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  • Cut the Government Waste, but Fix Entitlements, Too

    The General Services Administration’s (GSA) scandalous spending at a 2010 conference has gotten plenty of attention. Rightly so, because the GSA officials’ misconduct resulted in a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars. But there is much more than egregious abuses of public resources by federal employees and managers.

    One of the underlying drivers of such irresponsible spending is a big, bloated government that has a penchant for waste and an accompanying lack of oversight. Taxpayers deserve a better return on their money, a truth that Congress should put into practice by cleaning up any and all government waste.

    Washington also misuses taxpayer dollars in less blatant ways. Take the 47 federal job training programs the federal government runs, for example. Or the 15 agencies involved in food safety and inspection. Congress ought to identify areas of program duplication and fragmentation and then consolidate or eliminate unnecessary ones. This recent Government Accountability Office report offers a myriad of programs to cut, combine, or restructure.

    Don’t be fooled, though, by thinking that tackling waste alone or combining a handful of programs will solve the country’s twin crises of spending and debt. Waste is deplorable and unacceptable, yet it is small in comparison to the trillion-dollar-plus deficits recorded in recent years. More importantly, it is not the main contributor to Washington’s spending problem. The three major entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—constitute the lion’s share of current spending.

    The future portends an even more oppressive burden from entitlement spending. The first baby boomers have reached retirement already, and millions more will become eligible for Medicare and Social Security benefits. Entitlement spending is on track to eclipse all tax revenues, meaning at that point the federal government would have to tax or borrow money to fund all other programs.

    Congress and the President are expected to spend today’s taxpayer dollars wisely. They can accomplish this by rooting out waste, eliminating duplicative programs, and returning to a more limited government at the federal level. All of this will help restore Americans’ trust in their government. But to assure Americans that their children can have an even more prosperous future than they had, Congress should do the hard work of proposing entitlement program reforms—reforms that will get spending under control and unshackle future generations from crushing levels of taxes and debt.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Cut the Government Waste, but Fix Entitlements, Too

    1. John Gray says:

      Many people I spoke with during tax season agree we need to cut "entitlements" but they want everybodies ELSES entitlements cut, "but don't touch mine! I earned it". Really? If people only knew the crap that they are paying for in taxes. And it's not just at the federal level. Its at the state and local level too, right here in PWC. Some of the benefits we pay for are unbelievably generous. You and I are on the hook for $220 million in UNPIAD guaranteed County pension benefits and $777 million in UNPAID guaranteed County teacher retrirment benefits alone! Just about a billion dollars.

    2. Bobbie says:

      what about the "entitled" employees helping themselves to benefits and pensions without showing good standings in their job performance? Like the lady from the GSA scandal center that said employees are "entitled" to their outrageous bonuses after crippling the work? Later of course someone had to reiterate "entitlement" wasn't what she meant when all in all the truth is on the tip of the tongue. These services are overstaffed and inefficient with unfair benefits and wages.

      For this government to duplicate services is more than criminal, immoral and unethical. Qualifications are wide. If you aren't qualified here your qualified there and more are even favored to qualify in every program regardless of the duplicity.

      If people weren't so weak minded to consume time filling out government paperwork with all their personal information, they'd use their wisdom to build their self reliance, living free! Initiative doesn't come from GOVERNMENT!

      Everything needs correcting. Waste, fraud and corruption has to go, ACCOUNTABILITY has to stand! Especially when government people are taking the money of people NOT government! No one should look to government to cover their way and government programs and free food, shouldn't hinder the ability. People have been misled to build attitudes of entitlements. Time is of the essence for people to start living the constitutional way or make other choices somewhere else.

    3. RyRy says:

      The incentives the government faces are very bad with respect to results and value. The way to improve the return on tax payer dollars is to return the dollars to the tax payer. Again, the incentives which lead to bloated and wasteful government are inherent and cannot be fixed by "fixing" the government. It has to be limited, else we risk it growing until entitlement is the mainstream and individual liberties are considered radical. I don't think my comment is related to your post, but I feel compelled to dispel and speak out against larger government (or conversely, smaller and smaller individual choices).

    4. Laura says:

      What happened to the Harvard study citing $700billion in Medicare waste per year? No one acting on it…worse, no one demanding action on it,

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