USA: Cutting GAO budgets a guaranteed way to waste even more

image handshake THB Almost every western country is currently developing or has implemented plans to reduce administrative overheads and cost of government services. Often this happened by just reducing service levels and extent instead of looking for ways to spend the government money more wisely.

Sometimes such blunt tactics shed a light on the true intentions behind some of these “cost cuttings” – quick & dirty fixes, reduce social benefits and put even more pressure and fear into the majority of citizens.

Cost cuttings are seen across all areas of government services not stopping even with closing hospitals, fire services or massive cuts with other essential services.

A “Golden Calf” like the DoD budget that does not even pass an financial audit or pet projects of congress men are often excluded from such reviews. The worst of such projects, the notorious KBR LOGCAP contract to supply logistics to U.S. troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is (even publicly) known to be awash in fraud and waste. And with budgets now beyond USD 40 billion on this project alone one could expect finding savings of a few hundred million dollars to be an easy morning exercise.

But some congress men seem to have other ideas of saving government money.

They would instead like to cut the budgets of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to an extend that it most likely will hamper their current and future work. Anyone familiar with government blocking tactics might easily see what really could be behind that – no more finding of “real” waste across government programs.

GAO – a 90-year-old federal agency – that so far has returned USD 87 for every dollar invested, is recommending around USD 50 billion in savings every year and writes over 1,000 reports to Congress annually. About 80 percent of its recommendations over the past five years have been instituted (at least on paper). GAO has an annual budget of about USD 500 million – nothing compared to the savings generated and to other government agencies.

It would not be the first time that some in the U.S. government or even in international organizations within their walled gardens of lobbyism, notorious overspending, fraud and waste in their pet programs are seeing GAO as a big threat to their or their buddies coffers. Suggesting GAO budget cuts might on top of that be also driven by the hope that it diverts such activity away from them.

While anyone who has at least a basic understanding of management or how to efficiently use entrusted funds would in times like these substantially increase the budgets of an successful organization like GAO, those objecting such a proven and most likely successful move should demonstrate their true intentions by stopping to shield other programs off any scrutiny or budget cuts.

Others might go a step further asking if America can still afford to fight two wars it can not win, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the death toll rising to thousands of service men. And for every dead service (wo)man their families and communities are also affected. But when current budget cuts continue maybe soon each weapon fired, each grenade thrown in those wars might not kill that many insurgents but more Americans at home who lack food and health services due to the massive waste of billions within / surrounding those military programs and the lack of funds remaining for essential services at home.

Further reading:
More on the planned GAO budget cuts at Truthout.com. They are asking their readers to email Senator Nelson (link corrected) and tell them to restore the GAO cuts and invest in oversight instead of waste.

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One Response to “USA: Cutting GAO budgets a guaranteed way to waste even more”

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