February 29, 2012
NYC Letter: Team Barry Tackles Government Waste, Part I
Day 1,132 of CHOPE
Special Leap-Day Edition
(A) If we’re to going to rebuild our economy on a solid foundation, we need to change the way we do business in Washington. We need to restore the American people’s confidence in their government – that it is on their side, spending their money wisely, to meet their families’ needs.
That starts with the painstaking work of examining every program, every entitlement, every dollar of government spending and asking ourselves: Is this program really essential? Are taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Can we accomplish our goals more efficiently or effectively some other way?
It’s a process we have already begun, scouring our budget line by line for programs that don’t work so we can cut them to make room for ones that do.
(B) Now, we’ve made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. ... But we need to think bigger.
(A) talking the talk
WEEKLY ADDRESS: EFFORTS TO REFORM
SPENDING, GOVERNMENT WASTE
Saturday, April 18, 2009 (White House)
(B) bragging on his strides
STATE OF UNION ADDRESS
WASHINGTON January 25, 2011 (White House)
Waste continues to out-stride Mr. Obama's waste crusade.
February 28, 2012 (FNC) - According to the Government Accountability Agency's 2012 annual report, nearly every department of the Executive Branch has room for improvement.
The report, which gives 51 areas and recommends 130 actions, follows a 2011 GAO report that showed 81 areas and 176 actions to be taken to "reduce or eliminate unnecessary duplication, overlap, or fragmentation or achieve other potential financial benefits."
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also a witness Tuesday, estimated that waste and duplication costs taxpayers more like $100 billion per year. Mr. Coburn:Not one corner of our daily life remains untouched by a government program or federal effort. From what we eat and drink, to where we live, work, and socialize, nearly every aspect of human behavior and American society are addressed by multiple government programs.
Mr. Obama's crusade against waste misses the point. The big waste isn't in the administration of the spending, it's the outsized spending itself. When it suits him, Mr. Obama acknowledges this.
(A) So because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse – you’ll hear that phrase a lot. "We just need to eliminate waste and abuse!" The implication is that that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices.
(B) Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments.
(A&B) REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON FISCAL POLICY
WASHINGTON April 13, 2011 (White House)
Both these quotes come from the very same speech, delivered without a whit of self-parody.
Back to Mr. Obama's 2011 SOTU:
In the coming year, we’ll also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you’ll be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history.
Americans used to have a low-tech tool for knowing how their tax dollars were being spent. It was called a "budget".
The last time the Democrat Senate produced a budget resolution was April 29, 2009 -- 1,035 days ago. Democrats are fine with that.
HOYER: NO BUDGET RESOLUTION THIS YEAR
BECAUSE OF DEFICIT CONCERNS
WASHINGTON June 22, 2010 (CBS News)
WASHINGTON May 20, 2011 (LAT) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it would be "foolish" for Democrats to propose their own federal budget for 2012, despite continued attacks from Republicans that the party is ducking its responsibility to put forward a solution to the nation's deficit problems.
And they don't look inclined to produce a budget this year either.
HOYER: 'THE FACT IS YOU
DON’T NEED A BUDGET'
WASHINGTON February 8, 2012 (CNS News)
Democrats didn't present a budget in 2010 before the midterms for fear of being punished at the polls as reckless spenders. They were punished anyway. Having lost the House, the Senate Democrats abandoned the budget process altogether.
What does the budget have to do with government waste? A budget forces the spenders to show their hand. (Not that it stops them from wasting your money.)
Historically, the job of proposing and approving a budget has been a crucial one for the Congress. While actual line-by-line spending decisions are made later, during the appropriations process, the budget is the one federal document that lays out a vision for the nation's finances. It is designed to be the moment when Congress takes a hard look at the books and makes sound plans for America's fiscal future.
The lack of a budget plan for the past three years has exacerbated America's fiscal problems because, for three years, Congress has not passed a roadmap to bring spiraling deficits under control. Stan Collender, longtime congressional budget analyst with Qorvis Communications in Washington:Congress is legally required to consider a budget resolution every year, but there’s no penalty for not doing it, and no one has any standing to sue. ... What avoiding a floor vote on a budget does is eliminate the need for members of Congress to go on record for or against a deficit.
Think bigger.Posted by Damian at February 29, 2012 11:00 PM