'd start a L.I.P.A. (legal immigrant protection agency) Run it exactly like the epa runs. Massive fines for companies not in compliance with the law. Raid every place in America that employs illegals and fine them, fine them, fine them. The epa is WILDLY profitable using this system of revenue generation.

    No benefits for illegals. None. 12 million people CAN drain a nation of 300 million. It is not a coincidence that California went down the drain the hardest financially.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  159. John - Houston, TX

    Okay, that's easy, Jack !
    We should eliminate the Congress and the House of Representatives... They are not worthy all the money we spend with them. Look at our country's situation. If we have to pay them to do the job that benefits only the Lobbyists and their big corporations we should at least let only the Lobbyists pay for their job any way...

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  160. Jim Reynoldson

    Why not cut funding for NASA, and maybe transition space exploration to being a privately-funded venture. I find it strange that our culture does not publicly fund (yet) something as vital as health care, yet we publicly fund space research. I'm not saying space research isn't important – I believe it is – but it seems private companies would love to step in and fill that void......Either that or charge adventurous super-rich folks a TON of money for the experience of going into space. Heck, we could probably not only fund NASA, but also turn a profit to make up for shortages elsewhere!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  161. Jerry Bunn

    Where to begin.........
    Eliminate tobacco subsidies and cut back all farm subsidies if not eliminate them.
    Eliminate the maximum for Social security deductions.
    Eliminate Congress's retirement program and require them to take Social Security.
    Pull out of Iraq.
    These would be a good start, but given time, I could add many more.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  162. Dennis

    Government, at all levels, needs to stop budgeting in the short-term and look at the long term cost-benefit ratio of various spending programs. One area they could look at is raising the retirement age of government workers from 55 to 62 and increasing the vesting tenure for retirement from 5 years to at least ten years. Too many government employees are able to retire, without penalty, at 55 years of age and 20 years of service. Made sense once upon a time, but life expectancy has increased and it no longer makes sense.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  163. Marcus L. Wilkes

    Too many laws. People are thrown into jails routinely for the smallest of crimes. A verbal dispute can land a person in jail, or even questioning a policeman on the nature of their complaint. Even a seat belt violation costs the system in terms of processing the complaint, paperwork, personnel time, loss productivity at work, maintaining documentation, etc. Every time the legislature meets they make new laws which will cost citizens more. There has to be a better way to manage society other than economic penalties or excessive denial of privileges. We have more people in jail than any other industrialized country, and they tell us we need more jails and prisons. We will need more prisons if people are routinely turned into criminals and forced to accept penalties which will deny jobs, even after they have paid their debt to society.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  164. Jimmy

    eliminate any and all benefits given ti illegals aliens and work in deporting them NOW

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  165. William

    Quick perusal of responses demonstrates the fact that this question can not be easily answered. One person's "pork" is another person's job. Cut funding to let's say the DMV and everyone complains that the lines are too long, so is a fully staffed DMV wasteful government spending? Cut money to Medicaid and even fewer doctors will see patients. Cut money to Medicare same situation. This simple question of cutting is complex and has no easy answer.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  166. Gloria Williams

    While NASA is an important scientific undertaking for our nation, we should not continue to search the stars and the galaxy when we need to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, heal the sick here at home, here on earth. Remember on every flight they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first. And so it is true that we need to put our resources to work at home first.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  167. Linda from Florida

    We get what we pay for. If we are not willing to see a small tax increase that can be justified don't complain. I am willing to pay for what I want.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  168. Mark

    Start cutting TSA jobs at airports. They are extremely overstaffed. All they do is stand around and harass everyone.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  169. Kevin

    Jack,

    Start with this.

    1. All Federal employees get health care at a discount only for themselves. Not their families. That's what I get.

    2. Stop paying secretaries 80k per year. And, I dont care if housing costs a lot. Dont buy, rent. Maybe then housing prices would come down. Gee, that might even benefit those that arent overpaid.

