GAO Report Identifies Immediate Ways for Government to Cut Waste and Save Taxpayers Money

David Williams

April 16, 2014

Tax Day and the pain of filing and paying taxes has come and gone.  When Congress returns back to work next week (yes, they’re on another break) they will have quite a bit of work to do to do to ensure that next year’s Tax Day isn’t as painful.  Congress and the President have found numerous ways to spend tax dollars, it is now time to find ways to cut spending.  The good news is that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its fourth consecutive report on duplicative spending and cost saving recommendations that could save taxpayers billions of dollars.

The report details 64 new actions to address concerns in 26 areas. The 2014 report notes that over the past four years, 123 actions have been addressed, 172 actions have been partially addressed, and 75 actions have not been addressed.

Taxpayers should be both disappointed and also encouraged by the findings in the report.

Highlights of potential savings from the GAO report include:

  • DoD operates 12 satellite control networks, and one Air Force base alone has 10 different satellite programs, operated by 6 different control centers. (Estimated savings: upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars annually)
  • DOD funds 34 organizations conducting studies and analysis research for military services or other departmental offices. Total spent on these programs annually is unclear.
  • Overlapping Disability and Unemployment Benefits – 117,000 individuals “double-dipped” from UI and DI in FY 2010, totaling more than $850 million. This is a major opportunity for cost savings simply by enforcing the rules and regulations for who can receive these benefits.
  • GAO noted more than $4 billion in immediate savings from unused credit subsidies in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.
  • GAO estimates that at least $21 billion could be saved by improve the process for reviewing, approving, and making transparent the basis for any Medicaid demonstration projects.

T.S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land begins with the line “April is the cruelest month…” Even though the poet wasn’t talking about the American taxpayer in his poem, taxpayers will continue to think that this refers to them until Congress gets rid of wasteful spending and reduces the tax burden for all Americans.  The latest GAO report is the first step in bringing more efficiency to the federal government.