GAO: Billions Wasted in Duplicate Federal Programs - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
GAO: Billions Wasted in Duplicate Federal Programs

The nonpartisan General Accounting Office (GAO) has looked into the amount of duplicate government programs and found a massive amount of waste. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who requested the study, has estimated duplicative spending costs between $100 billion and $200 billion. The GAO wasn’t that specific but concluded, “Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.”

According to a copy of the report obtained by the Wall Street Journal, there’s bloat throughout the government:

  • 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.
  • There are 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.
  • 18 federal programs spent a combined $62.5 billion in 2008 on food and nutrition assistance, but there is little information about the efficacy of 11 of these programs because they haven’t been well studied.
  • Five divisions within the Department of Transportation account for 100 different programs that fund things like highways, rail projects and safety programs.
  • GAO reports there are 130,000 military and government medical professionals, 59 Defense Department hospitals and hundreds of clinics that could benefit from consolidating administrative, management and clinical functions
  • There are numerous redundancies in the military’s purchase of tactical wheeled vehicles and procurement.

The WSJ also has a 12-point summary here. These finding will loom large in the budget battle as this kind of spending — the old-fashioned “waste, fraud, and abuse” — should theoretically be the easiest to cut. Yet even duplicative spending will have its defenders in the executive branch or on Capitol Hill.

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