Obama Budget Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

By Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s puny election year plan to  consolidate a handful of government agencies and programs is about  three years and $4 trillion too late.

With America’s jobless rate stuck at a few tenths below 9  percent, and his dismal job approval polls in the mid-40s — the  equivalent of a failing grade — Obama is attempting to impersonate a  budget cutter. He’s fooling no one.

For the last three years, he’s been spending our money like  there’s no tomorrow, signing billions of dollars in bills to create  dozens of agencies and assorted bureaucracies that ar ballooning the  federal payroll. But he’s had little to say about the need to reduce  the size of government, let alone attack rampant duplication in a  dangerously obese government that teeters on the edge of insolvency.

Can this flip-flop have anything to do with the fact that he now  faces a very tough re-election campaign? Or that polls show Mitt  Romney, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination,  with a slight edge in the general election? You betcha.

Nearly a year ago, Obama delivered his State of the Union  address, calling for a leaner and more efficient government. Then he  went back to work on enlarging the government with his multi-trillion  dollar national health care scheme, a huge Consumer Financial  Protection Agency that is hiring armies of bureaucrats to regulate out  lives, and running up deficits that make George W. Bush look like  Ebenezer Scrooge.

If he wanted to cut down the size of the government and eliminate  the deficit, where were his proposals when he got here? Why did he  wait until the start of his re-election campaign?

He came into Washington in January 2009 with a trunk full of  ideas how to spend money, and immediately began spending $800 billion  on a jobs stimulus that created few jobs. But that was small change  compared to what came next: massive spending and huge budget deficits.

In 2009, he ran up a $1.4 trillion budget deficit, followed by a  $1.3 trillion deficit in 2010, another $1.3 trillion in 2011 and is  well on his way to an estimated $1 trillion in 2012.

So here he comes with his plan, if Congress gives him the  authority, to create a new department that will merge the Commerce  Department’s trade and business functions with the Small Business  Administration (SBA), Office of U.S. Trade Representative, Export- Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the  Trade and Development Agency.

Just to prove he’s serious, he throws in the Census Bureau,  Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He  would move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (Commerce’s largest agency) to the Interior Department.

All of this looks like rearranging the deck chairs on the  Titanic that’s about to sink beneath the waves of the 2012 election.  Musical chairs is not a policy to shrink the size of government.

The supposed savings from this rearrangment: a paltry $3 billion  which sounds exaggerated because he doesn’t really get rid of  anything. Government is given to over the top efficiency claims, but  it’s hard to find it in this silly Rube Goldberg contraption concocted  in Obama’s re-election shop.

I have a little experience with many of the agencies that Obama  wants to move around on his monopoly board. In 1980 I wrote Fat City,  a book that proposed eliminating or reducing hundreds of agencies,  departments, programs and other bureaucracies. Many of the agencies  Obama is content to just move around should be eliminated.

The Export-Import Bank and OPIC represent corporate welfare at  its worst, handing out loans and other benefits to rich Fortune 500  companies. SBA has a very limited but costly record in the small  business world and affects a relatively tiny circle of businesses.

Don’t get me wrong. There is certainly a great deal of  duplication across the vast expanse of government where clerks are  busily doing the very same things being done in dozens of other  agencies.

In a report last year on the insane growth of duplication and  overlap throughout the bureaucracy, the Government Accountability  Office discovered 82 programs to improve teacher quality. The GAO said  many if not most of them “share similar goals,” but that “there is no  government-wide strategy to minimize fragmentation, overlap, or  duplication…”

These and other spending scandals were contained in a 345-page  audit, that GAO annually provides to Congress as a result of  legislation authored by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Among its shocking findings as spelled out by Coburn:

— “Twenty agencies operating 56 programs dedicated to financial  literacy.”

— “Eighty economic development programs at four agencies at a  cost of $6.5 billion.”

— “The Department of Transportation spends $58 billion on 100  programs run by five agencies with 6,000 employees that haven’t  evolved since 1956.”

— “Fifteen federal agencies administer more than 30 food- related laws.”

— “At least five departments, eight agencies and more than two  dozen presidential appointees oversee $6.48 billion related to  bioterrorism.”

— There are more than 20 separate programs to help the  homeless, and 80 programs dealing with economic development.

So here comes little Obama with a minuscule, $3 billion pop gun  plan to attack government duplication that won’t make a dent in the  problem.

Last year’s revealing GAO report showed that by ending  duplication “we could save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars  every year,” Coburn says.

It’s clear that neither Obama nor the people around him know  about this report. He should give Coburn a call if he’s serious about  this.

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

3 thoughts on “Obama Budget Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

  1. Friends, we MUST replace this man with one who will restore Constitutional Sanity and Revive the principles that made our Nation under God Great. ONLY Rick Santorum and Rick Perry have the RECORDS that demonstrate a willingness to do that in SPITE of worldly pressures to use a Socialist approach and institute Oppressive means to force us to “Do Good”.

  2. Whoa-ah! Two thumbs straight up on a brilliant piece of writing! It is a fabulous notion to actually see the itemization of government stupidity; moreover, seeing the itemization of the agencies, within so many different departments all working ostensibly on the same items is beyond question the best and most effective way to explain our government and subsequent waste to anyone.

    Bravo!! Bravoooo! Great attention to detail with any and all supporting documentation anyone could hardly ask for and presented in a way that is art! Well-done!

    jps

    • I agree, I think the author was dead on! If you find other fact-based articles worthy of reposting, please let me know. Thank you for your views and comment! I will do whatever I can to defeat Obama in 2012! Kasey Jachim

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