Sen. Tom Coburn easily finds $95 billion in federal waste
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Sen. Tom Coburn easily finds $95 billion in federal waste

Sen. Tom Coburn easily finds $95 billion in federal waste

So the power-of-the-purse weilding House Republicans will put a stop to it, right?

Dan Calabrese

April 10, 2013

Some of the ways the federal government wastes money are so comical, we would almost miss the laugh lines if they ever went away. Seriously, what would conservatives do if we couldn’t talk about Washington getting three different agencies involved with catfish inspections?

Sen. Tom Coburn offers an outline he calls “Duplication Nation,” which shows some of the easily correctable examples of how the federal government is wasting $95 billion a year with duplicative operations. Easily correctable, that is, if anyone wanted to correct it. Some of the lowlights:

  • 679 renewable energy initiatives at 23 federal agencies and their 130 sub-agencies cost taxpayers $15 billion in FY 2010.
  •  76 programs to prevent or treat drug abuse are spread across 15 agencies, costing $4.5 billion in FY 2012.
  •  Six separate offices at the Department of Homeland Security are involved in research and development. In one example, “two DHS components awarded five separate contracts that each addressed detection of the same chemical. Moreover, DHS did not have the policies and mechanisms necessary to coordinate or track research and development activities across the department.”


This one takes the cake, though, and not only for cluelessness and sheer comedic value:

The Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS) was established in 1950 and tasked with collecting and distributing certain reports.  Despite the fact that nearly 75 percent of these reports are now available online for free, NTIS continues to charge the public, and even other federal agencies, for these reports.  Even more, 95 percent of those on other websites, were available for free.  Making the government looking even more foolish, GAO explains, “The source that most often had the reports GAO was searching for was another website located at”

Sounds like an interesting web site, this of which they speak. I’ll have to check that out some time. Kudos to the government for finding it!

Of course, we all know the government duplicates functions and wastes money. It’s always interesting when a member of Congress highlights the specifics, but this has been going on since time immemorial. The more interesting question is: Who is going to do something about it?

Remember when we elected a Republican House in 2010? Remember how much better we felt because the House has the power of the purse, and at least we knew that Obama couldn’t just keep recklessly spending money unchecked because now he couldn’t spend anything without it passing House, which was now run by our guys?

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