The "Campaign to Cut Waste" is underway!
On June 13, President Obama announced that he was putting Vice President Joe Biden in charge of a new initiative, the aforementioned "Campaign," which aims to save billions of dollars by rooting out government waste. Some of the priorities include rewriting wasteful government contracts, selling off federal property, reducing improper payments under government assistance programs, and cutting unnecessary administrative costs. (Did you know that there are over 2,000 separate websites across the federal government?) The Executive Order establishing the Campaign lays out two key initiatives: (1) establishing an Oversight and Accountability Board to help federal agencies improve their performance and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse across the government; and (2) directing Cabinet members to report progress on cutting waste directly to the president.
President Obama should be commended for recognizing that waste is a drain on the federal government's resources. But will the modest savings that the Campaign will generate be enough? Of course not – as Vice President Biden said, "This is not the answer to our long-term economic problems worldwide and solving the multitrillion-dollar accumulated debt, but it's really important. It's about changing the attitude of how we do business." (It should be noted that Biden is separately negotiating with bipartisan members of Congress on a package designed to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion and pave the way for an increase of the debt limit this summer – no easy feat.)
Hey, at this point anything helps…but to truly solve our nation's deficit spending and massive debt burden, the Administration – and Congress – will have to make some really difficult decisions. The question remains – do they have the stomach for it?