The Government Accountability Office (GAO), issued it first annual report on reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation in government spending (embedded below). This particular report identifies areas where adjustments would generate tens of billions of savings, and the GAO did not even examine the entire federal government.
Within and across these missions, this report touches on hundreds of federal programs, affecting virtually all major federal departments and agencies. Overlap and fragmentation among government programs or activities can be harbingers of unnecessary duplication. Reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of tax dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.
The areas identified in this report are not intended to represent the full universe of duplication, overlap, or fragmentation within the federal government. We will continue to identify additional issues in future reports.
Even so, what this report finds is astounding,
In some cases, there is sufficient information available today to show that if actions are taken to address individual issues summarized in this report, financial benefits ranging from the tens of millions to several billion dollars annually may be realized by addressing that single issue. For example, while the Department of Defense is making limited changes to the governance of its military health care system, broader restructuring could result in annual savings of up to $460 million. Similarly, we developed a range of options that could reduce federal revenue losses by up to $5.7 billion annually by addressing potentially duplicative policies designed to boost domestic ethanol production. Likewise, we identified a number of other opportunities for cost savings or enhanced revenues such as reducing improper federal payments totaling billions of dollars, or addressing the gap between taxes owed and paid, potentially involving billions of dollars. Collectively, these savings and revenues could result in tens of billions of dollars in annual savings, depending on the extent of actions taken.
In total the GAO identified 34 areas for cutting including:
- The fragmented food safety system
- Realigning the military’s medical command
- Streamlining 31 agencies that provide for urgent soldier needs
- Lack of coordination by counter-improvised explosive devices
- Streamlining military intelligence gathering
- Avoiding duplicate purchasing of tactical wheeled vehicles
- Improve oversight of Defense’ prepositioning and stockpiling programs
- Defense business systems can be modernized
- The fragmented economic development programs
- Federal transportation programs that lack accountability
- Duplicative federal effort to provide water to the Mexico border region
- Conflicting federal vehicle energy goals
- Duplicative ethanol programs
- Government IT systems have divergent goals
- Duplicative federal data centers
- Duplicative contracting agencies
- Reviewing tax earmarks
- Modernizing health records by Defense and Veterans Affairs
- Controlling drug costs by Defense and Veterans Affairs
- Integrating public health information systems
- Integrating systems against biowarfare
- Duplication in securing the northern border
- Justice Department explosives investigations
- Transportation Security Agency’s assessments of commercial trucking
- Homeland Security can streamline information collecting with public transit agencies.
- FEMA can improve oversight of grants
- Duplicative development efforts in Afghanistan
- Overlapping arms control bureaus
- Administrative overlap on domestic food assistance
- Lack of coordination of federal homelessness programs
- Waste in transportation programs for the disadvantaged
- Duplication in job training programs
- Multiple programs ensuring teacher quality
- Fragmented financial literacy programs
You can read more about these 34 items beginning on the 10th page of the report embedded below.
- GAO Report says Billions in Duplication, Waste – Yes Congress does look like ‘Jackasses’ (ironmill.com)
- “Hundreds of billions in Federal Government Waste” and related posts (johnrlott.blogspot.com)
- GAO Report – Federal Government Wastes Taxpayers Money…No Kidding! (rightpundits.com)
- Billions Wasted Each Year by Redundant Federal Programs (biggovernment.com)