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Tech CEOs Tell US Gov't How To Cut Deficit By $1 Trillion

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the a-penny-saved dept.

Government 311

alphadogg writes "The US government can save more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years by consolidating its IT infrastructure, reducing its energy use and moving to more Web-based citizen services, a group of tech CEOs said in a report released Wednesday. The Technology CEO Council's report, delivered to President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also recommends that the US government streamline its supply chains and move agencies to shared services for mission-support activities. 'America's growing national debt is undermining our global competitiveness,' said the council, chaired by IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano. 'How we choose to confront and address this challenge will determine our future environment for growth and innovation.' If the cash-strapped US government enacted all the recommendations in the advocacy group's report, it could save between $920 billion and $1.2 trillion by 2020, the group said. The federal government could also reduce IT energy consumption by 25 percent, and it could save $200 billion over 10 years by using advanced analytics to stop improper payments, the report said."

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311 comments

For only $500 Billion up front! (1, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818298)

And they'll happily provide consultation and hardware... should be about $500 Billion by 2020.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818380)

Of course.

Really want to reduce energy consumption in IT. Switch all those desktops to linux - a LOT less juice used to run the desktop.

And get people to turn their machines off at night.

And don't move to the cloud. There's a lot of stuff that works better locally, with fewer security concerns - like not having critical systems connected to a "cloud".

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (3, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818634)

How does an i7 desktop running Linux use less power than an i7 running OS X or Windows 7?

My MacBook Pro gets worse battery life in Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 than it does in Snow Leopard.

Score 0, Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818728)

That's what you get for going against the hivemind. GNU World Order!

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818968)

How does an i7 desktop running Linux use less power than an i7 running OS X or Windows 7?

My MacBook Pro gets worse battery life in Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10 than it does in Snow Leopard.

Not sure why this post was modded "Troll" - it's dead-on. You might be saving some money on the licensing end, but MS doesn't charge full price per seat to governments, just like they don't to large corporate customers.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819248)

My laptop fan doesn't even come on under load running linux, but under Windows, it runs even at idle.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (2, Insightful)

cyssero (1554429) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818602)

Spend $1 trillion to save $1 trillion. Then with the jobs created and income taxes to be paid, the gov't will still be ahead!

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (1, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818714)

Ha! Maybe jobs created and taxes paid in India, but you think IBM is gonna create any jobs in the US? Sure. Now pull the other one.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (1)

rcoxdav (648172) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818864)

You should bother to look where IBM is hiring. They are looking for a lot of tech people in a large Dubuque Iowa call center that they run. Evidently staying out of the coast corridors and huge cities is a good way to save money on facilities and employees while still getting employees where English is their native language. $15/hr in semi rural Iowa gets you a house and a car, near Chicago that gets you a hole in the wall.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (2, Insightful)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819170)

So engineers are pretty much SOL, but if you want a call center job, IBM's got you covered.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (3, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818618)

The problem I see is that the US Government contracts with companies that didn't traditionally do IT, but added it because they had a history with the Government. You know, like Northrup Grumman, because when I think on-time, on-budget I think defense contractors.

Re:For only $500 Billion up front! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818620)

Please fix my slip of the finger... I meant to mod this up, not down. Sorry!

This will never see the light of day (3, Insightful)

VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818304)

Because 1) CEOs proposed it and everyone knows they're all evil 2) The outcry of lobbyists in the industries that depend on the government wastefulness to pad their bottom line will put out the message that this is "killing private business and costing citizens their jobs."

Re:This will never see the light of day (3, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818640)

Well, not necessarily... but considering what IBM has done to the states of Indiana [localtechwire.com] , Texas [govtech.com] and California [sacbee.com] , do you really want to trust Snake Oil Sam with the whole federal government?

Re:This will never see the light of day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818798)

Florida is doing this right now too. Mostly because state Rep's were sold a bill of good that isn't real, and the man that helped push it through didn't even know what he signed off on. And a know-nothing ass clown that's been fired from several jobs is now getting his revenge and is the most powerful man in the state's IT. That's not what I read, that's what I know for 100% fact.

It's a total cluster in the long run and costing more money, not saving money. These consolidations are very complex and turn the red-tap into giant red-tape to get anything done. I can't say enough bad things about consolidation across distinct entities.

Re:This will never see the light of day (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818698)

If being on slashdot isn't information's equivalent of "The light of day", I don't know what is.

