Yesterday I dinged Ted Cruz for blathering about how he'd eliminate five cabinet departments. Big deal. The programs would just go elsewhere. Instead, tell me what programs you'd eliminate.
As it turns out, Cruz does have a list of programs he wants to get rid of. It's really hard to find because his website is a horrific mess, but here it is:
- Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative
- Climate Research Funding for the Office of Research and Development
- Climate Resilience Evaluation Awareness Tool
- Global Methane Initiative
- Green Infrastructure Program
- Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
- New Starts Transit Program
- Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund
- Regulation of CO2 Emissions from Power Plants and all Sources
- Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles
- Renewable Fuel Standard Federal Mandates
- UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- UN Population Fund (abortion)
- USDA Catfish Inspection Program (genuinely wasteful)
- Appalachian Regional Commission (helps poor people)
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Obama program)
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting (culture war)
- Corporation for Travel Promotion (???)
- Legal Services Corporation (helps poor people)
- National Endowment for the Arts (culture war)
- National Endowment for the Humanities (culture war)
- Presidential Election Campaign Fund (no one uses it anymore)
- Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (???)
- Sugar Subsidies (anti-Rubio)
- Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (part of hated Obama stimulus program)
I've re-ordered this list to make clear just how much Cruz hates climate change. Nearly half of his cuts are to programs related to the environment or climate change. Cruz also wants to ditch some culture warrior stuff (arts, humanities, public broadcasting), some anti-liberal stuff (legal services, CFPB, TIGER), some anti-Rubio stuff (sugar subsidies), and some genuinely stupid stuff (USDA catfish inspection, a clever protectionist measure beloved of catfish-producing states).
So how much would this save? Cruz says $50 billion per year, but that seems pretty optimistic. The catfish thing, for example, costs $14 million, and lots of items on the list don't cost the government anything. I suppose I could google all 25 of them and see what they add up to, but not today. My horseback guess, though, is maybe $10-20 billion.
I've tried to identify the reasons Cruz hates each of these programs, but I came up blank on two of them: travel promotion and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Maybe they're genuinely wasteful. I'm not sure.
In any case, this is it. Cruz deserves credit for at least making a list, which is more than most candidates are willing to do. But will this actually save more than a tiny fraction of his stupendous tax cuts? Not a chance.