MARCH 02, 2011
As the already-bloated federal government keeps expanding under President Obama, a new congressional report exposes astounding waste in hundreds of duplicate programs that cost U.S. taxpayers billions annually.Released this week by the bipartisan Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the United States Congress, the report is sure to enrage most Americans because it illustrates the sort of corruption that prevails in a government on steroids. In all, investigators found redundancies in more than 540 programs, including education, social services, agriculture and defense.No wonder the nation is $14 trillion in debt. Just take a look at some of the examples listed by the GAO. Ten federal agencies run more than 82 separate programs to improve teacher quality, 20 agencies operate 56 financial literacy initiatives, 80 programs provide the elderly and disadvantaged with transportation, 44 are dedicated to employment training and 20 help the homeless. More than a dozen agencies oversee food safety, including two for eggs alone.Additionally, the Department of Transportation spends nearly $60 billion annually to run more than 100 highway, transit, rail and safety programs and the Environmental Protection Agency and Treasury Department operate identical projects to boost domestic ethanol production. Combining those efforts alone could save the country up to $5.7 billion annually, investigators found.The feds could also save taxpayers lots of money—about $1.75 billion over a decade—if they only managed federal oil and gas resources more efficiently, the GAO found. Uncle Sam should also consider selling abandoned properties that cost millions to maintain. A few years ago the GAO published a report detailing the exorbitant cost of maintaining 927 vacant or underutilized properties throughout the country.Last spring a national news organization published an expose on the dilapidated government buildings that are draining scarce taxpayer resources in the midst of a financial crisis. Many are considered hazardous structures and all are deserted, including prime capitol-area real estate that’s been vacant for nearly a decade. One of the decaying buildings sits in the heart of Washington D.C., within view of the U.S. Capitol.
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