    3. No lifetime benefits for politicians at all. They get cash after life in office by doing speaking engagements and other services. We surely dont need to supplement this.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  170. Mark Blackford

    Jack,
    We can start by stopping funding of abortions – especially to foreign countries. We can make our representitves pay for their own transportation, buy their own lunch, get the same health care benfits we do. Then we can trim up the welfare roles, stop printing voter pamphlets in any language other than English (if you want to be American you really ought to learn the language.) Next we can put a tax on EVERY ATHLETE THAT MAKES OVER 2 MILLIION A YEAR – ACTORS TOO. Lastly, I think if you want socialized medicine you should pay into the system out of your own coffers – for those who really want to help their brother and can afford it. Then we get rid of all the support team for our legislators and let them answer their own emails. That's just to start. Next we go after the public school system and it's anemic return on investment. A beaurocracy laden unionized dinosaur that could'nt tread water in a wading pool – all funding should be stopped immediately and schools should receive funds based on performance. There's a start.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  171. Fred Afar

    The harsh reality is that we need government services. Infrastructure needs to be maintained, defense is a necessity and we cannot walk away from pension obligations for public employees (one of the greatest expense categories for many government agencies and school districts). Shifting spending from federal to local or visa-versa will not make the spending go away. Privatizing highways, parks, etc. will also not make spending disappear. So come to think of it, there really is no such thing as a free lunch. Unless we want to live in a third world environment, government spending won’t go away, leaving us with two alternatives – increase taxes or continue our pattern of deficit spending.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  172. Zack from Indy

    Cut down on welfare. We have generations of families receiving the welfare. There should be a limit on time when "legitimately" receiving benefits. No more than six month and not to healthy person(s) who are unwilling to work because they are too lazy. Some people are living off of the number of kids they have and tax payers should not support them.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  173. John

    I second what one other person says; cut back on NASA. We've been to the moon, hooray for the USA! But what has that and all the trips to the space station actually done for society?? Sure, we here that they're performing studies. But what are some specific benefits of all those billions of dollars??

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  174. Lynnette-California

    Stop all social services to illegals and their children.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  175. Al Gill

    End the "war on drugs", which is an ongoing failure of huge magnitude. Rather enforce other, existing laws against violent crimes, careless driving, etc etc etc.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  176. Rebecca Salois

    I can't make an informed opinion, as I do not know all the options. If you are asking on a federal level, then I would like to see the payroll for the house and senate be drastically reduced and that the 'status' of 'servant of the people' be restored as an honor rather than a road to riches, power and alienation from the working class. The program to keep old presidents, etc. with continued secret service protection (on the taxpayers dime) for the rest of their lives ....well......that can go. They should pay for their own after they leave office.

    R. Salois
    Liberty, Missouri

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  177. michael from california

    invest in the people and the infrastructure of the U.S. first > invest our hard earned taxes in health, energy, education, transportation > feed, educate and provide work equally towards a more healthy and productive America

    July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  178. victor aponte

    Let,s see! How about the do nothing congress, The us senate and the house of representatives. Did I miss anything??

    July 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  179. Linda W.

    Parks...libraries...city beautification...endangered species...climate change...free recreation and entertainment. I spend a lot of time in libraries, I love 'em. Likewise parks. Rec centers and free concerts are great for the kids and grandkids. But when times are tough, luxuries are the first to go. Time to get down to basics. And yes, I consider endangered species and climate change luxuries.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  180. Ronnie B

    Congress & Senators Use simple fair pay for Good job. no Bonus/ Raises when so many people are loosing jobs. Take the axe and cut all the pork belly and make it that if these people that are paid to repersent Us summits a bill that it only cantains items of that nature, not extra bridges to nowhere etc. that money could have been used for Job training/placement,higher education, food for the homeless/ poor.....

    July 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  181. William Morison II

    I believe our health care system works,, and that low income folks are able to find healthcare. I object to the fact that many do not earn that care. The government does not fix your car if you damage it...why should those who abuse their bodies get repaid. I am 90 years of age, I take care of my body by limiting quantity, and drink moderately.
    Daily I am exposed to hundreds of people, and observe 300 lb fathers, with 200 lb mothers, tugging along 75 preteens, all obviously overeating...why should my tax money be wasted on those who don't use care?

