The Road to Bureaucratic Hell is Paved with the Govt's Best Cost-Cutting Intentions

by Gerri Willis

A new government report on an obscure Obama initiative shows just how inept our government really is.

It goes back to 2010 when the president came out with an idea to save money.

He said the government had too many data centers -- rooms of computers storing government information, like census data or tax returns. The president said we could save $3 billion dollars by consolidating them and getting rid of redundancies.

Unfortunately the numbers just don't add up.

The GAO -- Government Accountability Office -- just came out with a report on the progress of the initiative, and the results are unbelievable.

The government report noted that the federal government's total electric bill for these data centers was about $450 million annually. That's a lot of money, right? It would be great to save some of it with energy efficient buildings.

But compare our current bill to the projected cost of powering Obama’s consolidated data centers: $7.4 billion a year.

So for every dollar we save on electricity, we're going to spend $16 on efficiency?

This is like buying a six-pack of soda for $2 so you can recycle the cans for five cents each.

This GAO report also uncovered serious problems with how government agencies are implementing the program:

Out of 24 agencies, just 3 have submitted complete inventories of their data centers. Only one has actually submitted a complete consolidation plan. On the other hand, almost three-quarters of the agencies aren't providing a cost-benefit analysis. Maybe that's why the math doesn't add up.

And there's another problem with the plan: The government doesn't even know how many data centers it has!

When they launched the consolidation program, the government thought it had 1,100 data centers.

Over the next year, they "discovered" nearly 1,000 more! The latest count? 3,133.

I think it's embarrassing that the government has bought more resources than it can count.

If that's not bad enough, the GAO report chronicles all the people in charge of administering this program:

The office of management and budget appointed two executive sponsors.

The General Services Administration created the FDCCI -- that's stands for Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative -- program management office.

And what does this government report call for?

More oversight.

This is more proof that the government is flat-out dysfunctional. A program meant to cut costs and shrink the government ends up creating a new bureaucracy to oversee it.

My conclusion? If we want to see change in government, it has to come from the outside, not from within. Because the road to bureaucratic hell is paved with the government's best cost-cutting intentions.