John F. Bridgers: Duplication rampant

March 3, 2013 

Duplication rampant

All parties agree that cuts in federal spending are needed.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, in his recent book “The Debt Bomb” emphasizes that the duplication of federal programs along with massive amounts of waste they generate should be given top priority when it comes to spending cuts. Just a few examples cited : 20 agencies run 56 financial literacy programs, 10 agencies run 82 teacher quality programs and 15 agencies monitor food safety (one agency, FDA manages cheese pizza, another, USDA, pepperoni pizza).

A few years ago, Coburn’s staff produced a 400-page report outlining more than $150 billion in government duplication and waste. Congress took no action. However, in 2011 the Senate defeated an amendment that would prevent the creation of duplicate federal programs.

After his many years in the House and Senate, Tom Coburn concludes that Congress prefers to create new programs rather than eliminate program duplication and wasteful spending. It also refuses to do oversight on the programs it creates.

Automatic spending cuts (sequestration) will further delay any rational cuts in government spending and program duplication. It relieves Congress of making difficult spending cut decisions. The can is kicked farther down the road.

John F. Bridgers


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