NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Little Progress Notched in Federal Streamlining

February 29, 2012

Washington has a long way to go to reduce the duplication among federal programs that ends up costing taxpayers billions of dollars a year, according to new government reports, says the Wall Street Journal.

  • Examples of such overlap cited in one report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) are 53 programs to help entrepreneurs, 15 unmanned-aircraft programs, and more than nine different agencies involved in protecting food and agriculture systems from disasters and terrorist attacks.
  • The document is a follow-up to a similar report issued almost a year ago by the GAO, which presented a template for lawmakers of both parties to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the federal budget deficit.

However, progress on that front has been limited.

  • The GAO's 2011 report identified 81 areas with unnecessary duplication.
  • The 2012 follow-up report found the government had taken a full range of steps to cut waste in four areas and made partial progress in another 60.

A separate GAO report identified 51 new areas where the government could realize more efficiency.  For example, the GAO highlighted 55 Transportation Department programs to fund freight-transportation projects and 21 programs under five federal agencies to combat nuclear-smuggling overseas.

The GAO recommended merging or consolidating a number of programs both to save money and make government more efficient.

Source: Jeffrey Sparshott, "Little Progress Notched in Federal Streamlining," Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2012.  "Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness," Government Accountability Office, February 28, 2012.

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