Lurita Doan

Obama is a national embarrassment and each day proves himself even more incapable of honestly confronting the nation’s urgent issues.  Just days ago, Americans were once again left gob-smacked as Obama beat the drums for the SAVE awards, his signature effort to cut the $1.4 trillion annual deficit.    This Obama initiative hopes to demonstrate the president’s commitment to fiscal sanity by cutting wasteful spending.

The basic idea of the SAVE awards is a good one.  Federal employees are encouraged to identify and propose cost-saving ideas and to finger poorly performing programs that should be cut.  With an almost $4 trillion annual federal budget, there are many government programs, redundancies and inefficient operations that are begging for reform.  Federal employees that offer the best ideas are not only praised for their efforts but are promised a special meeting with the President. 

However, after reviewing the “winners” of the SAVE Program it is impossible not to feel depressed and dismayed.   So what are some of this year's SAVE proposals?  Share tools at NASA, eliminate an SSA magazine sent to less than 90,000 people, reduce the number of law books ordered annually. 

Please understand me--these are not bad ideas,  I truly believe that every little bit counts, and that all federal workers need to look for ways to cut costs.  The federal workers who have proposed these ideas should be commended for taking the initiative to review their work environment and suggesting ways to improve the associated costs. 

But is this the best the government can really do?  With over $3 trillion in annual spending, is this really it?   Even the most optimistic assumptions of savings from any of these ideas would likely result in savings of less than $1 million a year. 

With a national debt now approaching $15 trillion, due largely to new spending and borrowing during the first three years of the Obama Administration, perhaps we should cheer any effort, regardless of how puny it might be, that this President makes towards fiscal sanity. 

But, the SAVE program is misleading and, in reality, does not save taxpayers' money.  An honest accounting of the government costs of running the SAVE Program would show that the program costs exceed the anticipated taxpayer money saved from the winning proposals.  

Upon closer inspection it is clear that the government’s SAVE program supports costs such as the costs for advertising, web design, web maintenance, database design and maintenance, software support, time and manpower costs spent reviewing the "tens of thousands of proposals", the cataloguing costs of the review and the staffing costs to track all of the recommendations, the staff required to  manage the 18,000 submissions, and the meeting space, communication costs and amenities required for the ongoing review process of 18,000 submissions.  It is likely that the SAVE program actually costs taxpayers much more money than it saves.

Yet, President Obama seems not only completely comfortable with smallness of the ideas for cutting government waste, but unconcerned with the fact that his signature idea to cut wasteful government spending is itself an example of wasteful spending.  Nor does Obama understand that the paltriness of the savings is just one flaw in the program. There are also larger, opportunity costs to be considered when the president, the leaders at OMB and federal agency executives spend valuable time on discussing these ideas rather than working to identify big changes to reduce the deficit.

But that’s not all.  Last week, Obama also announced his latest money saving ideas, signing an Executive Order to force the federal government cut back on the number of promotional mugs (yes, coffee mugs) that federal agencies order (ironically, one of the products that is usually produced in America) and Obama has ordered a reduction in the number of honorary plaques.

Chotskys. Limiting chotskys is Obama's big budget reduction plan.  How sad is that?  With a seemingly endless array of poorly performing government programs, wasteful redundancies and wasteful spending, Obama has focused on coffee cups?

Even if Obama were to succeed in eliminating all federal expenditures on chotskys, those dollars would not be anywhere near enough to pay for the security costs for even one of his "date nights' to New York.

As if that weren't sad enough, Obama, when not championing Lilliputian efforts to save taxpayer money, sought to show his commitment to helping small businesses.  Americans know that small businesses are struggling and they are telling anyone that will listen that excessive government regulations are killing job creation and expansion of small businesses. 

Unfortunately,  Obama’s  bold “new” plan to get small businesses moving again does nothing about reducing excessive regulations.  Instead, Obama "new" idea is to pay small business federal contractors faster, within 15 days.  But--memo to Obama--that rule is already on the books and has been government policy since the 1999 OMB Final Rule on Prompt Payment Act -- Section 1315.5.

In fact, the 1999 rules provides the authority for payments to be made even faster than 15 days with the presentation by the business to the government of a proper and approved invoice.

So Obama, and OMB have once again wasted precious taxpayer dollars to repackage an existing rule, attempting to snare some positive press by trying to pass off existing rules as new.  Maybe it's plagiarism.  Maybe it's theft of another administration's intellectual property.  Maybe it's just emblematic of the colossal ignorance of Obama and the members of his Administration.  But, one thing is clear--Obama doesn't know what to do.

Obama is bankrupt of ideas and our nation is suffering.  So Obama continues--advocating paltry, Lilliputian cuts and announcing rules that already exist.  Americans--there you have it.  Avoidance, Denial and Neglect -- Obama's true legacy to the American people.


Lurita Doan

Lurita Alexis Doan is an African American conservative commentator who writes about issues affecting the federal government.