We are short $175 billion every month. Cut out the social security disability cheats, stop being the worlds police force...$300 billion right there...
You can't stop the gimmies. They are vote getters for the politicians. As long as we have greedys, crooks and perverts in office and few patriots we will continue to have great waste.
Those people don't vote, they are either too busy working two low wage jobs or too lazy to get up off the couch. I am personally more angry about subsidizing Walmart and the Walton clan. It is corruption at the top that kills great civilizations, do you really think it is the welfare state? Right now the pentagon budget is $800 billion a year, do you think this is going to grunts? We don't need another Abrams A1, who does? Think about that. The Chinese build ghost cities to prop up there provincial GDP, we build engines for advanced strike fighters that can be creamed by less expensive T-50s in order to support jobs in congressional districts and payola for the next campaign. You guys are so stupidly distracted, they come in and take 11 of the dozen cookies and then point at the hungry guy across the table and tell you he's going to steal yours, and you attack him and let the real #$%$ walk away with fists full of loot. The defense budget is not there to defend us, it is there to defend corporate interest. The money payed out to welfare cheats is at least recycled directly into local economies, not that that is a justification for people gaming the system. You are a victim of a ham handed misdirect.
We've got many things that could be cleaned up - lawyers taking too much of the GNP; vast disability abuse; K-12 Education the most costly and worst performing among industrial nations; many public pensions excessive; over one-third of Medicare spent on diseases caused by bad habits.
But clean them up? Get serious. Our inefficiences are the accumulation of our political will. Nothing will happen until a state balks, their people refuse to pay federal taxes and set a better course providing a model for others to demand. That ain't likely.
Nobody said representative government works.