    July 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  182. Willy Wanderer

    All of you fools who say eliminate congress....should be ashamed of yourselves. REALLY? What good is that going to do, maybe then, we could watch our entire society fall apart becuase even less will get done. We could always become to a dictatorship too, that would be fun. Your all morons.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  183. rosemarie falcone

    lake worth, florida

    all gov agencies MUST be held responsible and accountable for the running of their programs. these agencies did not go broke overnight. we should be able to "FIRE" incompetancy.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  184. Jay Lank

    Jack,

    I would vote to get rid the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
    Such a top heavy, over bureaucratize, useless angency
    has never existed before in the history of civilization. Everytime
    I go people are lined up out the door, and around the corner with fists full of 20 dollar bills .To think this is going at every RMV in every city and town across the country and they still lose money every year is simply mind boggling. Its an agency gone completely haywire, and out of control.
    Jay Lank
    Boston MA

    July 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  185. Rani

    We should cut the health benefits of lawmakers who can't seem to provide us with public health care. They should be able to manage on what the health care industry and lobbyists give them to keep us from having that option.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  186. Dave

    The federal government should focus on only four things:
    1) Immigration – (Currently ignored)
    2) Defense
    3) Interstate Commerse
    4) Trade with Other Countries

    All other programs should be cut. Taxes need to be restructured so that the states send the Feds just need.

    We need to restructure the government back to the way it was when the country was founded. Give teh states all teh power and a weak federal government.

    Only then could be begin paying off the massive debt that the feds have incurred under Bush/Obama.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  187. StL Pastor

    I'd love to see the military reduced by 30%. I think spending as much as the rest of the world combined, rather than more than the rest of the world combined ought to be ample. That would free up plenty of money for health care, renewable energy, education and still reduce the national debt.

    Plus, I'd be happy to pay more for better public transit and health care.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  188. Greg Erickson

    Re-read the Constitution, then the Bill of Rights. Pay specific attention to the Bill of Rights, Article 10.

    Then, at the federal level, delete the Deptartments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Energy, Veterans Affairs (recombine with the DoD),.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  189. Margaret M. Dardis

    I- and every American can do without the educational system of Abstinence Only and every child, including a lot of Congress, left behind in 1st grade- how many people know what EXPONENTIAL means? (At the present rate of abstaining, if no war or asteroid by 3000 A.D., there will be ONE person for EVERY SQUARE FOOT of Earth's land mass. That's without adjusting for global warming!)

    July 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  190. Rick Crosby

    Cut the military to DEFENSE only: no more offense spending. Are we willing to cut our kids education, or our friend's unemployment, or healthcare for the elderly, just so we can drop a $200,000 bomb in some God-forsaken place that will hate us all the more for it? Not me...

    July 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  191. Erica

    I'd suggest to see the welfare system in California reduced. They need to cut out those who have wasted and abused the funds. Sadly enough, that will hurt those who truely need and benefit from the sysyem. But too much money has been wasted on those who have turned it into an employment agency.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  192. andyzag Lynn, MA

    I just read again The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Nowhere does it say anytthing about deficit spending. How did this start? When did we allow it? This, fellow citizens, is what hapens when we stop caring about our government; our government stops caring about us!

    July 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  193. Lisa

    The best way to get the senate to pass health care reform is to stop their health care coverage until they are able to get it finalized. If they had to go through what uninsured people go through I bet they would get it passed in a hurry.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  194. Keith, CO

    Take a good look at congress's payroll lets roll back all those raises they gave themselves. Same with the house. Next a windfall profit tax on big oil. 40 Billion in profits last year. {record breaking profits}
    Next we have to slash state budgets that means no more pet projects.

    I'd agree to slashing welfare programs, except that usually causes crime to skyrocket. People without education and skills often turn to crime.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  195. t.j

    lets try if it fails we can always rectify problems.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  196. Guy King

    Reduce money spent on foreign aid. Require gov't employees and members of congress to live one the same kind of health, retirement and lifestyle benefits that the average American must live with. Legalize marijuana and tax it. Get rid of illegal aliens and stop the flow of money out of the country as well as end benefits to those who dol not use the legal route to citizenship. Give the president a budgetary line-item veto, and provide a way for the citizens to affect the budget as well (perhaps some kind of ombudsman). Add term limits, require open meetings at all levels of government. Control and reduce government-military pensions. for people who go on to lucrative careers after their public service.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  197. michael from california

    end the war on drugs and start one with the pharmaceuticals > forget about NASA for now and heal with this planet first >

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  198. me

    Set congressional pay for senators and congressmen at minimum wage and stop the retirement benefits. Serving in congress should not be a career – it should be a service. If it didn't pay so well, it would reduce the incentive to serve multiple terms.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  199. Come Sailaway

    During the 1929 Great depression property taxes in Florida were ELIMINATED for most middle class people by the $25,000 Florida Homestead exemption. Since back then most houses were worth less than that then taxes went to zero while 30% of the population was unemployed.

