Budget Options

Reports on Budget Options

To help inform lawmakers about the budgetary implications of various approaches to altering federal policies, CBO periodically issues a volume of policy options (called Options for Reducing the Deficit) covering a broad range of issues as well as separate reports that include options for changing federal tax and spending policies in particular areas. The options, which are accessible from this page, are derived from many sources and reflect a range of possibilities. For each option, CBO presents an estimate of its effects on the budget but makes no recommendations. Inclusion or exclusion of any particular option does not imply an endorsement or rejection by CBO. This search is updated regularly to include only the most recent version of a particular option.

Title Latest Estimate 10-Year Savings (Billions)
Further Limit Annual Contributions to Retirement Plans $152
Eliminate or Limit Itemized Deductions $541, $1143, $1356, $2507
Raise the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $121
Reduce Funding for International Affairs Programs $148
Change the Tax Treatment of Capital Gains From Sales of Inherited Assets $156
Increase the Maximum Taxable Earnings That Are Subject to Social Security Payroll Taxes $670, $1204
Introduce Minimum Out-of-Pocket Requirements in TRICARE for Life $33
Cancel the Army's Future Vertical Lift Aircraft $15
Increase the Premiums Paid for Medicare Part B $57, $406, $448
Repeal the “Last In, First Out” Approach to Inventory Identification and the “Lower of Cost or Market” and “Subnormal Goods” Methods of Inventory Valuation $90
Limit ARC and PLC Payment Acres to 30 Percent of Base Acres $24
Cap Increases in Basic Pay for Military Service Members $22
Reduce Funding for Certain Grants to State and Local Governments $66
Eliminate Certain Tax Preferences for Education Expenses $128
Impose a New Payroll Tax $1136, $2253
Require Social Security Disability Insurance Applicants to Have Worked More in Recent Years $57
Eliminate Federal Funding for National Community Service $10
Eliminate the Tax Exemption for New Qualified Private Activity Bonds $35
Reduce Spending on Other Mandatory Programs $580
Increase Excise Taxes on Motor Fuels and Index Them for Inflation $240
Change the Cost-Sharing Rules for Medicare and Restrict Medigap Insurance $27, $100, $122
Defer Development of the B-21 Bomber $34
Reduce Medicare Advantage Benchmarks $392
Require Half of Advertising Expenses to Be Amortized Over 5 or 10 Years $76, $154
Raise Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Guarantee Fees and Decrease Their Eligible Loan Limits $7, $11, $16
Replace Some Military Personnel With Civilian Employees $19
Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act $17
Lower the Investment Income Limit for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Extend That Limit to the Refundable Portion of the Child Tax Credit $12
Impose a Tax on Consumption $1950, $3050
End VA’s Individual Unemployability Payments to Disabled Veterans at the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $9, $47
Tighten Eligibility for Pell Grants $14, $30
Expand the Base of the Net Investment Income Tax to Include the Income of Active Participants in S Corporations and Limited Partnerships $249
Reduce the Department of Defense's Annual Budget $995
Impose a Tax on Financial Transactions $264
Reduce Medicare’s Coverage of Bad Debt $23, $46, $74
Reduce the Size of the Bomber Force by Retiring the B-1B $8
Raise the Tax Rates on Long-Term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividends by 2 Percentage Points $102
Reduce Tax Subsidies for Employment-Based Health Insurance $500, $651, $893
Repeal the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit $77
Eliminate the Add-On to Pell Grants, Which Is Funded With Mandatory Spending $51
Stop Building Ford Class Aircraft Carriers $7
Establish Caps on Federal Spending for Medicaid $501, $539, $836, $871
Require People Who Claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to Have a Social Security Number That Is Valid for Employment $25
Impose a Tax on Emissions of Greenhouse Gases $571, $769, $865
Reduce VA’s Disability Benefits for Veterans Who Are Older Than the Full Retirement Age for Social Security $15
Increase Prescription Drug Copayments for All Veterans $27
Tax Carried Interest as Ordinary Income $12
Reduce Nondefense Discretionary Spending $332
Increase Certain Fees Charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border Protection by 20 Percent $5, $5, $11
Consolidate and Reduce Federal Payments for Graduate Medical Education at Teaching Hospitals $68, $81
Reduce the Size of the Fighter Force by Retiring the F-22 $27
Eliminate or Modify Head-of-Household Filing Status $71, $192
Reduce Social Security Benefits for High Earners $40, $109, $184
Increase All Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages to $16 per Proof Gallon and Index Them for Inflation $92, $114
Adopt a Voucher Plan and Slow the Growth of Federal Contributions for Federal Employees' Health Benefits $16, $18
Reduce the Size of the Nuclear Triad $12, $18
