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For What, All These Wars?
CAGW Welcomes GAO Report, Calls for Spring Cleaning in Congress
(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today issued a statement expressing its support for the recommendations in the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report on duplicative or wasteful federal programs.
The report, titled “Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue,” identifies 51 areas of government “where programs may be able to achieve greater efficiencies or become more effective in providing government services.” Among those programs are hundreds of agencies, offices, and initiatives that provide similar or identical services to the same populations, including 53 programs across four departments that focus on supporting entrepreneurs; 50 programs across 20 federal agencies promoting financial literacy; and 14 programs across three departments for the administration of grants and loans to reduce diesel emissions.
GAO also recommended 18 cost-saving measures that could save taxpayers billions, including consolidating federal offices, selling excess uranium at the Department of Energy, replacing the $1 bill with a $1 coin, and cutting improper payments by Medicare and Medicaid, which totaled an estimated $65 billion in fiscal year 2011. CAGW has long advocated eliminating the $1 bill in favor of a $1 coin, which would save taxpayers at least $4.4 billion over a 30-year period, or $146 million per year.
“We consider this report further proof that government waste is endemic in Washington," said CAGW President Tom Schatz. "With the nation facing another trillion dollar-plus deficit in fiscal year 2012, it is imperative that every single example of duplication and overlap in this report be eliminated immediately.”
Despite its enthusiasm, CAGW was quick to point out that much of the waste highlighted by the GAO has been obvious for many years, but that Congress has failed to address the problems.
“While it is gratifying to have a nonpartisan government oversight entity endorse so many of the cuts and consolidations we support, Congress cannot continue to claim ignorance of these duplicative, bloated programs,” added Schatz. “The GAO has long published annual accounts of improvident spending, and many of its most recent recommendations were part of both the original Grace Commission report, which led to CAGW’s founding 27 years ago, and GAO’s similar report from a year ago. Obviously, despite reminders from all sides that wasteful spending is rampant and endemic to government, many of these glaringly wasteful programs have been allowed to continue and even grow.
“While the GAO acknowledges that Congress has ‘taken actions to address’ some of its 2011 recommendations, many of those steps amount to little more than empty rhetoric. CAGW has been fighting to eliminate duplication and waste by publishing its Congressional Pig Book and Prime Cuts database since the 1990s, and taxpayers can count on CAGW to continue to shed light on opportunities to lighten the big-government load,” Schatz concluded.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.