Report: Eliminating duplication in federal government could save taxpayers $45 billion

money down the drain

Most politicians like to beat on their chests when it comes to eliminating government waste and unnecessarily programs. But when it comes to actually doing it, they sound a lot like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who had the audacity to claim last year that “the cupboard is bare,” adding that “[t]here’s no more cuts to make.”

The fact is that there’s plenty of cuts that could be made, and the federal government could save taxpayers billions of dollars just by eliminating duplication. That, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan federal audit agency.

The GAO report identified 26 areas of fragmentation, duplication, or overlapping federal programs that, according to the report “span a broad range of government missions and functions.” That is in addition to the 162 areas identified in previous reports.

To give you an idea of how nonsensical the federal government is, the report, for example, found that 11 different agencies did autism research from FY 2008 to FY 2012. The funds awarded to these agencies totaled nearly $1.2 billion.

Another example is overlapping disability and unemployment payments. Simple reforms to address this problem would save taxpayers $1.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who sponsored the law which requires the annual audit, said the areas identified in the report could taxpayers $45 billion over the next five years, adding to potential savings already identified by the GAO.

“Over the past four years, GAO’s duplication reports have identified a mother lode of potential savings – at least $200 billion annually,” Coburn said in a statement. “Sadly, Congress has done very little digging. We’ve achieved a small fraction of the savings GAO has revealed.”

“No American – regardless of party or ideology – wants to see their tax dollars fund unnecessary duplication and bloat, particularly when real incomes have flat-lined and our economy is being dragged down by a $17 trillion debt,” he added.

The GAO noted that just 20% of 162 areas identified in previous reports had been addressed by Congress and/or the Obama administration, while 60% were at least partially addressed. These actions have saved taxpayers $10 billion. Fifteen percent (15%) of the previous recommendations had not yet been addressed.

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