Oh, good: Latest GAO report details billions more in wasteful/duplicative spending


Okay, so I stole the headline from Erika Johnsen, but any other description of this would require inappropriate language:

The government has 76 programs to treat drug abuse spread across 15 different agencies. It has 47 programs for job training. And there are three federal agencies that inspect catfish.

These are among the findings in a new Government Accountability Office report that found 162 areas where services are duplicated or money is being wasted in the federal government. The annual cost of duplicative or wasteful programs is estimated at roughly $250 billion, according to fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Senator Coburn has sent a letter to the Acting Director of the Office of Management & Budget, reminding him that the latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which came out on Tuesday, has identified approximately $95 billion spent on duplicative programs. This is one of the three reports done by GAO over the last three years. And, as the Senator has pointed out, the $250 billion in duplication is almost exactly three times that of sequestration – meaning rather than cut tuition assistance for the Army and Marines, President Obama and Congress could work together to eliminate spending that does literally no good for the American taxpayer.

Here are some of the biggest offenders:

The 76 programs on drug abuse cost roughly $4.5 billion. Two elements of the Department of Homeland Security also used five separate contracts to detect the same chemical.

The report found six overlapping programs in defense aimed at increasing the number of camouflage uniforms from two a few years ago to seven.

The GAO, though, found that renewable energy programs top them all — with 679 overlapping programs.

“Nobody knows what’s going on there. Not the Department of Energy, all these other 13 other agencies that have these programs. Nobody knows. We’re just throwing money thinking it will stick on the wall,” Coburn said.

The full report can be seen here. It’s not pretty. As the Senator put it:

“That’s 250 billion dollars a year, that’s three times what the sequester was,” Coburn said. “Just in waste, in duplication, in stupidity, and lack of efficiency and effectiveness by the federal government. (It) makes you want to pull your hair out.”

In a time when the Obama Administration has targeted cancer treatment and tuition assistance for the Army and Marines through sequestration (though Congress has reinstated the tuition assistance) you’d think the President might consider replacing those cuts with the ones referenced above. Apparently, though, good government is less important than ideology. How shameful.