Citizens Against Government Waste releases Prime Cuts 2017: Balances Budget within three years

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(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today released Prime Cuts 2017, the latest edition of the group’s comprehensive waste-cutting recommendations that would eliminate unnecessary and ineffective federal programs and spending.

Prime Cuts 2017 facts:

  • Prime Cuts has been published annually since 1993 and addresses every area of government spending.
  • 607 recommendations from bipartisan and nonpartisan sources including the Government Accountability Office, Congressional Budget Office (CBO), President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget, and former President Obama’s “Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings” budget recommendations.
  • Total savings from Prime Cuts 2017 are $336.2 billion in the first year and $2.3 trillion over five years.
  • Since CAGW’s inception in 1984, the implementation of the group’s recommendations has saved taxpayers more than $1.8 trillion.
  • The CBO estimates that the FY 2017 budget deficit will be $693 billion. Therefore, if all the Prime Cuts recommendations are adopted, a balanced budget could be achieved within three years.
  • At a speech to the Urban League in Philadelphia on September 7, 2016, President Trump promised: “I will ask that savings be accomplished through common sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks.”


  • Eliminate the Market Access Program (MAP), a corporate welfare program that funnels taxpayer dollars to large, profitable corporations and trade associations. Eliminating MAP would save nearly $1 billion over five years.
  • Eliminate the $500 million earmark in FY 2017 for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The F-35 is currently $170 billion over budget and on pace to become the most expensive weapon system in history, including an estimated lifetime cost of $1 trillion for operation and maintenance.
  • Cutting funds for the Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs) has bipartisan support. Former President Obama recommended reducing funding for CDBGs because, “the demonstration of outcomes [is] difficult to measure and evaluate,” and President Trump’s FY 2018 budget would eliminate the grants altogether, saving $3.2 billion in one year.
  • Eliminate the sugar, dairy, and peanut programs, which would collectively save $1.5 billion in one year.
  • Suspending federal land purchases would save $466 million in the first year.
  • Repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act would save $512 million in one year.
  • Reducing Medicare improper payments by 50 percent and increasing the use of software asset management tools would also save taxpayers billions of dollars.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said in a statement:

“By following the blueprint provided by CAGW’s Prime Cuts 2017, wasteful government spending would be dramatically cut, and the U.S. would achieve a balanced budget within President Trump’s first term. The only way to put the nation on a path toward fiscal sanity is for leaders to make bold decisions to reduce waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. Prime Cuts 2017 is an invaluable resource for them to achieve that objective.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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