The 10th edition of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) duplication report came out this week. With it, comes a massive update in its projected savings.
Since the report’s inception, GAO reports that it has generated $439 billion in taxpayer savings, up $166 billion from just last year!
The annual GAO Duplication report was created by an amendment offered by our late founder, Senator Coburn during the 2010 debt ceiling hike debate (you can read more about the history and legacy of this amendment in a joint op-ed I published with Dan Lips here).
Since 2011, GAO has outlined 908 actions across 325 areas of duplication, fragmentation, and inefficiencies for Congress and the Executive Branch to address.
The good news is, 519 of these have been addressed (57 percent) resulting in $393 billion in financial benefits so far and $36 billion more yet to be accrued.
The not so great news, the other 43 percent of the recommended actions that have not been addressed represent tens of billions more in potential taxpayer savings. Notably, these recommendations pertain to the largest categories of spending in the federal government.
The Department of Defense leads the way with most open recommendations with 93, followed by the Department of Health and Human Services (55), the IRS (47), and the Department of Homeland Security (36).
The report also outlines 14 recommendations that would yield over $1 billion in savings…each! This includes major programs such as federal crop insurance, naval shipbuilding, nuclear waste treatment, and disability insurance that would save billions.
A lot of these major savings can only be generated by congressional action. Unfortunately, Congress has only acted on one-third of GAO’s recommendations since 2010 (35 out of 110).
Unfortunately for young Americans, Congress has been much better at creating new programs than fixing and consolidating the ones that already exist.
If there is one thing that is clear in this time of uncertainty, it’s that the federal government is going to need to make some major changes to shore up our depleted finances. Thankfully the GAO duplication report is an easy place to start to get major, common-sense reforms.
Thank you GAO!