The federal government is spending too much, running large deficits, and heading toward a financial crisis. If government spending is not cut, average working families will face huge tax increases that dwarf anything seen in decades. Tax increases would damage the economy and be strongly resisted by the public. As a consequence, policymakers need to begin identifying programs in the federal budget that can be cut, terminated, transferred to the states, or privatized.

More on Federal Budget Policy


Zombie Spending

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). September 24, 2014.

Winning Issues That Aren’t Just about ‘Not Obama’

By Richard W. Rahn. Washington Times. September 15, 2014.

Are We Overspending on Stopping Terrorism?

By John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart. September 10, 2014.

Cato Studies

How to Spend $3.9 Trillion

By Chris Edwards. Tax and Budget Bulletin No. 69. February 14, 2014.

Privatizing the Transportation Security Administration

By Chris Edwards. Policy Analysis No. 742. November 19, 2013.

The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013

By Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes. White Paper. August 19, 2013.


Forget the Fiscal Cliff and the Fear the Debt Crisis

Doug Bandow. The Wainwright Perspective. February 21, 2013.

How Cutting Pentagon Spending Will Fix U.S. Defense Strategy

Benjamin H. Friedman. Foreign Affairs. November 2, 2011.

Rethinking Redistribution

Jeffrey Miron. National Affairs. Winter 2011.

Public Filings

Using a Compact to Amend the Constitution and Balance the Federal Budget

By Ilya Shapiro. Testimony. January 27, 2014.

Reducing Wasteful Federal Spending

By Chris Edwards. Testimony. January 9, 2014.

The Economic Costs of Debt-Ceiling Brinkmanship

By Daniel J. Mitchell. Testimony. September 18, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

OMB’s Reported Benefits of Regulation: Too Good to Be True?

Susan E. Dudley. Regulation. Summer 2013.

Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget

Daniel J. Mitchell. Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2013.

Is America Becoming Greece?

Michael D. Tanner. Cato Journal. Spring/Summer 2013.


Federal Budget Outlook: It’s Worse Than You Think

Featuring Chris Edwards and Daniel J. Mitchell. July 31, 2014. Capitol Hill Briefing.

At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge?

Featuring John R. Lott, Jr. and David Boaz. April 19, 2013. Book Forum.

Tax Cutting and Economic Growth: Lessons from the Coolidge Tax Reform

Featuring Daniel J. Mitchell and Marian L. Tupy. April 11, 2013. Policy Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government