The U.S. government gives its citizens lots of overlap and inefficiency for their tax dollars

Editorials

The U.S. government gives its citizens lots of overlap and inefficiency for their tax dollars

Editorials

Wednesday, March 2nd 2011, 4:00 AM

Simmonds/Getty

Government is often accused of trying to solve problems by throwing money at them, but things are actually much worse. The U.S. tries to solve problems by throwing money away.

Have you got a hangnail? Somewhere in the federal bureaucracy there has to be a program even for such a minor ill. Because there are dozens and dozens of programs for everything else. So says a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

As in 82 separate programs to improve teaching, all with their own budgets, adding up to $4 billion, and nobody in charge of making sure they don’t overlap.

As in 47 programs to fight unemployment, 62 to help the “transportation-disabled,” 56 to cure financial illiteracy and 20 to attack homelessness.

There are 18 programs that spend $62.5 billion to provide food and nutritional assistance, including one run by, of all places, the Department of Homeland Security. Take that, Osama!

How much of the $3.6 trillion federal budget (including $1.6 trillion in borrowed money) is wasted? Hundreds of billions.

Yes, Washington has a huge deficit, and it’s measured both in dollars and sense.

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