Re:This will never see the light of day (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818718)

I think it's a little more simple than that. The only things that can get done in Washington these days are the most trivial things. If Democrats back it before the elections, Republicans are going to toss it on the long list of things that they'll filibuster. After all, one trillion is a small price to pay for preventing the other guys from looking good.

Conversely, when republicans take back one or both houses, if they propose this, I suppose there's a thin chance they won't tack on something that democrats won't hate (or just one thing, like cutting the healthcare reform OR making Bush's tax cuts permanent), and then a thin chance democrats won't fillibuster it just out of spite...

I can say that with a straight face because it's not funny, it's just sad how unlikely either scenario is.

Re:This will never see the light of day (-1, Troll)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818734)

#1 correct
#2 correct again

Let's say we can get over #2, the government is still overrun with assholes too caught up in their own power struggle to ever work together as a team. Then Microsoft will send in their lobbyists, because they want a piece of the pie, and it's business as usual: political infighting without any real results, all payments to/from the same bunch of crooks who proposed this whole debacle. No thanks, not until we get a government that works as a team, not two groups or shitheads trying to out-asshole each other and draw our attention away from real issues and into the status quo of non-issues: gays, abortion, Mooslims, Xtians. It's all nonsense, non-issues that most morons fall for and vote behind. If someone is a hardcore republican or democrat, then consider that they aren't a real American because they lack some simple skills that make our country great. Period. People like that are wastes of space and air, and their children will be eaten alive by kids like mine, and every kid in China. Better get to work, you're falling behind, and you're raising little shitheads who can't think for themselves and react like their awful parents: knee-jerks.

I'm teaching my child STEM, IT skillz, and very little team sports. I suggest you all do the same, or learn Chinese.

And if their a Tea Bagger... then they're truly ignorant. Might as well join a baptist church and howl at the moon.

Re:This will never see the light of day (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818764)

Because 1) CEOs proposed it and everyone knows they're all evil 2) The outcry of lobbyists in the industries that depend on the government wastefulness to pad their bottom line will put out the message that this is "killing private business and costing citizens their jobs."

Have you considered that, if the numbers presented here are self-serving propaganda by the tech companies at issue (which, you know, efforts to promote the products provided by an industry presented by industry groups frequently include), that this itself is precisely "lobbying by an industry dependent on government wastefulness to pad their bottom line"?

Re:This will never see the light of day (4, Insightful)

Jeeeb (1141117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818804)

1) CEOs proposed it and everyone knows they're all evil

When a group of IT company CEO's propose that you spend huge amounts on new IT infrastructure to consolidate your spending, you'd do damned well to look at it with suspicion. Especially when they appear to have neglected subtracting the amount that would have to be spent to realise these savings from their final figures.

Re:This will never see the light of day (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819178)

If it's coming out of a CEO's mouth, it's only purpose is to pad said CEO's wallet.

Hey America, (-1, Redundant)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819074)

Maybe if you stop from getting into expensive un-winnable foreign wars, propping up puppet states and general meddling in the Middle East and Afghanistan, you could save trillions of dollars easily, make less enemies, get "free" healthcare, better schools, lower taxes, more investment in science and RnD, send man to Mars etc. and as a bonus, save lives (your own and others). Heck, just give 1% of the money saved as "incentives" to other countries so that they like you more, instead of bombing them.

War (0, Flamebait)

themerky1 (1916762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818312)

Or they could just start another war.

Oh and by the way (3, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818324)

You'll save $1.1 trillion dollars, and it'll only cost you $900B in investment! Please make check payable to IBM in capital expense dollars, not the operating expense savings that we're showing you.

It's funny how such studies show fantastic savings, but you can't actually buy the solution with those purported savings. You can't point the finger and say "these are the people you'll fire, and these are the systems that will get turned off". And the companies offering such a solution won't accept payment with the funny money savings either.

Re:Oh and by the way (0)

L3370 (1421413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818444)

IBM, Dell, VMware, EMC, Microsoft and Oracle will team up together to form one mega IT Government solutions corporation. They'll hire Steve Jobs on as Uber-head CEO...so you can make that check out to Apple Inc. Uncle Sam: "Check's in the mail!"

More than that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818476)

Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also recommends that the U.S. government streamline its supply chains and move agencies to shared services for mission-support activities

Sounds just like... well... all the other consultants. You know, the people who come in and say "Hey, we haven't ever worked in this organization but this seems inefficient, make it better and you'll get massive savings! What? No, we haven't bothered to find out whether there is actual some reason why you are doing it in the inefficient-seeming way in the first place. If we did find that out, we couldn't make this fancy recommendations..."

