For every problem that arises, it seems as if the current establishment spends money first and asks questions later.
Everyone has their own ideas of what should be on the chopping block. Defense ($800b), "welfare" ($700b), the salary for members of Congress... and we should look at the viability of all of these.
We can also minimize "wasteful spending" by improving efficiency, reducing redundancy of programs, and eliminating unused programs.
First: there are programs at the state and federal levels to help with food, medical, and housing. ex: Food stamps, WIC, Basic Food (WA), and an assistance program for legal immigrants that don't qualify for the Basic Food program.
I think that these could (potentially) be rolled up into one program with consistent handling which would reduce overhead and redundancy (semi-related: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-21-183)
The office of Government Accountability (GAO) has prepared recommendations on different areas that Congress can focus on to address some of these, and I have listed a few that I would support (investigation, at least) below:
- Medicaid demonstration waivers: https://www.gao.gov/action-tracker/health-medicaid-demonstration-waivers-2014-21#t=0 Why? It seems a "simple" action to reduce inefficiency in the process
- Tobacco tax rates: https://www.gao.gov/action-tracker/international-affairs-tobacco-taxes-2013-31 Why? I don't have a great reason. I like consistency, and making the tax rates the same for all tobacco products would certainly do that.
- Medicare payments: https://www.gao.gov/action-tracker/health-medicaid-supplemental-payments-2013-26
- I'm actually not sure of this one. On the one hand, it could save billions every year - but it also sounds like it may end up not paying for services Medicaid recipients are getting now
- Similar to the above: https://www.gao.gov/action-tracker/health-medicare-payments-certain-cancer-hospitals-2015-19#t=0
- Military healthcare redundancy: https://www.gao.gov/action-tracker/health-dod-us-family-health-plan-2015-06#t=0
- I need to do more research on this one. I just read the findings right now, and it seems like it would make sense to make care consistent - but I am not sure what downsides there may be yet