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GAO Finds $200B In Redundant Programs

From the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch:

Senator Tom Coburn

Billions in Bloat Uncovered in Beltway

By Damian Paletta
March 1, 2011

The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending

The GAO examined numerous federal agencies, including the departments of defense, agriculture and housing and urban development, and pointed to instances where different arms of the government should be coordinating or consolidating efforts to save taxpayers’ money.

Why did it take a Republican demanding such a report before the ‘Government Accounting Office’ noticed these $200 billion dollars in wasteful overlap? What is their job exactly?

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal

An earlier listing of highlights from the Wall Street Journal’s review of the GAO report is posted below.

The report says policy makers should consider creating a single food-safety agency because of a number of redundancies. The Food and Drug Administration makes sure that chicken eggs are "safe, wholesome, and properly labeled" while a division of the Department of Agriculture "is responsible for the safety of eggs processed into egg products."

Of course there will be endless arguments about which came first.

The report says there are 18 federal programs that spent a combined $62.5 billion in 2008 on food and nutrition assistance, but little is known about the effectiveness of 11 of these programs because they haven’t been well studied

So, naturally, under the guidance of Mr. and Mrs. Obama we are now throwing even more billions at the same ‘problem.’

The report took particular aim at government funding for surface transportation, including the building of roads and other projects, which the administration has made a major part of its push to update the country’s infrastructure.

The report said five divisions within the Department of Transportation account for 100 different programs that fund things like highways, rail projects and safety programs.

One program that funnels transportation funds to the states "functions as a cash-transfer general-purpose grant program, rather than as a tool for pursuing a cohesive national transportation policy," the report said.

Where is ‘Sherriff Joe’? But of course it is really just a "cash-transfer" program. Those union votes aren’t going to buy themselves.

Similarly, it chided the government over encouraging federal agencies to purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles while having policies that agencies reduce electricity consumption. It said government agencies have purchased numerous vehicles that run on alternative fuels only to find many gas stations don’t sell alternative fuels. This has led government agencies to turn around and request waivers so they didn’t have to use alternative fuels.

We are so shocked. When ‘green projects’ like this have such a great record.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation said the president’s budget for fiscal year 2012 "proposes to cut waste, inefficiency and bureaucracy by consolidating over 55 separate highway programs into five core programs, and by merging six transit programs into two programs."

That is until the unions have their say. And then these duplications will be quadrupled.

On teacher quality, the report identified 82 programs that often have similar descriptions and goals and are spread across 10 federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Nine of these programs are linked to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Fifty-three of the programs are relatively small, receiving $50 million or less, "and many have their own separate administrative processes."

And once again, Mr. Obama intends to throw still more untold billions of taxpayer into education. Because all of these programs have worked so well.

But there are teacher unions votes to buy – or rather, re-purchase.

The GAO highlighted 80 different economic development programs at the Department of Commerce, HUD, Department of Agriculture and Small Business Administration, that spent a combined $6.5 billion last year and often overlapped. For example, the four agencies combined to have 52 different programs that fund "entrepreneurial efforts," 35 programs for infrastructure, and 26 programs for telecommunications. It said 60% of the programs fund only one or two activities, making them "the most likely to overlap because many of them can only fund the same limited types of activities." …

And just think of all the good these programs have done for entrepreneurs. That is, union and other regular DNC contributing entrepreneurs.

The GAO study was required by a provision inserted by Sen. Coburn into a law that raised the federal borrowing limit last year. This report is the first produced in response to the provision.

Again we ask, where has the GAO been? They couldn’t stop surfing for porn long enough to notice all this hundreds of billions of dollars of waste?

From the Wall Street Journal’s earlier summary of the GAO report, via their Washington Wire:

Dept. of Overlap: GAO Finds Hundreds of Duplicative Programs

February 28, 2011

Congress’s investigative arm identified hundreds of potentially duplicative federal programs in a report to be released Tuesday.

Here are some of the highlights from that Government Accountability Office report:

1. Food safety: 15 agencies are involved in implementing numerous federal laws.

2. Defense: Numerous redundancies in the purchasing of tactical wheeled vehicles, procurement, and medical costs.

3. Economic development: 80 different programs spread across numerous agencies, often with similar goals.

4. Surface transportation: More than 100 programs run by five divisions within the Department of Transportation deal with surface transportation.

5. Energy: Eliminating duplicative federal efforts to increase ethanol production could save $5.7 billion each year.

6. Government information technology: 24 federal agencies deal with information technology.

7. Health: The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs could work together – instead of separately – to modernize their electronic health records systems.