I think that the first thing where government should save is this: Stop forming entities like "Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform". Any entity with such a grand name can only come up with grand suggestions that don't relate to the real world in any meaningful way. The actual improvements stem from lower levels of organizations, occur over time and resemble babysteps towards the ideal solution. Massive remakes suggested by people from outside the organizations tend to fail miserably.

Re:Oh and by the way (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818486)

Unfortunately, that's just the way the world works. If you're a one person independent IT shop, you're not going to install 20 copies of Windows at a small company and then agree to take some percentage of the savings. It's their responsibility to exchange cash today in exchange for annualized operational savings in the future. I don't get why IBM should be any different. Unless they have the authority to get in there and actually do the hiring / firing, they shouldn't have to take the risk for failure on the execution side.

I completely agree- it's obviously a self-serving publication. But, everyone who's every interacted with Federal IT and Support Services knows they're some of the least cost-effective organizations on the planet. They have a responsibility to get their act together.

Re:Oh and by the way (2, Informative)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818546)

There is also a thing called a performance contract. Dunno if it'll work in the federal level, though.

A company proposes certain specific alterations to infrastructure/facilities/workflow and provides an analysis of how any why these changes will save money. It then provides a cost proposal to actually make these changes and a payback schedule.

The contract guarantees the payback at the responsibility of the contractor. The profit to be made here is log term: the client (government, in this case) fronts all the costs and the contractor takes their profit as a percentage of the savings above estimates, or must pay the client if actual savings fall below estimates.
=Smidge=

Re:Oh and by the way (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818724)

But, everyone who's every interacted with Federal IT and Support Services knows they're some of the least cost-effective organizations on the planet. They have a responsibility to get their act together.

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen...

All that is stuff (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818334)

the government is already in the process of doing.

real forward thinking, dumb ass~

Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818344)

Fewer lawyers, fewer inmates, fewer LEO, happier population. For bonus points, get rid of excessively generous government employee pensions.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

themerky1 (1916762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818360)

Just get rid of all of the polticians. What use are they anyway?

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818452)

Its not that they are generous, its just that they are guaranteed.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818616)

@Anonymous Coward retire after 20 years with full salary? sounds #generous to me!

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818986)

20 years is usually 19 years, 6 months, and a day; and I'm guessing that half salary + benefits after 20 is more typical with full salary after 40.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818516)

And income through taxes.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818540)

Seconded. I'll also add this:
    Fine countries for each citizen found illegally residing in our country, *10 for repeat offenders.
    Open our governments R&D dept to beyond defense and license the tech out to the private sector to pay for our infrastructure, and help create a real need for scientists.
    Create regulations to stop the salary collusion that goes on in every executive board room, bring back excess taxes to discourage excessive greed.
    Reform our tax structure to pay from the bottom up, instead of top down. Make my city pay to my state, who pays to the feds.

Or do more of the same for yourselves rich fuckers, eventually enough of us little guys will be pushed so far we won't care to make it better for ourselves. Our focus will be on how bad we can make it for you.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

Jakester2K (612607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818652)

Reform our tax structure to pay from the bottom up, instead of top down. Make my city pay to my state, who pays to the feds.

Or do more of the same for yourselves rich fuckers, eventually enough of us little guys will be pushed so far we won't care to make it better for ourselves. Our focus will be on how bad we can make it for you.

"Earn a dollar, pay a dime. Invest that dollar, pay 9 cents. No exceptions whatsoever."

All good except the fine. (3, Funny)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818958)

Who's gonna enforce that fine? Mexico is gonna laugh and laugh and laugh and probably start encouraging citizens to enter the USA illegally just to spite our hubris.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819026)

Fine countries for each citizen found illegally residing in our country, *10 for repeat offenders.

And how do you propose to enforce that? I'll let you in on a little secret, such arbitrary and capricious plans have started wars. After all, I know some illegal immigrants. In most cases, they have no papers, or false papers. Why? Because if you have no papers, they can't send you back. So what do you do when some Spanish speaking person is stopped at the US-Mexico border? The family of illegals (all citizens now) from El Salvador came over that way with fake Mexico papers. They were caught, sent to Mexico, and had a shorter trip back than if they had real papers. So we should be fining Mexico for letting people cross our border? If we cared, we'd make a fence or such to actually block people. We don't. The US economy would collapse hard, fast, and almost irreparably if we kicked out all illegals and no more came in. So we "let" them in, then bitch about it. That's easier than fixing the problems. The Democrats want them in for humanitarian reasons. The Republicans want them in for business reasons. And only a fringe are nationalistic/xenophobic enough to care.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819152)

Fine countries for each citizen found illegally residing in our country, *10 for repeat offenders.

