Yesterday, we dinged Senator Coburn for his involvement in the 'Gang of Six'. Today, we commend him for initiating a GAO report which exposes the contempt in which the statists view taxpayers.
Conservatives have always known that the promulgation of government programs was not conceived from some genuine conviction of Keynesian economics, or a professed concern for the recipients. Most government programs serve the function of a circuitous campaign financing operation for the Democrat Party. Taxpayer funds are expended indiscriminately for redistribution programs that create dependency and are administered by special interest groups. The dependency constituents are to reciprocate the taxpayer-funded favor by voting for Democrats, while the special interest groups are to recompense with campaign donations.
The best illustration of the malevolence fueling the expansion of government is the appalling degree of waste and duplication that is perpetuated by the advocates of big government. It is one thing to credulously believe in the virtues of unconstitutional and inefficacious programs. It is downright criminal to compound them with duplicative programs with no regard for the consequences. In other words, one ethanol program might demonstrate economic illiteracy; multiple ethanol programs exemplify Democrat payoffs to special interests.
Earlier today, Senator Coburn announced that the GAO report he commissioned a year ago has identified 34 major areas of wasteful spending, totaling at least $100-$200 billion. You can read the full 345 page report here and the 15 page summary of wasteful agencies and programs here.
Senator Coburn came out swinging in today's press release and warns that this report is just a glimpse of more to come:
“This report also shows we could save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year without cutting services. And, in many cases, smart consolidations will improve service. GAO has identified a mother lode of government waste and duplication that should keep Congress busy for the rest of the year, Dr. Coburn said”
GAO did not provide a specific estimate of the cost of duplication in its report but Dr. Coburn estimated it to be at least $100 billion. Moreover, GAO only examined a fraction of the federal budget and only a handful of missions of varying scope. Dr. Coburn expects future reports will identify even greater overlap, duplication, and mismanagement. (emphasis added)
Here are some key findings of the report which focused primarily on duplicative programs within the Department of Defense, Agriculture, and HUD:
- There are 18 domestic food assistance programs administered by 3 executive departments costing $62.5 billion. Little is known about 11 of the programs because "they have not been well studied".
- 20 programs for the homeless are overseen by 7 agencies costing $2.9 billion. Fragmentation has resulted in the collection of data with "limited usefulness".
- 8 agencies administer 80 transportation programs for the "transportation disadvantaged". Does anyone believe that these programs would be canceled if Obama implemented his rail plans?
- There are 47 job training and employment programs, half of which had no performance review since 2004. Yes, back when unemployment was under 5%.
- 82 "teacher quality" programs cost $4 billion annually.
- 56 "financial literacy" programs are administered by 20 agencies. There is no cost analysis because the agencies won't document it. I guess members of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers have not attended these programs.
- 15 agencies administer 30 food safety programs. One can only imagine the chaotic scene within the USDA once last year's egregious FDA food takeover bill is implemented.
- 80 economic development programs are administered by 4 departments which cost taxpayers $6.5 billion.
- Over 20 agencies oversee 5 programs that are charged with "reducing the reliance on petroleum fuel for the federal government's vehicle fleet". The cost? "Undetermined".
- Five departments within the Department of Transportation account for 100 different programs that fund things like highways, rail projects and safety programs costing $58 billion in 2010.
These are just a few of the most egregious findings from the GAO report. It is quite obvious that if the full scope of the federal budget were scrutinized, we would find hundreds of billions more in duplicity and waste.
Last month, some members of the GOP leadership referred to efforts by conservative members to cut spending across the board as lazy. They asserted that there were no specific cuts that were identified to augment the $61 billion in cuts proposed in the original budget bill. Well, Senator Coburn has another $100 billion (if not more) in targeted cuts for them to include in the final CR. You can't find more prudent targeted cuts than duplicative programs identified by Congress's bi-partisan oversight arm. And besides, do you really want to pump in another $100 billion annually to the Democrat's money laundering scheme?
Cross-posted to Red Meat Conservative