Cut everything to 1946 levels. The levels where we had just finished a war. The levels before the cold war started. Well, with some inflation.
Everything. Parks. Social Security. Military.
Or: we could cut everything but the bare nececities of a nation. That being a military, and transportation networks. Everything else is secondary. FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.
The primary purpose of any government is to protect its citizens from physical harm. Such as an invasion. Nothing else is more important; if its citizens are dead, then there is no nation.
So, what can we model?
The 1946 budget was $55,232,000,000 (55.232 billion dollars). With inflation, that is $660,147,000,000 (660.15 billion dollars, 2013 dollars). The current budget is $3,803,360,000,000 (3,803 billion dollars). That is a significant increase. Specifically, a over 575%. Yes, over five times larger than the 1946 budget in real buying power. And the 1946 budget was after a war was "finished" -- but would continue on to the cold war.
Ok, the GDP of the US has increased, so has the federal "income".
In 1946, the US government took $39,296,000,000 (39.296 billion dollars) which is $469,675,000,00 (469.68 billion dollars) today. In contrast, the US government brings in $2,901,960,000,000 (2,902 billion dollars) today. That is actually about the same percentage today as it was in 1946. That said, the "real" take of the government is 617% more today than it was in 1946.
This is all assuming I did the math correctly.
But what can we do?
We can cut the military. But the tea party won't like it.
We can cut social security. But the democrats won't like it.
We can do both. Both groups will be mad.
So be it. It is better to have people (with guns) mad at you now than with a government coming (with guns) to take everything you own later.
It is better to let people who cannot support themselves die than to force the entire society to die.
It is better to get non-governmental organizations to help those in need (churches, any atheist groups that help, etc.)
Ok, so what did the founders of the United States have in mind?
They wrote in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness."
Notice how they believed that men had the right to Life (the right to live, to not have someone else kill you), the right to Liberty (the right to not be locked up against your will, except under very specific circumstances), and the pursuit of happiness, but not the guarantee of happiness. Whether or not we achieve happiness is up to the individual, not the state.
That said, in that same document, they said "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the
same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it
is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to
provide new Guards for their future security" such that their families and descendents would not live under a tyrannical government.
Maybe they forsaw the future, or expected something to occur. There are some groups who will argue (and can argue with a straight face) that certain recent actions by the US government should have the populace up in arms.
And it does. Some anyway. Some people encrypt everything, in transit and at rest. Others do not. Some take up arms. Some take up words. Some resort to the courtroom.
Sometime, one of those, or a combination of those, will be successful, and the US government will change drastically. If there is still a US government.
The only question is, will the US government willingly reduce its budget, or will it be driven to?