The next couple of days may be filled with speeches, ceremonies, a few galas and a raft of executive orders, but come next week the actual work of reducing the size (and cost) of the federal bureaucracy is set to begin. A list of items on the chopping block has leaked out this week and it’s far more than lip service. Assuming that these are the final plans, you’re going to see heads exploding in the big government cheerleading sector and a chorus of cheers coming from small government conservatives. The Hill has a list of much of what Trump is planning on taking an ax to and it contains some targets familiar to conservatives dating back to Reagan’s era.

Donald Trump is ready to take an ax to government spending.

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.
The changes they propose are dramatic.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The cuts to the departments of Transportation, State and Justice were already expected. Several of their functions can easily be streamlined or combined into other departments. The Department of Energy under Rick Perry can have several of its more expensive functions reduced or transferred as well. (One possibility which has been under discussion this week is moving the control and maintenance of the nuclear arsenal into Defense where it would seem to make a lot more sense anyway.)

But it’s some of the other cuts which are probably going to draw gasps of horror from Trump’s more liberal detractors. Currently on the list is the complete elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. Additionally, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized. If you thought there were going to be liberal marches in the streets tomorrow, just wait until those three go into effect.

The total savings to the federal government’s bottom line from all of these moves? How about $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

As with everything else in the world of Washington, I’ll hold off on popping the champagne cork until I actually see it done, but this is the level of cutting which might eventually return us to a point beyond a balanced budget and (dare we say it…) reducing the national debt. And if it does somehow come true, I’ll have to ask the same question I’ve been posing time and time again over the past couple of months, particularly with companies bringing jobs and investments back to American soil.

Was it really this easy all this time but nobody bothered to try?