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


Separate Art and State

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). March 22, 2017.

Trump’s Budget Cuts Are Fair and Necessary

By Chris Edwards. March 19, 2017.

Donald Trump’s Budget Starts Dismantling the Administrative State

By Ryan Bourne. Reaction. March 16, 2017.

Cato Studies

Options for Federal Privatization and Reform Lessons from Abroad

By Chris Edwards. Policy Analysis No. 794. June 28, 2016.

U.S. Fiscal Imbalance over Time: This Time Is Different

By Jeffrey Miron. White Paper. January 26, 2016.

Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics

By Jonathan Meer and Jeremy West. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 40. December 9, 2015.


Infrastructure Investment

Chris Edwards. Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress. 2015.

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.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Cutting Federal Spending

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cutting Federal Spending.

Special-Interest Spending and Corporate Welfare

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Special-Interest Spending and Corporate Welfare.

Cultural Agencies

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cultural Agencies.


Cutting Wasteful Spending in the Trump Administration

Featuring Chris Edwards. November 30, 2016. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Economic and Financial Issues Facing the Next President

Featuring Chris Edwards and Mark A. Calabria. September 26, 2016. Policy Forum.

Reforming the U.S. Postal Service

Featuring Chris Edwards. June 29, 2016. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Energy Subsidies

By Chris Edwards. December 2016.

Privatizing Amtrak

By Chris Edwards. October 2016.

Agricultural Subsidies

By Chris Edwards. October 2016.