8. Homelessness: More than 20 federal programs deal with homelessness.

9. Transportation Security Administration: Assessments of commercial trucking overlap with another federal agency.

10. Teachers: 82 programs that deal with teacher quality, spread across multiple agencies.

11. Financial literacy: 56 programs dealing with financial literacy.

12. Job training: 44 employment and training programs.

As Senator Coburn has so rightly noted, this report certainly makes all of Washington "look like jackasses."

And that is putting it much too kindly.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “GAO Finds $200B In Redundant Programs”

  1. mr_bill says:

    The report says policy makers should consider creating a single food-safety agency because of a number of redundancies. The Food and Drug Administration makes sure that chicken eggs are “safe, wholesome, and properly labeled” while a division of the Department of Agriculture “is responsible for the safety of eggs processed into egg products.” …

    nerobama’s solution for this is noted in the follorwing paragraph (not quoted by Steve, for space reasons). I thought the “solution” is emblematic of nerobama, and liberals in general.

    Spokespeople for the Department of Agriculture and FDA pointed to the Obama administration’s creation of the Food Safety Working Group, which works to better coordinate the government’s regulators.

    That’s right, to solve the redundancy problem with redundancy, nerobama hired more people to suck on the government teet! Yet another layer of redundant bureaucratic redundancy and inefficiency to add to the mess. This is the kind of thing we have been screaming about for years. Why is Washington DC so void of any commone sense?! I’m angry with the folks who allowed it to get this way, the folks that are continuing this massacre of the taxpayers, and those who aren’t doing much to reign it in. The new Congress can’t figure out how to cut more than $100 billion from a budget that spends 3700 billions? Get it together or you will join the class of democrats who were just un-ceremoniously tossed out on their behinds last November.

  2. proreason says:

    $100 to $200 billion (annually) in duplicative spending. Of course, that only counts spending overlaps with FEDERAL programs, not with state/county/municipality/school district spending, and certainly not spending that overlaps with private agencies that do most of the same functions far more efficiently and with vastly superior quality.

    And of course, the duplicative spending doesn’t address waste, inefficieancy, unlawful activities, and unnecessary or expired programs, which certainly far exceed the duplicative crap.

    Republicans better man up pretty soon, or their days in the sun will soon be over.

  3. tranquil.night says:

    And this is why the people are not going to be satisfied with Congressional Republicans and their $100 billion cuts, $60 billion , continuing resolution. It’s a capitulation to hostage-taking thugs.

    The taxpayer has no say that their money goes to fund a corrupt party and bloated incompetent government behemoth. It’s done at the point of a gun.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      20,000 gun laws on the books and not one protects us from
      those who rob us daily…….our gubbamint!
      Both jackass and elephant elements for sure!!!!
      I am sick of being asked to shut up and bend over on a daily basis.
      Pro nailed it when he espoused that the GOP better man up because
      they will soon see that, “There is no sunshine with their ass in the unemployment line.”

  4. SinCity says:

    So where in the constitution does it give the federal government the authority to even create these programs in the first place? I first heard about this story this morning on Fox News, where the commenter asked why they just don’t consolidate all of these redundant programs into one or two agencies. I asked, rhetorically, why not just elimiate them all and turn the responsibilty over to the states?!

    I especially like on WSJ’s list number 11. “Financial literacy: 56 programs dealing with financial literacy.”, the irony defies words. The federal government teaching about financial literacy… simply unbeliveable…

    • proreason says:

      “why they just don’t consolidate all of these redundant repugnant programs ”

      pardon me, SC, for taking the liberty to edit your comment.

      Other than the minor wording change, it is spot on.

  5. JS says:

    They are just spineless. Most of the new freshman congressmen and women voted to slash the federal government 20% across the board but the entrenched old guard members care more about keeping the best job they have every had then actually securing more liberty and freedom for the people they supposedly represent.

    We need to target multiple incumbant members and throw them out on their asses. When enough of them go the remainder will fall in line. Unfortunately we will have to wait until 2012 to do this.


  6. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The Federal Department Of Redundancy Department Of The United States

  7. canary says:

    The New American: Your Hometown & the United Nations’ Agenda 21

    William F Jasper 10 Feb 2011

    Other California “green-tech” firms have closed or are shifting much of their operations out of the state…:

    • Barefoot Motors, maker of electric ATVs, moved to Oregon.
    • Mariah Power, a manufacturer of small wind turbines, moved to Nevada and Michigan.
    • Sonatype, Inc., which services many high-tech companies, moved to Maryland.
    • Adobe Systems, Inc., the software giant, is building its huge new campus in Utah.