Not sure that would help anything. This study shows illegal immigrants cost the federal government at most 10 billion a year [washingtonpost.com] . Stopping that wouldn't save that much either, since as the article points out, a significant amount of that is actually going to their US born children. And how much do we spend on fighting illegal immigration? I couldn't find a figure after googling for 10 minutes, everything just kept coming up with estimates for how much illegal immigrants cost us, with the numbers varying wildly.

Plus I suspect if we told mexico to pay 10 billion or nearly anything, they'd tell us to fuck off, and also that we can deal with the drug smuggling barons directly since we're mostly funding the drug smuggling ourselves anyway.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818806)

If you compare the salary of anyone who works for the government to someone with the same educational level you will easily see they get the shaft in terms of equal pay. In order to give people incentive to work for good old Uncle Sam, you have to make up for the shit pay, this is done though things like pensions and some of the other fringe benefits. If you take that away, you will drive away whatever talent is actually working at the federal, state, or local level.

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818918)

If you compare the salary of anyone who works for the government to someone with the same educational level you will easily see they get the shaft in terms of equal pay. In order to give people incentive to work for good old Uncle Sam, you have to make up for the shit pay, this is done though things like pensions and some of the other fringe benefits. If you take that away, you will drive away whatever talent is actually working at the federal, state, or local level.

Yup, I always find it funny when conservatives trot out the "look how much federal pay has increased compared to private sector pay in the past 30 years!" argument without fully considering the reasons for that. They want to insinuate that government pay is skyrocketing but the truth is much different. Ratios rise in magnitude whenever the numerator increases OR the denominator falls. The real reason for the increase in the ratio is that private sector wages have been demolished over the past 30 years(esp. if you look at the median and not the mean).

Re:Yeah. Or just legalize marijuana. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819100)

If you compare the salary of anyone who works for the government to someone with the same educational level you will easily see they get the shaft in terms of equal pay

Compare people with high school educations or the less useful college degrees. Sure a systems administrator can make more in the real world, but someone without the fancy degree or experience would not. You also have to consider job stability. Government jobs (aside from the top positions which are filled by appointees) are far more stable than their private industry counterparts.

IBM CEO Chair recommends IT overhaul? (5, Insightful)

GayBliss (544986) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818368)

Should we be suspicious when the IBM CEO thinks the U.S. needs a massive IT overhaul? I guess you could say he is qualified to know whether it can be done or not, but it would no doubt steer a lot of money to large IT corporations, such as IBM, that are large enough to handle such a large undertaking.

Re:IBM CEO Chair recommends IT overhaul? (1, Troll)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818660)

Better IBM or Google than someone like Northrup Grumman dropping the ball over and over.

Re:IBM CEO Chair recommends IT overhaul? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818900)

"Should we be suspicious when the IBM CEO thinks the U.S. needs a massive IT overhaul?"

Nope.

But we should be suspicious because the signaturees of the document are the CEOs of some of the very companies that helped creating the mess in first place. One should ask why those CEOs didn't do what they prey a step at a time, given that they already are contractors for the government.

The best part about this is.. (4, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818370)

..tach CEOs are disinterested third parties with no ulterior motive. They're not after some ludicrously expensive contract for several years, combined with building a new terrible legacy and network effects which basically cause a lock-in for long after the original contract. Finally someone you can trust!

[squints at monitor]

Hey waitaminute. These are the guys who run companies that only make tachometers, right?

Re:The best part about this is.. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818586)

+1 political satire, +1 tech satire, +1 original

But... (4, Informative)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818378)

Being inefficient means that the politicians can easily hide what they're spending our money on. I seriously doubt this will gain any traction within the government. Then again, with potential cost over-runs and kick-backs to implement such a plan, who know? Political greed seems to get some things done.

Re:But... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818784)

Some want to run government like business, but it can't be. Government can't borrow money today then take interest off taxes and amortize the amount over years. If Government borrows money, it immediately goes on the deficit and the so-called conservatives, who would have no problem with business borrowing for capital investments, call it irresponsible. When government tries to raise taxes to cover fixed costs, so-called conservatives who would have no problem raising pricing in their firms call it overtaxation.

