The American people have made it clear: the federal government must learn to live within its means and stop spending money we do not have. Eliminating or consolidating duplicative federal programs is one common-sense approach that Congress should seriously consider to increase government efficiency, while limiting its size and cost.
Recently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report describing just how bloated the federal government truly is. The eye-opening analysis shows that at a time of trillion dollar budget deficits, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are being wasted each year on redundant government programs, agencies, and offices. According to the GAO's 345-page report, $58 billion in taxpayer funds are spent annually on 100 federal surface transportation programs spread across five Department of Transportation offices and agencies. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to the GAO's findings, ten separate federal agencies and departments are tasked with implementing and overseeing 84 different teacher quality programs, many of which have similar descriptions and goals, at a cost of $4 billion a year. Meanwhile, tens of billions of dollars are expended annually to pay for 80 overlapping economic development initiatives, 47 job training programs, and 17 different disaster preparedness grant programs. The report also shows that the government could save as much as $5.7 billion each year by eliminating wasteful and redundant federal efforts to promote U.S. production of ethanol.
Another outrageous example of government waste and inefficiency noted in the GAO report are the 56 different federal programs spread out over twelve agencies dedicated to promoting financial literacy. Because these agencies do not specifically track resources devoted to these efforts, the GAO was unable to estimate the cost savings of eliminating or consolidating the programs. This inability to estimate the costs of government-sponsored financial literacy programs would be comical if it wasn't such a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars.
It is impossible for the government to deliver quality, cost-efficient services with so many duplicative and wasteful programs hogging up much-needed resources. We need a smaller, more efficient government that will ensure the continued delivery of essential federal services, while allowing individuals and employers to keep more of their hard-earned money to care for their families and invest in their businesses. House Republicans will do our part to achieve this by making good on our Pledge to reduce the debt, stop the federal spending binge, and eliminate wasteful and superfluous government programs.
Rep. Gary Miller represents California's 42nd Congressional District.