Downsizing the Federal Government

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About the Book

The federal government is running huge budget deficits, spending too much, and heading toward a financial crisis. Federal spending has soared under President George W. Bush, and the costs of programs for the elderly are set to balloon in coming years. Hurricane Katrina has made the federal budget situation even more desperate.

In Downsizing the Federal Government Cato Institute budget expert Chris Edwards provides policymakers with solutions to the growing federal budget mess. Edwards identifies more than 100 federal programs that should be terminated, transferred to the states, or privatized in order to balance the budget and save hundreds of billions of dollars.

Edwards proposes a balanced reform package of cuts to entitlements, domestic programs, and excess defense spending. He argues that these cuts would not only eliminate the deficit, but also strengthen the economy, enlarge personal freedom, and leave a positive fiscal legacy for the next generation.

Downsizing the Federal Government discusses the systematic causes of wasteful spending, and it overflows with examples of federal programs that are obsolete and mismanaged. The book examines the budget process and shows how policymakers act contrary to the interests of average Americans by favoring special interests.

The book has won praise from experts from across the political spectrum. It has received favorable reviews by Ronald Reagan’s budget chief James Miller, Nobel Prize economist James Buchanan, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), and Isabel Sawhill, a top budget expert at the Brookings Institution.

Downsizing the Federal Government is the recipient of the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty.

About the Author

Chris Edwards is director of tax policy at the Cato Institute and was formerly senior economist on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress.

What Others Have Said

“In an era of rapid technology change and business innovation, the federal government remains a bloated and duplicative dinosaur. Chris Edwards brilliantly shows us how to downsize its operations and makes a convincing case that ‘less is more’ when it comes to government. This is the blueprint for reform that should be read by every American interested in policy and every candidate for Congress and the presidency.”

—Donald Lambro, Chief Political Correspondent, Washington Times

“In this important new book, Chris Edwards provides fresh insights to understanding a Washington establishment that has grown far too big. He presents a bold and detailed plan to reduce the size of the government and take a first step to restoring America’s heritage of liberty. Every taxpayer should read this book.”

—John Berthoud, President, National Taxpayers Union

“Yes, government is fat and this book prescribes a radical diet, plus surgery, to get its weight down. Many will take offense at some of the proposed spending cuts, but the need for America to start living within its means cannot be denied. Read this book to see how deep our fiscal hole is and one brave and bruising way out.”

—Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN)

“A responsible program‐​by‐​program set of proposals to get the federal government within reasonable limits. Utopian, indeed, but only to those who are blind to the dystopia that looms.”

—James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economics

“One of the great disappointments of Republican rule is the failure to get spending under control. In this well‐​researched book, Chris Edwards shows one way, and there are others. Such proposals need to be taken seriously to put the federal budget on a sustainable path.”

—James C. Miller III, Director, White House Office of Management and Budget, 1985–1988

“Most conservatives wave their arms about cutting spending, but do nothing. Chris Edwards has finally shown how it can be done.”

—Isabel V. Sawhill, Vice President and Director, Economic Studies, Brookings Institution