Watchdog Group Finds $1 Trillion in Savings for Debt Commission

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

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 - 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

###

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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