Democrats in Congress aren’t serious about cutting spending either, even though President Obama has talked about it a lot. Obama seems content with platitudes and disinterested in action. Americans, sadly, have grown used to politicians in Washington that speak eloquently about the necessity of cutting wasteful programs, boasting about their fiscal courage in making hard decisions. But, many of these politicians simply hope that Americans will ignore what they actually do.
When challenged on the Administration’s efforts to cut costs, Obama often cites the SAVE program as one of his centerpieces for finding and eliminating wasteful spending.
The idea, actually a good one, encourages federal employees to recommend ways to cut costs in the federal government. OMB set up a review committee and every federal employee was asked to come up with ideas to save taxpayer money or discover unneeded government programs. Thousands of ideas were submitted, and recently OMB released the list of “winning” ideas. Three, of four finalists, recommended posting various government forms online. The grand champion recommended limiting the mailing of the huge Federal Register to the 8,000 or so government employees that actually need it, instead of the 25,000 that now receive it.
In a government as spendthrift as ours, any recommendations to cut costs are important, but with over a trillion in federal spending annually, is eliminating a federal paper mailer really the best that the Obama Administration can do? Are we to believe that this is their single best idea, that it warrants a meeting with the President and possible inclusion in the President’s State of the Union speech?
My guess is that if the White House honestly tracked the full costs and time spent on administration of the SAVE program, we would learn that the program administration costs exceed the savings gained from such puny ideas.
Proof positive, in case you needed more, that Washington rhetoric on cutting waste, fraud and abuse rarely matches the actions taken. When Senators and the President can characterize themselves as cutters of waste in government spending, while championing some of the worst examples of wasteful subsidies, it tells Americans that our leaders are not yet ready to be held accountable and face our nation’s budgetary challenges with courage, integrity and honesty.