Thursday, May 7, 2009

Obama to Cut $17 Billion from Budget

In a move that is sure to rifle some conservative feathers, President Obama is going to cut $17 Billion from the Budget:

NEW YORK ( -- The White House on Thursday will detail a proposal to save $17 billion next year by eliminating or reducing 121 federal programs, according to a senior administration official.

Roughly $11.5 billion of the savings would come from the discretionary side of the fiscal 2010 budget -- that is, for programs whose funding is not automatic. And roughly half of the savings would come from non-defense programs, the official said Wednesday.

"In many cases we have multiple programs that do the same things," the official said in a briefing call with reporters. "Duplication can be the enemy of efficiency."

In other cases, the results of the targeted programs didn't justify the expense, the official said.

Among the programs on the president's chopping block:

  1. A long-range navigation system now made obsolete by the GPS. Cost: $35 million.
  2. An early education program called Even Start, the performance of which had been poor. Cost: $66 million.
  3. A Department of Education attaché position in Paris. Cost: $632,000.
  4. The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, which only pays out 20% of its funds in awards every year. Cost: $1 million.
  5. A program that pays states to clean out abandoned mines even after the mines have been cleaned out. Cost: $142 million.

I agree with updating technology to increase efficiency. I hope and pray, for all of us that work in government, that Obama understands this point: If you take away money from departments that need it (cut positions, etc), that you will be asking the same department to do the same level of services with less money and less people. This is why I hate the generic "cut the cost of government" issue that I hear so frequently.

Some of the proposed changes look great, but I hope that we all keep in mind that if a bureaucracy is to work, it must be given the resources to do so.