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  • Duplication in Government Programs Costs Taxpayers at Least $100 Billion

    House Republicans could fulfill their Pledge to America promise of cutting $100 billion simply by eliminating duplicative government programs. That’s the startling news from a new Government Accountability Office report today that exposes widespread waste in the federal government.

    GAO’s 345-page report (PDF) was initiated more than a year ago when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) forced a 94-0 Senate vote on the issue. Now, each year GAO must identify federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives with duplicative goals and activities. It’s up to Congress to act, but given the recent desire to cut spending, there is no shortage of waste — at least $100 billion, according to Coburn’s estimate.

    “This report also shows we could save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year without cutting services,” Coburn said. “And, in many cases, smart consolidations will improve service.”

    Some of GAO’s most egregious examples of government waste highlighted by Coburn’s office include:

    • Twenty agencies operating 56 programs dedicated to financial literacy. GAO and agencies can’t estimate what they cost.
    • The federal government runs 80 economic development programs at four agencies at a cost of $6.5 billion.
    • The Department of Transportation spends $58 billion on 100 programs run by five agencies with 6,000 employees that haven’t evolved since 1956.
    • Fifteen federal agencies administer more than 30 food-related laws.
    • At least five departments, eight agencies and more than two dozen presidential appointees oversee $6.48 billion related to bioterrorism.

    GAO’s conclusions repeatedly cited a lack of coordination between agencies. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture secured responsibility for monitoring catfish in the farm bill, splitting seafood oversight between USDA and Food and Drug Administration, according to GAO.

    “Considering the amount of program dollars involved in the issues we have identified, even limited adjustments could result in significant savings,” GAO concluded in the report.

    Coburn, who recently exposed fraud and mismanagement at federal job-training programs, has promised to keep a close eye on government waste.

    “GAO has identified a mother lode of government waste and duplication that should keep Congress busy for the rest of the year,” he said.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Duplication in Government Programs Costs Taxpayers at Least $100 Billion

    1. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      "…that haven’t evolved…" The programs, the agencies, or the employees?

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

    2. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Finally, elimination of duplication has come to the forefront of the debt reduction debate. I read an article yesterday on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) work. This is a champion effort. The article, as yours, does not get into the entire list of duplication to eliminate, but if they were not added in the GAO list, I would like to see the following added:

      1. Consolidate all fleet vehicles under one department.

      2. Consolidate all parking facilities and issuing parking permits under one department.

      3. Consolidate all ID Badge processing offices under one department.

      4. Consolidate all security clearance processing under one department.

      5. Consolidate all open government programs under one department.

      6. Consolidate all payrolls under one department.

      7. Consolidate all human resources under one department.

      8. Consolidate all IT under one department.

      9. Consolidate all contracting and contracting oversight under one department.

      10. Consolidate all public relations and media under one department.

      . . . and so on and so on.

      Here is the justification:

      1. There are 68 different Early education programs

      2. 56 programs dedicated to financial literacy

      3. 80 economic development programs

      4. 59 FOIA programs.

      5. 100 programs being run in the DOT

      6. 15 federal agencies administer more than 30 food-related laws.

      7. 8 agencies related to bioterrorism.

      8. 16 Intelligence agencies

      9. And so on and so on.

      Here is the thing this list – which is a very small percentage of the total amount of duplication in the federal government – accumulates to 402 programs. The org charts for these programs include a GS15 “Chief” and potentially 1 to 3 GS15’s reporting to these Chiefs, with each of these having 2 to 3 GS14’s reporting to them. Then each of the GS14’s can have no one reporting to them or just have 1 or 2 GS13’s or GS12’s reporting to them – though others can have far more. Let’s say the average pay and benefits for these folks edges over $170,000 each ($125,000 pay with $45,000 in benefits – average fed is paid $82,000 with $41,000 in average benefits. If one were to total a single program org chart as I presented above comprising of 3 – GS15’s and 6 GS14’s the cost per program is $1,530,000 just in employee costs! We are not talking about office space needed (the DoD is spending nearly a billion dollars to build an elaborate office building in Alexandra to house 6,400 federal civilian employees!) If this employee cost were multiplied over, just the 402 programs listed above the cost would be $6.2 billion dollars. There are thousands of such offices. There is absolutely no reason why we need 402 programs/agencies in that list when we can get away with only 8.

