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How You'd Cut the Federal Deficit

You spoke up loud and clear. But is Washington listening?

assistance to other countries — including disaster assistance, food aid, organizations such as the Peace Corps, and support for anti-narcotics programs — would trim nearly $36 billion from the deficit, according to a report by the Agency for International Development.

4. Abolish entire departments and agencies

Quite a few commenters argued that the best way to slash the deficit would be to stop the government from doing many things that it currently does.

One commenter, for example, proposed abolishing the following departments:

  • Agriculture ($24 billion)
  • Education ($77 billion)
  • Health and Human Services ($80 billion)
  • Housing and Urban Development ($42 billion)
  • Homeland Security ($43 billion)
  • Labor ($13 billion)

Other commenters urged abolishing:

  • Commerce ($9 billion)
  • Energy ($30 billion)
  • Transportation ($128 billion)

Another target was the Environmental Protection Agency, which accounts for $9 billion in the federal budget. Even the 65-year-old National School Lunch Program ($13.6 billion) took a hit.

Abolishing all of these departments and agencies — assuming that they could actually be done away with by 2015 and that their functions wouldn't be transferred elsewhere — would slash the federal deficit by more than two-thirds.

But the meat-cleaver approach leaves a lot of unanswered questions. How would the nation's heavily used Interstate highway system be maintained? Would states no longer provide fruit, sandwiches and milk

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