Government Spending: How Can We Best Address the Billions of Dollars Wasted Every Year?

Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Full Committee on Oversight and Reform
Hearing Date: February 5, 2013 1:00 pm Rayburn House Office Building

For months, we have engaged in a national discussion about how government takes and spends the money of hardworking, American taxpayers. At the crux of this discussion is whether or not taxpayers should be paying more to fund rampant government spending. But the question few have asked is this: should government be spending as much as it currently does?I come from a business background, where the only way you can decide if you should spend money on a service is to conduct an honest and transparent performance review of what and how that service delivers. Government could gain much from adopting more of this philosophy. While no one is questioning the necessity of government services, it is our duty to ensure that those services are being delivered in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. Too often the distinction between the need for a service and the need for solvency is blurred or ignored by political motivators. We must move beyond political divisions and face our financial realities in order to truly fix what is clearly broken.We have a blueprint. The GAO has published report after report identifying dozens and dozens of government agencies that are duplicative, over-lapping, and cost hardworking Americans tens of billions of dollars a year. Last year, the federal government reported a total of $108 billion in improper payments made by entitlement programs. In 2011, the Inspector General community identified potential savings produced from government reform totaling almost $100 billion.
Time is running out for the countless Americans who will lose access to important government services if a real solution is not reached. We need resolve from both parties and the president to do what is right on an issue that transcends ideological differences or political parties. I do not care where you fall on the political spectrum: if you have an idea to reform government so it is more efficient and more effective, this Committee needs to hear it.
What we have here today is a diverse panel of witnesses who are approaching this question from a broad range of perspectives. We may not all agree, but this is exactly the kind of discussion we need to be having if we are going to get serious about fixing this problem.

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. Thomas A. Schatz President Citizens Against Government Waste Document
Ms. Ryan Alexander President Taxpayers for Common Sense Document
The Honorable Dan G. Blair President National Academy of Public Administration Document
Mr. John M. Kamensky Senior Fellow IBM Center for the Business of Government Document