Additionally, the government can't go out and a government loan when they make incompetent decisions. The government is not inefficient. It just has to hold itself to a higher standard. Contract are awarded as fairly as possible. Budgets are debated by representatives. Laws are made that are fair to everyone. Would anyone in their right mind want a business based on the practices of AIG, or GM, or practically any large business that depends on government hand outs to survive. I mean look at it this way. We tried to take Clear Lake off the teat of government grant, and failed even that.

That's not how the Gov't Does Business (1, Insightful)

L7_ (645377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818384)

It's too bad that none of those businesses are Minority or Women owned, otherwise they would get the contracts for sure. Because in the world of Government, it is

Sorry guys (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818388)

Sorry, but those puny savings simply won't matter when the banks demand their next round of trillion dollar bailouts in the next ten years. Penny wise and pound foolish doesn't make anybody rich....

Tech CEOs Tell US Gov't How To Cut 1e+12 USD (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818400)

, but nod and continue what they are doing. FTS:

can save

Yep.

If the cash-strapped U.S. government enacted

Uh huh.

it could save

Probably.

could also reduce

Most likely.

the report said.

It sure did. It said nothing of substance is currently being done. I am being a cynical ass (nothing new under the sun), but I don't believe this report will change the bloat.

At least they are considering hypotheticals!

how quickly we've forgotten (4, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818418)

the 13 acres of hell this country went through, kicking and screaming, just to get to digital television.

Just because every CEO present for this sales pitch owns an iPhone 4, does not mean the grinding poverty of Appalachia, the intellectual bankruptcy of the deep south, or the budgetless west coast are even remotely capable of turning this page. As long as we all have grandmothers and relatives printing out taxes and mailing them with saliva greased postage stamps, the trillion dollars is about as real as the 21st century flying car i was promised.

Re:how quickly we've forgotten (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818808)

AFAIK it's pretty much just CA that spends it's days budgetless on the west coast. It's painful in WA and OR, but it's not budgetless, it's just belt tightening time, given the drastic drop in tax dollars due to anti-tax conservative hatchet men. People who think that it's OK to require a super majority to raise taxes, and that it's OK to impose that super majority requirement via a simple majority vote.

Hell, no. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818430)

The last thing I want to see is an efficient government. In the words of Will Rogers, "Thank heaven we don't get all the government we pay for."

-jcr

Re:Hell, no. (1, Troll)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818526)

I can pretty much guarantee that simple data-processing efficiency will not make a tiny dent in the white hole of entropy that is Congress.

And it would take a major constitutional amendment to supplant them with anything digital and algorithmically controlled.

So you're safe. Take your gun back to bed.

Buzzzz. (4, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818442)

That summary seemed to be full of buzzwords.

Unfortunately, part of what is keeping our country propped up is the inefficiency of bureaucracy and that it allows a lot of otherwise useless people to remain employed. If you go through and wipe out a ton of government positions there won't be anywhere else for those people to go. Though, I suppose with all those savings we could just give everyone microloans that allow them to try and at least be productive at something they are interested in.

Don't see how that would work (1)

melted (227442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818450)

The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them. Aside from energy savings (which I bet won't be anywhere close to $1T), I don't see how to switch to e-government or any of the rest of this stuff will make any difference.

Re:Don't see how that would work (1, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818554)

The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them. Aside from energy savings (which I bet won't be anywhere close to $1T), I don't see how to switch to e-government or any of the rest of this stuff will make any difference.

No, the way to reduce the national debt is to...

wait for it...

STOP SPENDING MONEY!!!!

You can do that by turning over any service that can be performed by local and state governments to local and state governments.

BAM!!!!

Deficit solved.

Re:Don't see how that would work (4, Insightful)

jackbird (721605) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818712)

but, but, then how would the low-GDP republican-dominated flyover states siphon money from the coastal blue states to pay for their social services?

Re:Don't see how that would work (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818848)

That doesn't work. You're just shuffling chairs around. You've reduced the national debt by converting it into state debt, state debt which gets paid at a higher interest rate than federal bonds. With the added bonus that nearly all states have a balanced budget requirement.

Which sounds good, until you realize that there are times when deficit spending is legitimate and necessary for the good of all those that are concerned. It's just when you start wasting money on things like pointless wars and tax breaks for the rich that you start to run into trouble.

