Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Newest Fox News piece: GAO Report and Government Waste -- Can You Spell O-U-T-R-A-G-E?

My newest piece starts this way:

We are used to hearing about fraud and government programs that fail to accomplish their goals. It now appears that yet another category might be important: duplication. Hundreds of major government programs have been discovered to duplicate what other government programs are doing. If we are to believe a new Government Accountability Office report, consolidation of programs could easily save up to $200 billion over the next decade.

Call it "press release government." For politicians, the best way to be seen as being actively involved and to viewed as caring about a problem is to set up a new government program and then claim credit for it. It doesn't seem to matter if there are already 17 other programs that help people get nutritious food or 79 other programs to provide transportation for the disadvantaged, adding another program shows that the politician really cares. It is the equivalent of building on another living room to a house when there are already several of them.

Creating new additional government programs spread across different government agencies also means that additional congressional committees can try claiming oversight. Government housing programs are spread across every place from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Interior, Department of Labor, Federal Housing Finance Board, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thus, when there is a housing problem, congressmen and Senators from a range of different committees can claim legitimate reasons to run before the television cameras and hold committee hearings. . . .

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