On Tuesday the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) delivered a report on redundant federal programs to Congress. This is the second year GAO produced a detailed report, as required by an amendment to the January 2010 debt ceiling increase from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
Duplicate programs cost taxpayers “tens of billions of dollars annually,” but the bar for efficiency was low:
Last year’s report identified 81 areas to make government more efficient. Congress and the Obama administration have implemented just four of those. There’s been some progress on 60 items, and no progress on 17.
This is better than I expected, since President Obama’s crowning achievement with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress was the sleek, sophisticated “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Obama’s idea of protection and affordability is shown here in a chart you may recognize:
A White House analysis claims 76% of Executive issues identified last year have been “addressed in some way,” while only 39% of recommend Congressional actions had been taken. Because it fits into the template Obama for America has been cranking out for weeks, the president will happily treat GAO’s report as mortar for the “Do-Nothing Congress” pillar of his campaign.
Barack Obama’s solution is for everyone to listen more carefully to Barack Obama and give him more power:
Two things that Congress can do right now to reduce duplication and waste are to pass the proposals in the President’s FY 2013 Budget and to pass the Reforming and Consolidating Government Act the Administration sent to the Hill earlier this year which will set up an expedited process to review government consolidation proposals.
To save yourself the agony of dissecting Obama’s FY13 budget, refer to the Obamacare chart above. Obama loves reminding us he inherited a mess: why didn’t he clean it up while he had a stranglehold in Congress?
Lest you forget Obama’s other first-year priority, review Sen. Coburn’s 2009 report on “stimulus” waste and his 2010 follow-up research on Obama’s approach to smarter, shinier federal government.
Tuesday’s GAO report itself refutes the Obama for America narrative:
And the government has at least 15 major financial literacy programs – including three new ones established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Can you think of a group less suited to financial literacy education than the U.S. government? In addition to the redundant programs Obama created by signing Dodd-Frank, illegally-appointed CFPB Czar Richard Cordray is making up new bureaucracy as we speak!
House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) responded differently to the GAO report, saying, “the enemy isn’t the Democrats, the enemy isn’t the Republicans – it’s the bureaucracy.
Which is worse: a self-serving bureaucracy that’s grown far beyond the bounds of sustainability? Or a Congress that promises generalities, defers specifics to unelected bureaucrats, and refuses to accept responsibility?
Whether you’re most concerned about the big pre-Obama entitlement programs, Obama’s adventures in collectivism, or the tendency of mundane bureaucracy to go all Little Shop of Horrors, this gets to the heart of it:
“Members of Congress don’t get the headlines for fixing something,” said Tom Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste. “They get headlines for creating something.”
Stop Promising and Start Paying would fit on a bumper sticker, but wouldn’t win a lot of votes. So here we are, with a federal government that’s created $15,400,000,000,000 in debt… and counting.