On that note, the other way we could reduce the national debt would be to go back to taxing the rich. I know that people get outraged by it, but the fact is that even if we put the tax rate on them back at say 40% it's still far lower than what it was when Reagan took office in early '81. Back thing it was 73% IIRC.

Re:Don't see how that would work (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818574)

LOLWUT?

National debt != trade imbalance.

The national debt is a measure of how much the government owes to its creditors; what you are referring to is an entirely separate issue.

Re:Don't see how that would work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818674)

The national debt is a measure of how much the government owes to its creditors; what you are referring to is an entirely separate issue

The national debt and trade balance are not the same thing. But linking them together is not a LOLWUT. And, unfortunately you have failed to expand your horizons very little past high school economics. Good for you.

Re:Don't see how that would work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818810)

Seperate in the sense of printing money, lending it to the public via banks and then giving it to the citizens, which spend it on stuff that produces the trade balance? Where do you think the money goes before being owed to creditors?

Trade deficit vs. National debt (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818716)

The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them.

No, that's how you generate a trade surplus. There is a difference between a trade surplus/deficit and a budget surplus/deficit (the former is exports vs. imports, the latter is government revenue vs. government expenditures.) You reduce the national debt by generating a budget surplus (and you reduce the debt as compared to an alternative policy even by generating a smaller budget deficit), to which the balance of trade is orthogonal.

Re:Trade deficit vs. National debt (0, Troll)

Homr Zodyssey (905161) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818926)

I don't see how a surplus could possibly eliminate debt. As soon as the Democrats accomplish a surplus, we elect a Republican who squanders it all on tax cuts for the wealthy. Then we continue being in debt.

Re:Trade deficit vs. National debt (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819112)

Don't forget blaming the resulting deficit on tax & spend liberals (somehow).

Re:Don't see how that would work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33819002)

Simple. You replace people with machines. You fire a large part of the government workforce. Unemployed people cannot buy anything. Salaries go down because of high unemployment. Imports collapse. Costs to manufacture in the US are lowered. Exports rise. Win-win.

Re:Don't see how that would work (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819080)

"I don't see how to switch to e-government or any of the rest of this stuff will make any difference."

That's because you are WROOOOOOOONG!

"The only way to reduce the national debt is by selling more stuff to other nations than you buy from them."

FALSE! As false as it can go.

The only way to reduce the national debt (long term) is by selling stuff to other nations for more MONEY than the MONEY we spend buying from them.

Once you get this clear, you can see there are different paths you can go to correct the imbalance:
1) You buy less from foreigners
2) You sell more to foreigners

Since government is an operational cost, if you reduce how much does it cost to you, you get more money that you can put into:
  * Producing more local goods, so you can buy less from foreigners (see 1).
  * Producing local goods at reduced cost since you have less overhead, so you can compete with foreign goods in both local (see 1) and foreign markets (see 2).
  * Expending more on R&D so you can produce new goods which foreigners lack off so you can sell them overseas (see 2).

Re:Don't see how that would work (1)

melted (227442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819206)

Um no. This is akin to replacing windows (no pun intended) in a house that's nearing foreclosure. Either you reduce the amount of principal by, yes, selling stuff, or your house gets foreclosed. New windows aren't going to make a bit of difference.

I don't see how laid off government employees will contribute to producing anything exportable. If anything they will create an extra tax burden on those who can produce exportable goods by consuming unemployment money, since we _already have_ a bunch of qualified workforce sitting there without work.

Spend a buck save a buck (0, Troll)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818454)

You know it's ironic, the savings they are proposing over the next 10 years almost exactly match the cost of the wars we've been fighting for the last 10 years.

Re:Spend a buck save a buck (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818744)

Not just that.... If we sent those CEOs and their products instead of soldiers, we wouldn't need war. They would devastate the enemy countries in ways no other sort of weapon can. The once fierce enemy would be reduced to a docile imbecile lost in such a desperate technocracy that Second Life will actually seem like fun.

Re:Spend a buck save a buck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818816)

It's sad to see your comment modded as a "troll."

Seems there are a lot of militant idiots around who think it's a good thing to waste trillions of dollars killing foreigners (and making countless new enemies in the process).

Re:Spend a buck save a buck (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819238)

You have to realize that the cost of a war isn't the same as the savings achieved by not having one. For example salary expenses don't change tremendously because those soldiers sailors and marines probably stay on the payroll, just less the combat pay. Significant amounts of supplies used in war would simply expire unused, It's a lot of shifting expenses to different cost accounts. On the other side of the coin, that big of an IT project is about the same as fighting a war which is why the two amounts are about equal.

