Government overlap costs taxpayers billions, GAO reports
The U.S. government has more than 100 programs dealing with surface
transportation issues, 82 monitoring teacher quality, 80 for economic
development, 47 for job training, 20 offices or programs devoted to
homelessness and 17 different grant programs for disaster preparedness.
Another 15 agencies or offices handle food safety, and five are working
to ensure the federal government uses less gasoline.
or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially
save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide
more efficient and effective services," the GAO said. Merging or
terminating operations as recommended in the report could save up to
several billion dollars.
"This report will make us look like jackasses," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), sponsored the amendment requiring the report's publication.
An outspoken critic of government waste, Coburn has said that
Congress and the executive branch are equally to blame for failing to
control spending. Last Halloween, his office published a report
concluding that the federal government has paid nearly $1 billion to at least 250,000 dead people since 2000.
A considerable amount of the GAO report focuses on redundancies at the Pentagon --
Each military service maintains separate buildings, computers and
personnel to address the health concerns of service members and
veterans, but they could all be merged together, the report said.
A 2006 Defense Department study
recommended a unified medical command, but nothing came of it. The idea
could have saved taxpayers between $281 million and $460 million, the
GAO said. Consolidating the Pentagon's contract acquisition offices,
military intelligence operations and efforts to track improvised
explosive devices could save tens of billions more, it said.
Federal transportation issues now involve more than 6,000
workers at five agencies within the Transportation Department,
running about 100 separate funding streams for highways, transit
systems, rail and transportation safety, the report said. The overlap
costs an estimated $58 billion annually.
Through the years, several GAO reports have explored the issue of government redundancy, most recently nine federal agencies spend $18 billion a year on 47 separate job
training programs. All but three of the programs overlap with others.
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