All told, the GAO targeted as much as $510 billion
on 583 potentially duplicative, wasteful programs overseen by roughly 182 government agencies and offices, stretching across the federal government, from the Department of Defense to Transportation to Health & Human Services. The GAO found that some of the duplication dates back to 2002, but most came in fiscal years 2009 to 2010 and going forward
found as much as $200 billion in duplicative spending going out the door over the next decade on 2,100 data centers alone. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) requested the report, and has said “it makes us all look like jackasses.”
The GAO’s list dovetails with work already done on this waste by the Congressional Budget Office
(see below). Last year, FOX Business found $1.5 trillion in fat marbled through government.
For instance, the U.S. has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, 25 separate programs on health information systems, and 80 programs for economic development. The GAO says there are potentially 35 duplicative programs on infrastructure. And it questions the $58 billion spent annually on 100 surface transportation projects.
Also, Congress has routinely failed to at minimum probe and then stop redundant programs. The GAO says just five of 47 job training and employment programs had been evaluated for efficiencies. “Little is known about the effectiveness of most programs,”
the GAO said in its report. The government also spent $62.5 billion on 18 food assistance programs, but “little is known about the effectiveness
of [11 of the 18 programs] because they have not been well studied,” the GAO said.