FORT MYERS, Fla. - Remember the sequester? The $85 billion cut you hear so much about is small potatoes according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The report says the federal government wastes more money than the sequester is supposed to save.
Many would argue the programs named in the report aren't wasteful. It's just that we may not need two, or three, or 68 of the same thing. That's how many wind energy projects you pay for that are studying the same thing. Nine different federal agencies spend about $4 billion of your money on wind initiatives.
There are three different agencies that inspect catfish, which according to the report wastes $14 million a year.
And the Defense Department spends up to $200 million on 159 different contractors to teach foreign languages.
Confused yet? So are we.
"The majority of the agencies have no idea what they're spending on these programs. The question I have is why not? And why haven't we done something about this," Sen. Tom Coburn (R) OK, asked on the Senate floor.
President Obama has called for eliminating some of the redundant programs, including one of the catfish inspection agencies. In his budget address last month, the President said his cuts will save more than the sequester.
"And that's why my budget replaces these cuts with smarter ones, making long-term reforms, eliminating actual waste and programs we don't need anymore."
Some of the money doesn't seem to be working. 10 Cabinet level agencies spend $4.5 billion a year on 76 drug abuse prevention programs. Yet Americans are using more drugs. The government says the rates of drug use the last three years were some of the highest on record.
In all there's no telling how much could be saved. The GAO says tens of billions, but even that is just a guess.