    …California include Fidelity National Financial (moved operations to Florida); CalPortland Cement (closed its Riverside County plant); Buck Knives (moved to Idaho); Multi-Fineline Electronix, Inc. (moved to China); and Thomas Brothers Maps (moved to Illinois and India)…

    ICLEI, the Hidden UN Component
    There is a hidden component to the saga of California’s ongoing woes…

    (UNCED), the eco-confab in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,.. …NGO activists, and journalists….

    The five main documents to come out of the UNCED process are:

    • The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
    • The Statement of Forest Principles
    • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    • The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
    • Agenda 21

    …NGO known as ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability….

    ICLEI-USA boasts of its members: “Their populations range in size from 832 people in Cimarron, New Mexico, to more than 8 million in New York City.”…

    More than 130 of those ICLEI members are California counties and cities that have led the efforts that now have California mimicking the economic “viability” of Greece and Spain,…

    The Council was established when more than 200 local governments from 43 countries convened at our inaugural conference, the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, at the United Nations in New York.

    …ICLEI explains some of its networking strategies…

    connect cities and local governments to the United Nations and other international bodies. ICLEI represents local governments at the United Nations (UN) Commission on Sustainable Development, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Conventions on Biodiversity and Combating Desertification and co-operates with the UN Environment Programme and UN-HABITAT…

    Forge multi-stakeholder partnerships such as Resilient Cities, a global framework on urban resilience and climate adaptation where local governments, international agencies, development banks, ministries, institutes, and others, collaborate…

    The former Clinton advisor continued:

    “…Participating in a UN advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society… So, we call our processes something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management or smart growth…”

    …the Earth Summit program have been enacted piecemeal at the state and local levels, but as “Smart Growth Initiatives,” “Resilient Cities,” “Regional Visioning Projects,” “STAR Sustainable Communities,” “Green Jobs,” and “Green Building Codes.”… “local visioning,” “community in-put,” and “consensus building,”….

    …Agenda 21 proposes a global regime that will monitor, oversee, and strictly regulate our planet’s oceans, lakes, streams, rivers, aquifers, sea beds, coastlands, wetlands, forests, jungles, grasslands, farmland, deserts, tundra, and mountains…. It envisions a global scheme for healthcare, education, nutrition, agriculture, labor, production, and consumption — in short, everything; there is nothing on, in, over, or under the Earth that doesn’t fall within the purview of some part of Agenda 21. Copies of the 1,100-page document were hard to come by for several years after its debut at Rio, but I was able to bring back a “media copy” of the five-pound “treasure” from the summit. It is now available online at http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/.

    … endorsed by every nation at the summit, including the United States….

    … U.S. government agencies, NGOs, and tax-exempt foundations. ICLEI, which has helped initiate UN programs in hundreds of U.S. communities, works closely with UN agencies such as UNESCO, UNEP, WHO, UNFCCC, IPCC, IMF, and the World Bank, as well as the U.S. State Department, Department of Energy, EPA, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, World Economic Forum, Club of Rome, Rockefeller Foundation, the European Union, and other similar entities….

    (for long indepth informing article & photos)
    The New American: Obama’s Favorite Solar Manufacturer Flounders
    by James Heiser 01 March 2011

    …With a billion dollars of venture capital, and a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Obama’s handpicked example…new jobs at Solyndra has also been put on hold…

    …, there were already reasons to worry that Solyndra’s prospects could be less than stellar….

    …On taking office, [Energy Secretary Steven] Chu made dispersing existing and newly available loans a high priority, and created a process specifically for evaluating and expediting them….

    ——————————————————UN’s Green Economy May Cost $2.5 Trillion a Year

    Update: Obama Administration Proposes $53 Billion for High-Speed Rail


    This is all happening in my rural town. We are not NYC. No Subways. You are buying us a few more buses, & we are just beginning to get taxies. The majority is 1 story homes, businesses. There is a hospital that may be 4 or 5 stories.

    New rule in my neck of the woods.
    Apartment & Reality Co. are to solicit renters who do not own cars or vehicles.
    We already have the “must replace a tree with a tree. We do lose trees to storms. No more cutting branches around power lines. Just to the edge, so we pay for out of state contractors to trim trees like you mow the grass.

    New rule. A shrub must be replaced with a shrub (for appearances).

