Budget Background

Today, GAO identified massive duplication, fragmentation, and other inefficiencies that cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year in waste and degraded service—all while President Obama’s budget surges federal spending across the board and adds $13 trillion to the debt.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its first annual report on government duplication today. The report identifies 34 broad areas of duplication as well as 47 additional areas of potential savings. In all, GAO noted duplication in over 546 individual programs. This is GAO’s first annual report on government duplication, but given the size and scope of the problem, there is likely much more duplication and fragmentation left to find.

Meanwhile, the president’s FY 2012 budget proposal continues the duplication, fragmentation, and inefficiencies while running a $1.6 trillion deficit.

Families across the country are trimming their budgets, but Washington continues its spending binge. Economists already warn that our crushing debt is stifling economic growth—now is the time to reduce the size of government, not add more unnecessary programs.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Government spends $18 billion on 47 different job training programs, yet the president requested $380 million for a new program that will “replicate proven strategies” to develop even more job training programs. Does the president think 47 programs are not enough?
  • $4 billion on 82 duplicative “teacher quality” programs in 10 agencies. Yet the president’s budget calls for $20 million for a new NSF program to improve teacher quality for science education programs.
  • There are 80 programs providing transportation to disadvantaged persons in 8 departments. GAO found $2 billion in costs for just 29 of these programs, but with the extent of fragmentation in this area, was unable to identify total cost for the other 51 programs.
  • The U.S. Government spends $62.5 billion on 18 domestic food and nutrition programs, and $2.9 billion on 20 homelessness programs. The report notes, “This can create unnecessary work for both providers and applicants and may result in the use of more administrative resources than needed.” $58 billion spent on over 100 duplicated and fragmented surface transportation programs.