Oh, good: Latest GAO report details billions more in wasteful/duplicative spending

posted at 9:21 pm on April 9, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Those $85 billion in sequester cuts over which the Obama administration has been trying their darndest to whip everyone into a national freakout, insisting that employees will need to be furloughed, air traffic control towers are going to be shut down, and the White House can’t afford historical tours? Practically peanuts compared to the amount of money the federal government drops on redundant and wasteful spending according to the third annual installment of a Government Accountability Office report, says Sen. Tom Coburn:

These are among the findings in a new Government Accountability Office report that found 162 areas where services are duplicated or money is being wasted in the federal government. The annual cost of duplicative or wasteful programs is estimated at roughly $250 billion, according to fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. …

“That’s 250 billion dollars a year, that’s three times what the sequester was,” Coburn said. “Just in waste, in duplication, in stupidity, and lack of efficiency and effectiveness by the federal government. (It) makes you want to pull your hair out.” …

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said there’s nothing partisan about these findings.

“It’s partisan only in the sense that it’s the bureaucracy against the American people. It’s the fiefdoms within government against any kind of real reform,” he said.

And, just to really get you in the headdesk-ing mood, here are some of the specific examples of the areas in which the government just can’t seem to muster the willpower to clean up its act, emphasis mine. You’re welcome.

-Repealing provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill that assigned U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service responsibility for examining and inspecting catfish and for creating a catfish inspection program would avoid duplication of federal programs and could save taxpayers millions of dollars annually without affecting the safety of catfish intended for human consumption.

-Combat Uniforms The Department of Defense’s fragmented approach to developing and acquiring uniforms could be more efficient, better protect service members, and result in up to $82 million in savings in development and acquisition cost savings through increased collaboration among the military services.

-Renewable Energy Initiatives Federal support for wind and solar energy, biofuels, and other renewable energy sources, which has been estimated at several billion dollars per year, is fragmented because 23 agencies implemented hundreds of renewable energy initiatives in fiscal year 2010—the latest year for which GAO developed these original data. Further, the Departments of Energy and Agriculture could take additional actions—to the extent possible within their statutory authority—to help ensure effective use of financial support from several wind initiatives, which GAO found provided duplicative support that may not have been needed in all cases for projects to be built.

As I mentioned yesterday, the GAO also has a new report out on the Obama administration’s many instances of overlap with its wildly generous wind-energy initiatives alone; as Sen. Coburn put it, when it comes to this administration’s handling of green-energy subsidies, “Nobody knows what’s going on there. Not the Department of Energy, all these other 13 other agencies that have these programs. Nobody knows. We’re just throwing money thinking it will stick on the wall.” Oof.


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