Nobody seems to want their particular government entitlement to be cut. I understand that. It's common wisdom that one is committing political suicide to suggesting a cut in government benefits.
I'm not a politician - so I'm going to offer a place to start.
1. Increase the age at which people can collect Social Security benefits to 70. (increase of 5 years) SAVINGS estd. $120 billion per year (politicians like to discuss how much it will save over ten years and I don't know what it will be in ten years but 10x$120 billion = $1.2 trillion.
2. Transition new workers into a tier 2 SSI system that is a restricted fund, immune from Congressional/Presidential raiding. No, I don't know what sort of system that should be. I'm not an annuities expert. Anything should be better than the present system -- that's going broke.
3. Medicare increased at 6.6% this year. The costs have gone up between 4% and 8% each year. Freeze what the government will pay at 2008 levels (a savings of over $50 billion per year). ObamaCare effectively eliminates Medicare so unless this is repealed or found unconstitutional by the court, freezing it won't do much. The ObamaCare Gordion Knot must be cut and resolved before this can be managed.
4. Medicaid should not be offered to illegal aliens. That provides an annual savings of something on the order of $10 billion each year. I don't know if that number is completely defensible but it's going to be in that range. ($100 billion over ten years)
5. No federal unemployment benefit payments by 2012. Employees pay into the state fund. If they want to have the insurance, perhaps they need to pay higher premiums. It's becoming WELFARE these days since people no longer have to look for work to collect. I paid into private salary continuance insurance (private, not government) for 30 years and never collected. The premiums were high, but I felt it was worth it. Maybe others will agree? ($80 billion per year - and if the job situation improves, there need be no spending at all so the cost is indeterminate)
6. Department of Education. Education is a state problem. States and localities need to decide what they will teach and how they will teach it. Additionally, they can decide how much they want to spend. The Federal Budget is $46.7 billion per year. Reduce funding to 50% of present levels and continue to reduce funding by 10% per year until the states assume full control of education. Savings $23 billion this year, ultimately about $50 billion per year. ($500 billion over ten years)
We're at $1.8 trillion over ten years - but we're freezing Medicare and when you plug all that in, the savings will be about $2 trillion.
7. Health and Human services - Well over half of the money goes to federal welfare. While I have no problem with the Centers for Disease Control or the National Institutes of Health research, the welfare component should be eliminated. If the states want to dole out welfare, they can decide how much they want to pay. So cut the budget by 60% to $30 billion (saving $48 billion per year or $480 billion over ten years)
8. Housing and Urban Development - What a money pit! Eliminate the agency. If the states want to pick up the cost, they're welcome to. (saving $48 billion per year, or another $480 billion over ten years)
We're up to almost $3 trillion in savings now -- over ten years.
9. National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, etc. -- adios. It's not the savings to the public so much as it is the absolute waste.
Taking these steps reduce the present national spending by 10%.