Limit State Taxes on Health Care Providers $41, $209, $526
Expand Social Security to Include Newly Hired State and Local Government Employees $132
Eliminate Title I Agriculture Programs $49
Narrow Eligibility for VA’s Disability Compensation by Excluding Veterans With Low Disability Ratings $7, $48
End Enrollment in VA Medical Care for Veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8 $122
Include VA's Disability Payments in Taxable Income $161
Increase Individual Income Tax Rates $502, $774, $1081, $1329
Increase Federal Civilian Employees’ Contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System $44
Eliminate Subsidies for Certain Meals in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs $11
Reduce the Basic Allowance for Housing to 80 Percent of Average Housing Costs $15
Limit the Deduction for Charitable Giving $257, $272
Set Social Security Benefits to a Flat Amount $270, $593
Increase Excise Taxes on Tobacco Products $42
Introduce Enrollment Fees in TRICARE for Life $16
Cancel the Long-Range Standoff Weapon $16
Reduce Federal Medicaid Matching Rates $68, $604, $667
Increase the Corporate Income Tax Rate by 1 Percentage Point $129
Reduce Subsidies in the Crop Insurance Program $28
Use an Alternative Measure of Inflation to Index Social Security and Other Mandatory Programs $257
Reduce the Annual Across-the-Board Adjustment for Federal Civilian Employees’ Pay $73
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Social Security $712, $1406
Link Initial Social Security Benefits to Average Prices Instead of Average Earnings $69, $109
Reduce DoD’s Operation and Maintenance Appropriation (Excluding Funding for the Defense Health Program)  $60, $168
Increase Excise Taxes on Motor Fuels and Index for Inflation $237, $512
Make Social Security’s Benefit Structure More Progressive $8, $36
Reduce Funding for Naval Ship Construction to Historical Levels  $51
Impose an Excise Tax on Overland Freight Transport $351
Eliminate Eligibility for Starting Social Security Disability Benefits at Age 62 or Later $21
Eliminate Head Start $95
Tax Social Security and Railroad Retirement Benefits in the Same Way That Distributions From Defined Benefit Pensions Are Taxed $459
Limit Enrollment in the Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Programs $3, $5, $8
Increase the Payroll Tax Rate for Medicare Hospital Insurance $878, $1736
Eliminate Supplemental Security Income Benefits for Disabled Children $103
Reduce Department of Energy Funding for Energy Technology Development $3, $5, $8, $16
Reduce Pension Benefits for New Federal Retirees $3
Modify TRICARE Enrollment Fees and Cost Sharing for Working-Age Military Retirees $11
Impose a Fee on Large Financial Institutions $90, $103
Reduce Quality Bonus Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans $18, $94
Include Employer-Paid Premiums for Income Replacement Insurance in Employees’ Taxable Income $342
Limit Highway and Transit Funding to Expected Revenues $116
Eliminate the Special Retirement Supplement for New Federal Retirees $5
Cancel the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System $18
Tax Gains from Derivatives as Ordinary Income on a Mark-to-Market Basis $19
Convert Multiple Assistance Programs for Lower-Income People Into Smaller Block Grants to States $88, $160, $247
Tax All Pass-Through Business Owners Under SECA and Impose a Material Participation Standard $163
Eliminate the Federal Transit Administration $87
Eliminate Certain Forest Service Programs $6
Cancel Development and Production of the New Missile in the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Program $24
Divest Two Agencies of Their Electric Transmission Assets $2
Reduce TANF’s State Family Assistance Grant by 10 Percent $13
Increase Taxes That Finance the Federal Share of the Unemployment Insurance System $18
Increase the Passenger Fee for Aviation Security $21
Limit the Number of Cities Receiving Urban Areas Security Initiative Grants $1
Reduce Appropriations for Global Health to Their Level in 2000 $57
Change the National Flood Insurance Program $1
Narrow Eligibility for Veterans’ Disability Compensation by Excluding Certain Disabilities Unrelated to Military Duties $4, $33
Repeal Certain Tax Preferences for Energy and Natural Resource–Based Industries $2, $6, $8
Raise the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67 $15, $22
Increase Payments by Tenants in Federally Assisted Housing $21
Eliminate the International Trade Administration's Trade-Promotion Activities $3
Eliminate Human Space Exploration Programs $89
Tighten Eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program $8
Cancel Plans to Purchase Additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and Instead Purchase F-16s and F/A-18s $13
Impose Fees to Cover the Costs of Government Regulations and Charge for Services Provided to the Private Sector $0, $1, $2, $9, $14
Modify Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans for Health Risk $47, $67
Reduce Funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program or Eliminate the Program $9, $125
Convert the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program Into a Direct Loan Program $3