Doubled the programs, doubled the sums, it’s GAO’s statement of how Congress wasted our funds!
Today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its annual duplication report, showing once again that DoubleMint Gum is the official sponsor of the federal government. This is the eighth edition of GAO’s annual look at program duplication, overlap and fragmentation in the federal government. The annual examination was first requested by our founder, former Senator Coburn, who had the provision included in the 2010 debt limit increase.
Over the last seven years, GAO has highlighted 278 areas and made 724 recommendations. Fortunately, the reforms that have been implemented have resulted in $178 billion in benefits to taxpayers. However, tens of billions of savings more could be saved as Congress has only addressed 31 percent of potential actions, and the Executive Branch has only addressed 55 percent.
The 2018 report highlighted 23 areas of duplication, overlap, fragmentation and other areas that could produce cost savings. Here are some of the highlights:
- A 2013 Coast Guard study found 18 “unnecessarily duplicative boat stations with overlapping coverage” that could be permanently closed. Yet, they remain open. Closing these boat stations could save taxpayers $290 million over 20 years.
- The Department of Defense (DoD) has been requesting authority from Congress to consolidate overlap in its distribution centers that could save $527 million over 5 years. Congress has yet to provide this authority.
- DoD is upgrading the Global Positioning System (GPS), a complex and expensive process that will cost $2.5 billion, involve one million receiver cards, and 716 weapon system types. GAO reports there is no coordination plan for this massive project which could lead to large delays and cost overruns.
- The federal government has 163 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education programs that totaled $2.9 billion. Nearly all of them overlapped with at least one program.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of food safety inspections for all seafood imports except for catfish – which is handled by Department of Agriculture (USDA). Consolidation could save millions.
- The Air Force could save $1.5 million annually by adopting a new currency exchange rate that locks in rates 3 days ahead of exchange rather than 5 days.
- GAO recommended changes in 2005 to supply functions at DoD depots. The Air Force and Navy implemented them, but the Army and Marine Corps has not, leaving tens of millions in savings on the table.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) holds the Universal Service Funds’ $7 billion account in a private bank account which they pay $1 million in annual fees to manage. GAO recommended that these federal dollars should be managed by the Treasury in 2005.
- GAO analysis found that if Congress grants a Department of Energy facility in Washington the authority to treat low-level radioactive waste in a manner similar to a DOE facility in South Carolina, it could save tens of billions in tax dollars.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducted a National Research Program study on taxpayer compliance for the first time in 30 years. But the IRS is not using the results of the study to improve compliance that could save millions annually.
- The Navy has awarded hundreds of millions in incentive bonuses to shipbuilders without evaluating whether the incentive bonuses are effective.
Read the full 2018 report here, and be sure to check out 2017 and 2016’s write-up from Pursuit as well.