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The federal watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste deserves applause for once again finding ways to eliminate waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse from Washington.

Today CAGW released its 2011 Edition of Prime Cuts, a compendium of 691 waste-cutting recommendations that would save taxpayers $391.9 billion in the first year alone.  Of course, if Congress acted on all the recommendations, it would save taxpayers $1.8 trillion over the next five years. 

According to the report summary of the most essential cuts, “elimination of wasteful and duplicative programs” is one of the most important steps in putting the nation’s financial house back in order.  And CAGW is an equal opportunity butcher, taking the cleaver to just about all areas of government. 

Among the slashes suggested, is the elimination of the Market Access Program (MAP), another form of agricultural corporate welfare; the ineffective National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), which the GAO even described as a redundant effort to combat drugs; as well as the Department of Defense’s Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which is both $2 billion over budget and 10 years behind schedule.

At a time when the national debt has exceeded $14 trillion and Washington lawmakers have shown no real progress toward reforming our largest outlays, entitlement spending, CAGW’s report is an essential outline for how the federal government can get itself back on track.