      This would receive nearly 100% approval from the voters. No program is eliminated. We just consolidated everything to run efficiently. Which is exactly what Americans want! This will eliminate what we all know is a very "top-heavy" federal bureaucracy. High level federal employees will have more people reporting to them, thereby justifying their higher pay.

      Congress should get to work on consolidating these duplicative programs now. Congress should also impose a 15% across the board cut (ABC) in each individual program office for this year, and another 15% ABC next year. This are the easy cuts – and they need to be done. This work will make the federal government work as efficient as we can get it.

      After this is done, congress should then and only then be able to start discussing elimination of departments, agencies and programs as the balanced budget will demand!

    3. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      Remember a program from the late 1970's/80's & beyond (maybe even a particular newscast) had a segment called, "The Fleecing of America"? I seem to remember the Golden Fleece Award for the most outrageous amount spent by congress on the most useless program/project imaginable.

      How many years did it take for the GAO or some agency to figure out that significant amounts of waste exist due to congressional lunacy?

      I'm confident many of us with cogent reasoning skills thought many of our elected officials were jackasses before this GAO report was released. The GAO report simply validates what we thought and confirms our conclusion about this rather special group of nefarious individuals.

      Perhaps those elected officials that still retain their integrity will have their staffs’ scrub this GAO report to refine the base information to identify which department or agency optimizes the use of taxpayer funds to accomplish the overlapped task or law as well as which ones to defund and get rid of entirely. Many of us could render a meaningful short list of departments and agencies to get rid of since they have either totally failed to meet their chartered mission (usually established by former President Carter) and many others that were meant to be temporary organizations that seem to go on and on forever yet never having really produced a meaningful difference for the taxpayers.

    4. Chicago says:

      After we cut all these “frivolous programs” what will happen to the people working in those agencies, how will we fulfill on the obligations and promises made by the programs? How it is that your obligations are more important than mine?

      Maybe we can get the Congressional Budgeting Office and the United State Chamber of Commerce to get together and file for bankruptcy, that way we could start with a blank slate. Close the government for remodeling for a month or so and reopen it under new management that would save a bundle. What do you think about this one?

    5. Bobbie says:

      The redundancy of programs paid at tax payers expense is unAmerican, deceiving and condescending of us, as Americans. The removal of duplicates is an easy fix and something of a no brainer for expectancy of democrat compliance. What a waste. Democrats have become a waste of a party, unable to work efficiently, effectively and with dignity and integrity. They are the destroyers of a once strong people and destroyers of a people who will never gain the strength to respect their individual freedom. Democrat job security.

      The broadening of qualifications to get on the government dole has to be restrictive, not accommodating.

    6. Pingback: » GAO Report: Duplication in Government Programs Costs Taxpayers at Least $100 Billion | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. MySquawk

    7. JOHN CHINN says:

      My question is this:

      Who do you report anything to when no one wants to know, First;And, second: Who is going to do anything about it ?

      The person reporting waste is in more jeopardy than the WASTER. Those committing Fraud are less likely to be dealt with than is the person reporting.

      We have an administration and a Justice Dept, with Eric Holder that makes up the Law as it goes along .

    8. George Colgrove, VA says:


      We are in debt. Big time! We cannot afford these high paid employees. They will go on unemployment at a cost reduction to the taxpayer. Then they will find work elsewhere. It is what the private sector does. When a company loses money it fires people. The feds have been loosing trillions annually. We need to cut back. The feds were not concerned about 9 million non-feds who lost their jobs just a few years ago.

    9. Pingback: Lawmakers Form House-Senate Effort to Eliminate Duplicative Government Programs | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    10. Orange, California says:

      Or the $125 billion in "improper payments" in 2010, 95% of it from 10 agencies.

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