8 Easy Ways to Cut Government Spending

From leaving the lights on to Ag Department pickle studies, much fat can be trimmed from budget.


[See what TARP did and didn't do for the U.S. economy.]

Kill the Lights at the Department of Energy

(est. savings: $2.2 million)

Talk about irony. A June 2010 report from the Department of Energy's Inspector General showed that the department could save $2.2 million annually by adopting more efficient lighting systems, like installing occupancy sensors in rooms.

Stop Fed-Exing Empty Boxes

(est. savings: $350,000)

According to a Government Accountability Office report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service sends its lab samples via Federal Express' next-day service. The empty sample containers are then Fed-Exed back, once again with next-day service, which costs roughly $15 round-trip. By returning containers via ground transport, the USDA could save an estimated $350,000 per year.

  • See a slide show of 5 reasons TARP succeeded and 5 reasons why it was a flop.
  • Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the economy.
  • Read: Obama's secret weapon for 2012: the economy.