UPDATE: Lynn Woolsey has just tweeted on the matter of reducing wasteful spending
Typical! Does she respond constructively? No, obstructively! She refuses to acknowledge that our domestic spending contains billions of wasteful spending. Instead she retreats again to her usual argument about cutting military spending in Afghanistan. Representative, you do know that both the Senate and the presidency are still controlled by your own party, do you not? And it surely did not escape your attention that the House was a Democrat stronghold until the last election. If you wanted something done about Afghanistan, the best time was prior to November 2010. But even today, you need to persuade your OWN party if you want to cut spending by changing the mission in Afghanistan! I shouldn’t even have to tell you that. Stop pointing fingers at the Republicans and pretending the military war spending overseas can all be loaded on their doorstep. Also, stop pretending that every domestic budget cut the majority in the House proposes will drastically harm someone. That’s nonsense. As the GAO has reported below, we can save $100-200 billion by eliminated the redundancies in our federal government. Get behind that, Rep. Woolsey, instead of whining and being part of the problem instead of the solution.
And now, update finished, let’s get on to the post I wrote earlier today:
As reported here (the source of the graph above), here and here, last month the GAO released a report entitled “Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs” in which it pinpointed
34 areas where agencies, offices, or initiatives have similar or overlapping objectives or provide similar services to the same populations; or where government missions are fragmented across multiple agencies or programs. We also present 47 additional areas—beyond those directly related to duplication, overlap, or fragmentation—describing other opportunities for agencies or Congress to consider taking action that could either reduce the cost of government operations or enhance revenue collections for the Treasury. All of these areas span a range of agencies and government missions: agriculture, defense, economic development, energy, general government, health, homeland security, international affairs, and social services. Collectively, by reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation and addressing these other cost savings opportunities, the federal government could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services—but these actions will require some difficult decisions.
The estimates of cost savings range between $100-$200 billion dollars, and as The Foundry blog notes, the House Republicans who made a campaign promise in 2010 to cut $100 billion from the federal budget, could fulfill that pledge by following the recommendations in this GAO report. They did in fact “tout” the report when it was released, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House’s No. 3 Republican, used the report as cause to support GOP budget priorities. “This goes to show the waste in government,” he said. “We will cut government just as the GAO report says.”
This remains to be seen, Rep. McCarthy. In the current budget standoff between the two parties that may lead to a shutdown of the U.S. government this Friday however, the Republicans have only managed to pass a $61 billion spending reduction in the House, and whatever finally is agreed upon will almost certainly be less. Yesterday, after the White House was unable to break the stalemate, reports like this one indicated that Speaker Boehner was willing to accept $40 billion in cuts, an increase over the $33 billion that had been discussed earlier in bipartisan talks. Needless to say, that would only be 40% of the $100 billion pledge.
And what do we hear from our member of Congress on budget matters? A barrage of tweets about how any and all proposed cuts would be damaging to someone in some way:
GOP budget is one of the most callous and reckless proposals I’ve seen
GOP budget eliminates guaranteed benefits for seniors under #
These particular comments refer to the new Republican proposal for the 2012 budget (which we will discuss in another post), but as usual, Rep. Woolsey can only be negative about the need to cut spending. She never offers any constructive ideas of her own on the subject of non-defense spending decreases. And that prompts me to ask her: why, Congresswoman, don’t you offer something positive by getting behind the recommendations of the GAO’s report on duplication? Why not prove to your constituents and your colleagues that you understand that we cannot continue to spend TRILLIONS, and that we must cut the redundancies in our federal government which cost us billions? Even for someone who thinks the federal government is the be-all, end-all, it should be a no-brainer to support an end to multiple programs or agencies that do the same things. We don’t need “60 financial literacy programs” or “15 different agencies to administer over 30 related food laws.” So, get on board, Rep. Woolsey! Quit being a naysayer and begin supporting a more efficient federal government!