Do you mean... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818472)

Cut accumulated debt, cut defecit*s*, or something else? The defecit is a yearly thing, and I don't think they mean to make the entire cut in a single year.

Or we could (1, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818490)

just take $1 trillion from the people who shipped all of our jobs overseas.

Oh wait, it's these guys!

kill the fed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818510)

easy fix, kill the federal reserve, stop paying them interest, (your income taxes) and get the government to issue it's own money, interest free.

Re:kill the fed. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818954)

That's not a good idea. First off, the government does issue it's own money. The federal government is the only entity which is allowed to issue money for the US. Hence why you've got government officials that head up what is otherwise a private institution.

Secondly, if you take the job of the federal reserve away from the fed, who is going to do it? Somebody has to be the lender of last resort or banks could very easily run out of money at times.

The real problem is that the people who have been appointed are not very good at economics. Willing large amounts of money into being always results in inflation. Keeping the rates artificially low leads to entities making unwise investments in infrastructure that isn't needed. Basically it becomes more expensive to save and less expensive to spend. We've seen that in China where they've adopted a lot of our bad ideas.

The government can't issue money interest free in the way that you suggest. What you get is inflation, probably the best examples are Zimbabwe recently, and the Wimar Republic period of German history a while back. Where the money was more valuable as fuel than as a currency.

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818532)

"The U.S. government can save more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years by spending more on high tech, a group of tech CEOs said in a report released Wednesday."

no chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818538)

If you know anything about government bureaucracy, it would cost 10x that in reality for them to actually implement. Government is flat out incapable of operating efficiently, like a real business which has to compete does.

then folks will be unemployed! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818562)

You cut those huge sums of money and you are inviting unemployment among folks in our growing population.

There's something missing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818570)

Where's the memo on outsourcing everything to India and China?

Computers replacing bureaucrats? (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818590)

Having just spent a good chunk of change today to pay the title transfer tax on my new car, I want to say that it's tempting to fire all the bureaucrats and replace them with machines.  The lady that took my money at the local courthouse tried so hard to make me go away and fill out the transfer form "without mistakes", which would necessitate me  harassing the seller of my car (not a dealership, but an individual).

So human sadism made her fuck with me.

But also I was able to appear to her humanity with subtle language and facial gestures which motivated her to "see if she could work around it" and appeal to her boss and such.

So I'm not sure which is worse, humans or machines.

Re:Computers replacing bureaucrats? (2, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818732)

So I'm not sure which is worse, humans or machines.

I'll tell you. Humans that write long diatribes with machine fonts!

Out sourcing? (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818614)

Hmm, so by their example. We should outsource the government to China.

Megaprojects, yay. (1)

sbjornda (199447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818662)

Oh great, another fricken megaproject, because that's worked so well in the past.

--
.nosig

They need to do something. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818666)

After some confusion on whether or not I paid owed taxes, I agree with how awful the US Gov can be. The fact that I was charged three times, had my account locked and overdrawn, and lost filing/transaction fees on refunds because Federal and State agencies are fast to levy debts but not clear them is proof of that. They are even allowed to do so because they are allowed more than a full business week(I think it was 10 days) to provide the other with information regarding the account. So, they continued to each bill me for the same amount, that was only said to be owed to one agency, for several weeks. After informing them of their errors, they agreed to refunds which took quite a while to get back and were subject to third party transaction fees by a company they use to directly debit your account.

While I can understand some legality issues for having allowances of time, to take so much time and charge me for their mistakes in this day and age is pretty pathetic.

The funniest part was not one of them could even enlighten me to who the transaction money went to. They played pass the buck as they had me doing call circles to the Fed, State, and Treasury office. After finally requesting a supervisor, who put me on speaker phone without consent, I was told that there was nothing they could or would do and it happens all the time. He even divulged to me that it happens all the time to the tune of a lot of money. But, he still held his ground that it was my fault and within their legal right to bill me like they did.

Special interest says: Spend more money on us! (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818690)

If the cash-strapped U.S. government enacted all the recommendations in the advocacy group's report, it could save between $920 billion and $1.2 trillion by 2020, the group said.

Since the deficit is the annual difference between expenditures and revenues, reducing spending by ~$1 trillion between now and 2020 doesn't reduce the deficit by ~$1 trillion, it reduces the deficit by ~$100 billion.

