CBO report list ways for government to save now

What's standing in the way of changes?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 9, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As if I don't have enough to do, yeah, fresh from the cliff, and now your superhero is back to save America from yet another money yes, because while Washington says we are tapped out, no room at all to save, don't buy it, my friends, because your friendly neighborhood superhero is on it.

And today, today, I have the numbers to prove it.

Welcome, everyone. Glad to have you. I'm Neil Cavuto.

And there is no denying when it comes to number crunching, Democrats and Republicans often point to the numbers put out by these guys.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R - OH, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: About 24 hours after I spoke, the Congressional Budget Office released a report.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, D - N.Y.: According to the Congressional Budget Office...

REP. PAUL RYAN, R - WI: I thank the people at the Congressional Budget Office, who work so hard...

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D - CA, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Don't take it from me. That is what the Congressional Budget Office told us.


CAVUTO: All right, so, if -- that being the case, why are members of Congress ignoring these numbers from the Congressional Budget Office? They are right out there, put out by the CBO for anyone and everyone to read.

I wonder if they have read them, like obvious things, reduce funding for non-defense agency by just one percent annually and you save nearly $932 million over 10 years. It really doesn't end there, though. You slash the growth in funding for the Department of Defense just by one percent and you save another $862 billion.

One percent, we're talking about here. We're not cutting or slashing anything, curbing the growth by one percent. How about this sacred cow? Raise the earliest eligibility age for Social Security -- we're talking 10 years out -- and you could be looking at another $144 billion in savings.

Nearly two trillion in savings from just those three examples I gave you. There are dozens more, a total of $4.6 trillion of potential savings if Washington would simply get on the stick and start cutting, not hacking, cutting the growth, not reducing the size, just slowing the growth.

Is it any wonder -- and this is official now -- that cockroaches have a higher approval rating than members of Congress, cockroaches? Yikes.

It is really bugging market watcher Craig Smith.


CAVUTO: When you look at this, Craig, and these are all ideas put out by Congressional Budget Office. The title sheet runs a few pages, the actual idea and the budget statement runs more like the traditional thousand pages. But my point is that with very little tinkering and very little blood, sweat and tears, you save trillions. Why can't we do that?


Look, your crack production team at Fox News, they are best in the industry, no doubt. They sent me the CBO's report. I just spent four hours going through it. Neil, here is the report right here. If Mr. Barack Obama and Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Boehner truly want to cut spending -- and they don't want to use an axe, they want to use a scalpel -- they want to have compromise, they want to have bipartisanship, the CBO has laid it out for them line by line.

You just cited some of the instances. I came up with another $96 billion just doing very minor, simple little things, Neil. It would be like you saying to me, Craig, I spent a hundred dollars a week on gasoline and my budget is out of balance. OK, Neil, next week, you are only allowed to spend $99 on gasoline and within 10 years, we will be OK.

That is how small they are, Neil, but you watch this thing get demagogued to death. Just like you said, that sacred cow, Social Security, you are going to raise the retirement age, you're going to do it on the backs of the poor and the old people.

Neil, the budget plan is right here. Why don't we do it and do it tomorrow?

CAVUTO: It's 10 years out. It's youngest age, it's no one who would be anywhere close to either retirement age now; 20 years out, we're talking, 20 years out.

Leaving aside that, these are incremental efforts that save a lot of money and I think a lot of people when they hear the tax thing demagogued, then when they hear the spending being demagogued, they tend to think that when you try to slow the growth in entitlements, you are throwing granny off the cliff, or you're feeding her Alpo.

The fact of the matter is if we don't slow the growth in this stuff -- and that's what we're talking about, one percent -- one percent -- we won't have those entitlements. Granny is going to get burned and Granny's children and grandchildren are going to get burned.

But this is so simple. The CBO has laid the path. We talk about a debt commission report that collects dust. Why is this one collecting dust? Because this is gold.

SMITH: You bet.

And it's produced by the gold standard in the industry. 1974, Congress passed an act. 1975, the CBO went into play, February. It was headed up by none other than Alice Rivlin, who has been very vocal about this.

She would look at Elmendorf's report and say this is what we should do. Let's get on track with this. And you are right. This is probably why Congress is so -- what did you say, less popular than a cockroach because it's simple to do, Neil.

We just need some leadership to say, OK the time has come. You and I have talked about this before Neil. We can either do it now while it's voluntary or we can do it when it is mandatory. And forced austerity is miserable compared to voluntary austerity.


CAVUTO: But you know, the irony Craig, and you and I have gotten into this before, I don't want this to seem -- I think a lot of folks say well you got to consider revenues in all of this. You raise revenues doing this.

By restricting the growth of programs that are running away, not a single program in here -- I want to stress this to folks at home -- nothing is being removed in this. Congressional Budget Office, the bible, whether you like it on the left or right, I know it's convenient given the political climate for either Republicans to bash it or Democrats -- but if you accept this as the gospel -- I think we can go back and forth on whether it's worthy of that -- nothing is removed under this plan.

SMITH: That is right.

CAVUTO: Nothing is hacked to smithereens. We are talking about such light trims here that over the course of 10 years you effectively shrink the size of government without killing government.

So if you love government, you still got it. It's just a little leaner and meaner. It's not growing as fast, getting fat as fast. It's still getting bigger, just not as big as it would have been. This is not the end of the world.

I suspect you and your friends on Wall Street are gonna sense that if this is ignored much longer, you are going to have a tantrum and just scream.

SMITH: You're right, Neil.

And let me tell you, the fine people over at Fox Business, I would love to get their opinion on if they heard tomorrow in an announcement that Congress came together. They adopted all this, they are going to implement $2.4 trillion worth of cuts, they're not going to remove any programs in the process.


CAVUTO: We would be up 1,000 points. We would be up 1,000 points.

SMITH: At least 1,000 points. We would see the biggest growth this country has ever seen.


CAVUTO: I don't know. It's so easy, Craig, so easy.

SMITH: It really is. But that is why Congress can't do it. They can mess up a one-piece puzzle. Come on. Anything you want done wrong, send it to Congress.

CAVUTO: It is amazing. Craig, always a pleasure. Thank you, my friend.

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