The president says any cuts to the federal leviathan would harm women, children and maybe their puppies and kittens — and so far he’s been able to get away with this fib. Now, the government’s own inspectors general are collectively saying: “Not so fast, Mr. President.”
These watchdogs serve as “the eyes and ears of Congress embedded within the federal bureaucracy,” and they’ve identified $67 billion in rampant waste, fraud and abuse. In a report Tuesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee collected and tallied the value of all the unimplemented recommendations from the internal auditors.
Since President Obama took office in 2009, money-saving ideas have continued to sit on a shelf, collecting dust. Four years ago, there were 10,894 recommended reductions, compared with 16,900 reductions, worth an additional $30 billion, awaiting action today. Since those “figures reflect the most conservative possible accounting” of the number of recommendations, their value is likely to be “significantly higher,” the committee explains.
That’s quite a contrast to the endless parade of sky-is-falling scenarios broadcast by the Cabinet during the sequestration fight over a mere $85 billion reduction in the rate of spending growth. The auditors’ $67 billion in savings is low-hanging fruit, ripe for the plucking, that could easily fund the Departments of Energy, Transportation and Interior, the Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation and the Small Business Administration in their entirety. Not, it goes without saying, that all of them actually deserve full funding.