FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2010
1:45 PM

CONTACT: US PIRG

Nicole Tichon
Tax and Budget Reform Advocate
Office: 202-546-9707 X 370
ntichon@pirg.org

Watchdog Group Finds $1 Trillion in Savings for Debt Commission

“Next Trillion” Report From Watchdog Group Gives Debt Commission a Roadmap

WASHINGTON - June 30 - As the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform meets on Wednesday, a good government group identified another $1 trillion in savings and new revenues to reduce the deficit. 

The goal of the bipartisan commission is to balance the budget by 2015 and strengthen the government's long-term financial health.

In The Next Trillion: Fiscal Responsibility Through More Accountability, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group identified a trillion dollars in savings and additional revenue sources by 2015 through, among other measures, holding the government more accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars. This "next trillion" comes on top of an initial trillion identified earlier this spring.

When the Commission was founded last February, U.S. PIRG looked at the existing tax code for loopholes, reviewed government reports on wasteful contracting practices and came up with The First Trillion, an initial list of ways the government can save a trillion dollars by 2015.

In The Next Trillion, U.S. PIRG continued its research to find another trillion dollars that the U.S. government and taxpayers can save.

Key deficit reduction measures include:

  • $160 billion in savings within the Medicare program  by the use of electronic records, better alignment of payments to costs and ending inflated payments to pharmaceutical companies for prescription drugs;
  • $185 billion in savings by ending the practice of purchasing supplies and spare parts that go unused across different branches of the military, and
  • $884 billion in new revenue by implementing a fractional speculation fee on certain stock, bond, options, swap, futures and foreign exchange spot transactions. 

"It's just common sense to look at waste first. The government has to be a better steward of taxpayer dollars regardless of its fiscal status," said Nicole Tichon, Tax and Budget Reform Analyst for U.S. PIRG and author of the report. "We should also hold those who have benefited from government contracts and government bailouts more accountable to taxpayers as well."

"As we saw with the financial reform bill, the banks never want to clean up their own messes. The speculation fee discourages the riskiest trading and could make bankers create their own insurance against future meltdowns. Wall Street can't expect taxpayers to open their wallets whenever high-volume trading goes bad," Tichon continued.

Since the release of The First Trillion report earlier this year, the Administration and Congress have taken some important steps to address the initial cost-saving measures identified. For example, the Administration has collected data and produced additional guidance to help agencies identify wasteful contracts and information technology projects. In addition, Congress ended the practice of subsidizing private student loan lenders and began the process of closing a few international tax loopholes that enable individuals to keep money offshore and untaxed.

Tichon will talk about her findings in The Next Trillion: Fiscal Responsibility Through More Accountability at the June 30 meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform public hearing.

Click here to read Tichon's "In The Public Interest column "Everybody Hates Waste, Right?" in The Huffington Post

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.



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