Emperor for a day

You are Emperor for a Day and the only thing you need to do today is balance the federal budget for fiscal year 2019 -- no 10-year budgeting, no saying the budget will be balanced in nine years.  If you don’t succeed, as the saying goes, “Off with his head!”

According to The Hill (or any source for that matter), the projected Federal budget deficit for 2019 will add up to one trillion dollars in 2019.  Interest on the Federal debt is now the 4th largest budget item ($456 billion in interest on the Federal debt in FY 2018) behind the Department of Defense, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid.

Your challenge today as Emperor is to balance the budget and find $1 trillion to close the budget deficit.  Here is my attempt at balancing the budget for FY 2019:

  1.  Cut $150 billion from the Department of Defense.  If some of this cut can be made up by NATO contributing its fair share, the additional funds can be put back into the Department of Defense.
  2. Eliminate the Department of Agriculture -- savings $18 billion.
  3. Reduce Department of Energy budget to $17 billion.  This preserves nuclear security and science research.  Savings of $11 billion
  4. Cut $100 billion from Medicare by raising the eligibility age to 67 plus changes in end of life care (for example, no more hip replacements for 90 year olds).
  5. Cut $100 billion from Medicaid by implementing a work requirement.
  6. Eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Savings $41 billion.
  7. Raise the Social Security earliest retirement age to 67 (no more age 62).  Savings $201 billion.
  8. Cut Department of Education budget from $68 billion to $10 billion.  The $10 billion will be used to be a national aggregator of education statistics.
  9. Cut the Department of Labor budget from $10 billion to $1 billion.  Savings $9 billion.
  10. Cut Department of Justice from $28 billion to $10 billion.  Savings $18 billion.
  11. Cut Department of Health and Human Services from $65 billion to $30 billion.  Savings $35 billion.
  12. Cap the mortgage deduction to 15 years of deductibility and mortgage interest being deductible on the first $500,000 of the mortgage amount (all properties).  I have no idea of the savings but would you give me $30 billion in additional revenue?
  13. President Trump follows through on his retaliatory tariffs and brings in an additional $80 billion in revenue to the treasury
  14. Eliminate the $40 billion electric car subsidy.

Hmmm… that adds up to $891 billion in savings with $80 billion coming from tariffs -- no income tax increase, no increase in corporate tax rates, no changes in payroll tax rates.

If I don’t find the other $109 billion, my time as emperor will be terminated via guillotine at sunset.  I don’t want to raise taxes on my subjects.  I want to go back to being a serf tomorrow. 

Your help is welcome.  How would you find the $1 trillion needed to balance the budget?

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