Cutting Duplicate Programs Can Save Billions

Mar 5, 2012

Last week, the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) dropped a hefty report about a host of duplicative programs costing the federal government billions of dollars.

In an op-ed in today's Washington Examiner, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) hits us with a few examples:

Congress has created 209 federal programs for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, spread across 13 federal agencies, costing taxpayers $3 billion annually. We are spending nearly $4 billion each year on more than 200 overlapping Department of Justice crime prevention grants.

So you didn't have to, I dug around and found two more overlapping programs:

  1. There are fourteen programs at the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency focusing on "reducing mobile source diesel emissions."
  2. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created by the Dodd-Frank law has an Office of Financial Education to promote financial literacy. This activity is similar to the Treasury Department's Office of Financial Education and Financial Access.

These are just a few of the "32 areas of extensive duplication, fragmentation and overlap" in this report that follows up a similar GAO report issued last year. All these programs have well-intentioned goals, but these duplicative efforts wastes taxpayer dollars that we can't afford. Just like how a business has to pare back expenses, this report offers Congress some low-hanging fruit to make government smaller and smarter.

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