GAO: Duplication Of Programs Costing Taxpayers Billions
February 29, 2012 by Sam Rolley
A 428-page study conducted by the Government Accountability Office found something infuriating, but likely not surprising to many Americans: overlapping government programs are costing taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
The study noted that in areas ranging from food safety to background checks to breast cancer research, the Federal government has dozens of repeated agency responsibilities, likely costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year.
The Washington Post points out a few of the duplicate government programs in a recent article:
Fifty-three separate programs run by four federal agencies provide economic development assistance to entrepreneurs and several of the programs provide the same type of assistance. There are 17 programs providing “technical assistance” to entrepreneurs: Two at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, six run by the Small Business Administration, five run by the Agriculture Department and four out of the Commerce Department.
The lack of a coordinate reporting system makes it difficult for the National Institutes of Health, Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs to track health research funded by other federal agencies, GAO said, meaning agencies may issue duplicative grants to different research projects on the same topic.
Federal agencies spent at least $79 billion on at least 7,200 investments in information technology last fiscal year. The Pentagon and Energy Department had the most.
The government spent at least $1 billion last year to conduct more than 2 million background checks of federal job applicants, the report said. Costs have grown in recent years in part because at least seven agencies are spending tens of millions of dollars on separate databases to track personnel records.
The GAO also included a list of cost-cutting recommendations for the Federal government.