The Obama campaign denied that the Democrat is avoiding any mention of cutting or eliminating wasteful spending.
“Restoring fiscal discipline in Washington is one of Barack Obama’s top priorities, which is why he’s laid out a responsible approach that nonpartisan experts say will cut spending,” Obama campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin told The Washington Times in an e-mail Friday.
“He’ll do that by responsibly ending the war in Iraq, where we’re currently spending $10 billion per month, and ending spending practices that aren’t working effectively for the American people, like unnecessary subsidies for health maintenance organizations,” Mr. Cherlin said.
Among the programs targeted for cuts or elimination, Obama campaign officials said, were Reading First, a $1-billion-a-year reading program; replacing subsidies to student loan providers with the government’s Direct Loan program, saving $4 billion a year; and cutting and redirecting the Economic Development Administration, a 1960s Great Society anti-poverty program that has been exploited by wasteful earmarks benefiting wealthy communities.
For fiscal 2008, the deficit jumped to a record $455 billion, reversing a three-year slide from the previous high in 2004 of $412 billion all the way to $162 billion last year. The one-year jump was fueled by both a drop in revenue and a substantial increase in spending.
The Bush administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) “found savings of $47.5 billion in ineffective programs that could be eliminated,” said Andrew Moylan, NTU’s government affairs manager. “There are many other examples where large savings can be achieved.”
Mr. Moylan said the issue of wasteful spending, which grew into a major initiative under the Reagan administration, “has been given short shrift from both presidential campaigns. They have been much more specific about ways they would increase spending than the way they would decrease spending.”
“So far, we haven’t heard from them,” he added.
The list of disposable spending programs that both organizations have compiled is long and costly, but legislation to eliminate them has relatively few supporters in Congress. When Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio Republican, offered an amendment to the agriculture appropriation bill on May 23, 2007, to eliminate the Market Access Program, the House rejected it by a vote of 342-79.
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