    Put a reg piece of paper in your newspaper/phone book bin?
    Your trash will stay til you remove it.
    Our town has recently unionized city workers (except the illegals Mexicans who work on the streets. We have to wait til there is another stabbing so the city can say it’s not our fault they showed fake IDs.

    We are paying the trash collection workers to sift through and measure our trash.

  8. GetBackJack says:

    “GAO Finds $200B In Redundant Programs” — The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! The Hell You Say! …

    Oops, I’m being redundant ….

    • canary says:

      ” This report is the first produced in response to the provision.”

      Give the Democrats more time to cook the books with false figures.
      It still doesn’t hit on the billions of continuing federal stimulus money Obama is pouring out to ghost agencies.

      I know for a fact that the stimulus reward money going to schools is way behind in recording the amounts.

  9. wardmama4 says:

    $200 billion – in pure, unadulterated waste. That’s all it is, waste, so CUT IT NOW.

    From unspent stimulus fund -‘some $500 billion’- that is a very nice amount to cut – especially with this little gem attached to the reasoning – ‘It is estimated that at least 10 percent of any fund of this magnitude will be lost to fraud. In this case, that amounts to 78.7 billion dollars ($78,700,000,000)’- CUT IT NOW.

    Cut 10% from every program – come on people – I worked for the Army (1982) – I saw the people run to spend their ‘budgets’ just before the fiscal year expired – buying tvs and ash trays (for no smoking areas) – just to spend the money so that in the next fiscal budget they got at least that but could ask for MORE – that is how it is done in DC – spend it, Spend It, SPEND IT and then DEMAND MORE CUT IT NOW

    Term Limits for Congress (good enough for the POTUS, good enough for Congress) – Set pay for Congress – see previous for reasoning. They pay for/fund their own retirement and they pay for their own healthcare insurance.

    Defense is the only Constitutional program – so cut it’s budget back to 2008 levels. Cut it Now

    Cut all Depts – Ed, EPA, etc – Let the States fund what ever they want, drop what ever they feel is useless. States Rights over Federal Control. Cut it Now

    Drill Here, Drill Now – and oh yeah – build some refineries to go with – The Bakken Formation supposedly has more oil than the Middle East – and lets not forget ANWAR – between them – the US could not only be independent from foreign oil (but let’s remember that the first two oil countries we import from are Canada & Mexico – NOT THE MIDDLE EAST) but be a major player in the oil biz – and just think of all those Americans put to work for American companies in America. Put Americans back to work – Drill Here, Drill Now

    and finally,
    Jim Wallis and other false prophets have spent untold MILLIONS to make an ad – What Would Jesus Cut?
    [Just imagine, if you will how many poor people could have been fed with that money?!?]


    Notice the hypocritical ‘separation of church and state’ (NOT) moment here – When the Liberal Left (who has no morals at all) – attempts to guilt America into continued funding of their slush funds and continued attempt to turn America into a 3rd World socialist cesspool? And the comparison to foreign aid for mosquito netting (due to Leftists forcing the banning of DDT, which has lead to millions of deaths from malaria) to the Defense budget – worse than an apples and oranges comparison – Defense is Constitutional – show me exactly where sending millions overseas for netting is in the Constitution?

    I demand the separation of fake Christian prophets and my tax money. Imagine if a conservative religious leader had come up with this concept (purely hypothetical as true Christina Leaders are not that deceptive, yet). Fund Defense 100% . Cut every ‘social’ program by 100% – from this point – We can start negotiations – how about that?

    WWJD? – He would not support the government taking money from anyone to give it to others and/or political slush funds. Jesus never mentioned at all taking more for ‘social’ programs – He did however mention giving from one’s own purse to the poor – Want to fund the poor – Great – Use your OWN money!

    Liars, cheats, hypocrites, thieves, traitors and just plain criminals – Republicans in DC better grow a spine and stop this – NOW.

  10. Chuckk says:

    I’m surprised they only came up with 200 billion in overlaps. Of course it was a government agency doing the study, so what could we expect?

    And I bet not a single duplicate program will be cut or eliminated.

    • canary says:

      Chuck the article states “This report is the first produced in response to the provision.” I know for a fact they very back logged in accounting for much more federal stimulus money back in 2009; that is how fast it continues to be spent. The small businesses are getting nothing. Some of the biggest companies are getting federal tons of stimulus money. Requirements (strings attached) for local & state municipals aren’t even being checked to see if they even met the requirements. A small example is how auto dealers did not go by the lower millage requirements between the clunker and new car.

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