The US Government Cut $102 Million in Waste With Simple Changes: What Can the Average Consumer Save with a Small Trim?

  • Jul 30, 2009

Earlier this spring, President Barack Obama ordered his cabinet secretaries to find $100 million in budget cuts for the current fiscal year, to show that the government was serious about belt-tightening.

In a few short months, they responded with $102 million in savings by making small changes.

According to some government reports, some of the 77 spending cuts included:
• Making double-sided copies at the Department of Justice, a savings of half a million dollars.
• The Forest Service will no longer repaint its new, white vehicles green immediately upon purchase.
• The Army will start packing more soldiers onto R&R flights.
• The Navy will delete unused email accounts
• The Air Force has proposed replacing its specially formulated jet fuel with commercial aviation fuel, which will save nearly $52 million next year.
• The Office of Thrift Supervision, a division of the Treasury, identified and eliminated unused phone lines costing $320,000.
• Both Homeland Security and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chose not to renew their subscriptions to newspapers—a savings of $47,160.
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency is going to save $3.8 million by refurbishing and reusing or selling its emergency trailers instead of scrapping them.

Although these cuts are miniscule compared to the immense size of the overall budget, it just goes to show how simple it is to find ways to cut costs these days by making simple adjustments.

Hopefully, the government will lead the way in energy savings as their next mandate. Imagine the savings that can be had by switching to CFL lights, adjusting the thermostats, using motion detectors to regulate both lighting and air conditioning/heating, switching to water-saving toilets, etc.

Actions speak louder than words, so these new behaviors will set a new tone, both in Washington, and for people everywhere.

Let the President now challenge all Americans to reduce their energy consumption by just 1% per year. In a decade, energy usage can be reduced by 10% or more-without any significant sacrifices by the American people.

In a society where people want to have their cake—and eat it too—small savings are probably the surest way for the mainstream to “get with the program” and reduce their carbon footprint.

Here’s to a greener planet.

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