GAO: Government Failing to Cut Waste and Duplicate Programs

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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In order to balance the budget we must severely limit the dependency state and eliminate many agencies and programs.  However, the least we can do is to cut duplicative programs.  This is something that should be a bipartisan endevour, yet Congress is dragging it’s feet.

Last March, the Government Accountability Office published a report that identified 81 areas with unnecessary duplication within the federal government.  Specifically, they cited 53 programs to help entrepreneurs, 15 unmanned-aircraft programs and more than nine different agencies involved in protecting food and agriculture systems from disasters and terrorist attacks.

Yesterday, the GAO put out two more reports; one detailing Congress’s failure to deal with original recommendations and another identifying an additional 51 areas to streamline government.  The follow-up report, which was order by Senator Tom Coburn, found that Congress completed action to eliminate or combine just 4 of the 81 duplicative programs.  Why are they dragging their feet?

In addition, the new report found the following areas in need of efficiency:

• The Justice Department has spent $30 billion on overlapping crime-prevention and victim-services grants since 2005.

• Twenty agencies administer 160 programs to support homeowners and renters, including 39 programs aimed at those buying, selling or financing homes. Those 39 programs span four federal departments.

• Two-thirds of all “green building” initiatives to push environmentally friendly building and updating don’t have goals or performance measures, which the GAO said means it’s impossible to measure how well they’re doing.

Although these efficiency measures will only save a few billion dollars, it speaks volumes that there is not an immediate bipartisan consensus to eliminate this waste.