After the congressional super-committee failed to cut more than $1 trillion from the federal deficit, the debate centered on drastic spending cuts that could hurt the nation's poor and elderly.
A new report challenges the idea the United States is broke and austerity measures for average Americans are the only ways to fix it.
Sarah Anderson, global economy project director for the Institute for Policy Studies, contributed to the report.
"We identified a number of fiscal reforms that could raise as much as $824 billion a year, and do it in ways that could make our country stronger as well as putting people back to work," Anderson said.
New taxes on Wall Street, corporations and super-wealthy individuals could raise more than $375 billion a year according to the report.
The Pentagon is responsible for more than half of federal discretionary spending, and Anderson says it's hard to argue that all of the spending is making America safer. She acknowledges thousands of jobs are tied to the military.
"The good news is that studies have been done that show that, dollar for dollar, federal spending in areas such as education and health care actually creates more jobs than federal spending on the military," Anderson said.
Proposals to cut military spending include ending the war in Afghanistan, reducing overseas bases and trimming the nation's nuclear arsenal, for annual savings of more than $250 billion.
Other proposals include taxing companies that pollute the environment, which Anderson says would raise revenue and encourage the use of alternative energy.
"By reducing the wasteful subsidies going into the fossil-fuel industry, it can be done - but we need the political will to do it," she said.
The United States could save about $19 billion a year by eliminating government subsidies for such industries as ethanol and "clean coal."
The report, "America is Not Broke," is online at ips-dc.org.
- Florida News Connection