Of course, this ignores the question of whether the money would actually be saved; one should be rather sceptical from a recommendation from an industry group saying that amounts to "if the government spent more money on our services, it would save money overall".

To quote Adam Smith on the attitude that should be applied to proposals of government action from groups engaged in a particular area of trade: "The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." (An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapter 11, emphasis added.)

Ultimate Saving.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33818738)

Years ago the employer asked techs a 2nd time to save money.
Of course we did not even get a christmas card for the first time.

Ultimate Savings:
1) Turn off the lights
2) Hire the blind
3) gazillions of profit

For starters... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818746)

... they could budget within the money that they actually have, and stick to that budget. The whole idea of 'deficit' means they are spending more than they have, which, let's face it, if they were ever actually right about how much growth they were going to get, they wouldn't have a debt in the first place. So they could start fixing the problem by not trying to predict the future (which they've proven they can't do anyways) and budget with the money they actually have right now, which is how most intelligent people manage their money anyways.

Right...like *every other government IT project*?? (2, Insightful)

/dev/zero (116295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818766)

How many billions has Treasury spent trying to update computer systems? DoJ (FBI, etc.)? Military (how long did RPAS get kicked around sucking up $$s)? The plain fact is government has a horrible track record with IT spending boondoggles.

This sounds like another one; massive cash outlays today to buy illusory future savings.

Wait a minute...that sounds like most government programs period... :-(

Is the gov't more wasteful the private biz ? (3, Insightful)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818868)

It is a commonplace that gov't is "wastefull" and "inefficient" and full of overpaid hacks,etc etc
But doesn't this describe most private biz, at least viewed in the eyes of /. and dilbert ?
why is private jets for CEOs no less wasteful then anything the gov't does ?
You could go a long way with this, but I think it is a Myth that large publicly traded companies are, on avg, more efficient then the gov't and there is a lot of evidence to support the opposite posistion, eg look at he amt spent on admin in the social sec administration.
To give an example: I work in a biotech lab. The other day, a guy comes in with a 400 dollar piece of equipment, "free". What gives ? well, "they" through out a whole pallet (maybe 50) of these jobbers cause the name of the company changed, and they didn't want to bother changing the logo on the equipment....
yet it is gov't that gets blamed for being wasteful.
I mean come on, this is /., is the gov't more wastefull the MS ? doesn't anyone remember the thread where there were some number of people >10 on the MS committee to figure out what was on the vista start menu ? not to implement it or anything like that, but just the list of what was on teh default menu....

I call BS (1)

Knackered (311164) | more than 3 years ago | (#33818976)

I've been reading articles for years about failed IT streamlining projects, and they want to make me believe they're different?

Fine, offer to do it on fixed-price contracts instead of time and materials, and I may start to believe they're serious about fixing problems instead of their own balance sheets.

The US government can save $5 trillion in 10 year. (1)

Aron S-T (3012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819008)

...by cutting our annual defense spending in half. We would still be spending $500 billion a year, more than any government any where ever (including the US just a few short years ago) so no one can argue we will be "less safe." Until tea par tiers get behind such a proposal their "anti-government" rhetoric is just that - hot air.

consolidating has big down side for big multi offi (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819116)

consolidating has big down sides for big multi offices setups.

Like have local techs / workers having to play phone tag / pass lots of papers to get easy stuff done
.
The consolidated tech / IT center have little idea about each office own setups / custom / in house software / legacy stuff. What about small offices with poor network links do you want to put them on some remote link that eats up lots of bandwidth it works fine at the big ones so lets push it out to all offices.

and if you where to get rid of the local techs and replace then with temps then it add even more layers from people on side geting to the consolidated admins.

Comcast tried to the consolidated network admin and did not work and they had to go back to local VP control of the networks.

Debt != Deficit (2, Insightful)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819128)

Debt is how much you owe, like how much your credit card balance is.
Deficit is how much you're borrowing/losing/hemorrhaging in a given time, like how much your credit card balance increases in a year.
Cutting the deficit by 1 trillion dollars would save TEN TRILLION DOLLARS in ten years.

I guess, technically, the summary could be valid if we're talking about a ten-year budget, but the national budget is something that's settled upon on an annual basis. Cutting the deficit by "an average of 100 billion dollars per year" would be more accurate.

Headline is wrong. (1)

euphemistic (1850880) | more than 3 years ago | (#33819252)

Headline should actually read for more accuracy:

Tech CEOs Tell US Gov't How To Increase Their Profits By $1 Trillion
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