Barack Obama went to some big towns in his campaigns and gave some big talk. He vowed to go line-by-line through the federal budget to identify and cut waste. The big talk, it turns out, wasn’t worth the teleprompter it was printed on. He can’t even find the money to run White House tours. The sweet talkin’s done, and all we’ve got are blues in the night.
Mr. Obama had exactly the right idea in 2008 when he said it was important for the president to go about “eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do need operate in a sensible, cost-effective way.” Citizens Against Government Waste released a report called “Prime Cuts” to help Mr. Obama live up to his word.
The waste-watcher group came up with 557 ways he could save $580 billion in the first year and $1.8 trillion over five years without undermining any fundamental government service. A number of the items on the list are familiar because they’ve been listed year after year. “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth,” Ronald Reagan observed, “is a government program.” Now that we’re bogged down in dire straits, the situation should encourage Congress to send these boondoggles to their eternal rest.