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The Willis Report

Cut Back on Duplicate Programs to Ease the Deficit

A federal watchdog agency says the government wastes billions of taxpayer dollars each year.

I know... shocker.

But this particular study found dozens and dozens of overlapping and duplicative federal programs. All these programs exist - as we head toward a $1.6 trillion deficit this year.

Republican Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn was the driving force behind this study. He says, "We are spending trillions of dollars every year and nobody knows what we are doing."

For example, we're paying for 47 job training programs - with a budget of $18 billion. We have 47 programs working on the same thing - and unemployment is still at 9%. So they're really effective at that.
Then there are 80 programs to help poor and disabled people with their transportation needs— 80.

There are 82 programs to improve teacher quality, for a cost of $4 billion, and they're not all in the Department of Education - but rather spread across ten agencies including the Energy Department, and even NASA.

There are 80 different programs all targeted at economic development - 52 for "entrepreneurial efforts,” 35 for infrastructure and 26 for telecommunications.

There are 56 groups to help people understand finances... I wonder if any of them work with members of congress?

One of the reasons for all the overlapping? New laws give rival agencies different responsibilities for jobs that are closely related - if not the same.

A recent farm bill makes the Agriculture Department responsible for monitoring catfish, but the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for overseeing the seafood industry.

Meanwhile the FDA oversees the safety of chicken feed, but the Agriculture Department is responsible for chickens.

All told, there are 18 federal programs that spent more than $62 billion on food and nutrition, 11 of which have never been studied for their efficiency.

And this one is a particular favorite: according to The Wall Street Journal, one government agency encourages the purchase of electric cars while another is pushing to reduce electricity consumption.

I kid you not.

The list goes on and on and on.

While I say cut whenever and wherever you can, this report gives congress a long, long list of easy targets - without having to make Americans sacrifice important services.

Streamlining the bureaucracy in D.C. alone could save billions. So what are we waiting for?

Be sure to catch the Willis Report on the FOX Business Network every weekday from 5-6pm ET.

Gerri Willis joined Fox Business Network (FBN) in March of 2010. Willis is an anchor and personal finance reporter for the network.

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