    Now, property taxes are $5000 on a $200K house. Do the politicians care – nahh, they just spend more!

    Why can't they be eliminated to give us unemployed a relief?

    July 21, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  200. Steve

    Each dollar spent on drug and alcohol treatment saves 5 to 7 dollars in other services-prison, welfare, law enforcement. If we provide treatment to those that seek it we reduce the "war on drugs" expense, the military doesn't have to bomb the crops that provide terrorist money, this would reduce crime and so on. Getting people clean and sober also creates healthy families and people that contribute to society rather than take from it. In Oregon about 1/3 of our budget goes to human services. The cost of drugs and alcohol to our nation is huge.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  201. Bob

    Since most companies are cutting out pensions for their employees, I think it is only fair that the government should cut out those pensions as well. Also have them pay for part of their healthcare like most working citizens are required to do.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  202. iyapo kontar

    The congress should pass a bill that the Goverment will pay no

    more that 5000 Dollars for any any members congress health

    insurance.

    then lest see what they say then, The Dem,s pass this bill.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  203. George

    Cut the corporate welfare for the military-industrial complex. A 25% reduction in this area (600+ billion annually) saves 150 billion per year.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  204. Five 7

    Jack, we don't need to cut anything...

    The gov't needs to be smarter about where our money goes and how it's used. End worthless "Wars on Whatever", and focus our energy, money, and manpower towards tangible returns, like stabilizing our economy.
    As citizens, we need to be more dynamic and open minded in our thinking. No job is below any American, especially if you went from $0.00 to $7.25 an hour. Legalizing, taxing and regulating certain recreational drugs (plural) wouldn't hurt our situation either.

    – Five 7, New Mexico

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  205. len

    foreign aid,,,thats where the cuts should be made,trillions wasted so despots can stay in power.and thier citizens are left in poverty,use the money here.i will tell you the same as i tell our canadian govt,look after your own,use our tax dollars to fix our problems,dont waste on what you can never fix.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  206. Devin

    Cut the pork!

    Keep the police, fire, military, prisons, teachers, infrastructure, and a few basic services. Nearly everything else results in unnecessary access taxes. Think of how much more money those of us in the middle class would have if we weren't taxed on all the other inefficient entitlements. We would even have enough to pay for healthcare and our own retirements. (gasp!)

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  207. LL

    The picture in this article is exactly what is wrong with America. Instead of going to their jobs or trying to find work so that they can change their situation, these people have choosen to stand on a streeet corner and ask the government for a hand out. We shouldn't be helping people who won't try and help themselves.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  208. Greg

    Cut NASA – no need to go to space. Nothings up there.
    Cut Foreign Aid to countries that don't need it (i.e. Isreal, Russia, India, Pakistan, etc)
    Cut money for Wars (Trillions in Iraq, Grenada, etc)
    Cut perks for politicians.
    Cut useless research
    Cut all politically motivated programs (no child left behind, Abstinence).

    July 21, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  209. Brandon

    Jack,

    In California the simplest thing to do would make CA a part time legislation. Instead of these full time jokes that only do what the big unions tell them to do, we need people who want to hammer out a decent budget in 90 days or less and then get home to their normal daily job. 40+ states already are part time why not CA?

    July 21, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  210. Matt

    When there is an emergency, they say, "all non-essential government employees should not come to work today." How about if all non-essential government employees don't ever go to work?

    Here in California, we fund projects to regulate, reduce, and monitor trans fats in restaurants, but we can't afford to pay people their tax refund – the amount the government forcibly borrowed from them without paying interest.

    Federal income tax is about 30%, then California state income tax is about 8%, then whatever you have left you get to spend – minus 10% sales tax. And when you spend, what are the components of the price you pay for goods and services? labor (employment taxes), transportation (gas and labor taxes), warehousing (property and employment taxes).

    With this massive income, the government still can't stick to a budget.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  211. John

    No new roads until in the black. Fix existing infrastructure first, Bridges and existing roads. Increase the size of school districts, eliminate some superintendents (and staffs) and give more local authority to the principals. Especially true in texas! Reduce the power of the FDA. Simplified tax form with fewer deductions. Eliminate State run "job find" programs, duplicates private sector work force and temp agencies. Private sector has more incentive to find jobs.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:46 pm |