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Unlikely Allies Offer Billions in Possible Deficit Reduction

There may not be two more unlike groups than the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). NTU was founded in 1969, and sees itself as the "Voice of America's Taxpayers" while U.S. PIRG emerged in the 1970s on college campuses based on a model proposed in a book co-authored by Ralph Nader.

So it was a surprise to see their identical press releases yesterday -- NTU here and U.S. PIRG here.

According to the NTU press release:

"In the midst of the federal budget process, lawmakers remain divided along partisan lines on how to prioritize taxpayer dollars and how to address the fiscal gap between revenues and expenditures. A new report released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) provides our elected leaders with some much-needed common ground for progress. Suggesting over $260 billion of deficit reduction recommendations with appeal from across the political spectrum, “Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide with Deficit Reduction Recommendations for Congress” should act as a roadmap for lowering the deficit without compromising our national priorities.

“The suggestions made in this report are the low-hanging fruit that should be plucked out of our budget before we start cutting public priorities. Special interest giveaways, redundant spending, and government inefficiencies bloat our debt and divert funding from useful programs, and these recommendations represent some of the worst of the worst,” said Michelle Surka, U.S. PIRG Tax and Budget Advocate.

"The two groups who worked on the report have long had divergent policy views on the government’s role in regulation, on what smart tax reform would look like, and on how to handle our national debt. But U.S. PIRG and NTUF have joined forces to identify federal programs that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers should recognize as wasteful and inefficient uses of taxpayer dollars. When the budget is reformed to cut out wasteful spending, we can better work to fund the programs that do work for the public and start to cut down our ballooning debt.

"“Enacting the bipartisan recommendations detailed in this report would be an important step toward reining in wasteful, duplicative, and cronyistic federal spending. Taxpayers want to see leaders establish sound fiscal policy that works towards a balanced budget and reduces the debt. It is time to confront the debt and stop passing it on to the next generation,” said Spencer Woody, NTUF Associate Policy Analyst."

The two groups identified more than 50 "specific cuts." including:

  • $124 billion in savings from eliminating wasteful subsidies to agribusiness and other corporations
  • $78 billion in savings from ending low-priority or unnecessary military programs
  • $25 billion in savings from improvements to program execution and government operations
  • $36 billion in savings from reforms to major entitlement programs

A copy of the 21-page report, "Toward Common Ground 2017: Bridging the Political Divide with Deficit Reduction Recommendations for Congress," is available here.

Now if NTU and U.S. PIRG can find common ground, there is no reason why Congressional partisans cannot work together for the benefit of all Americans to reduce the federal deficit, and, in a few years, begin to make significant dents in the national debt.

Growls readers are encouraged to take a few minutes to write or call their Congressional representatives. Tell them about the common ground developed by NTU and U.S. PIRG, and ask them to go the extra mile in working across the aisle to begin reducing the federal deficit. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Congress.gov. Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

And ask for a written response. And tell them ACTA sent you.

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