Press reports say that Congress is about to enact a nominal spending cut of 10 percent in the U.S. Government Accountability Office budget. The mind-boggling stupidity of this action is frankly beyond comprehension. Anyone who knows anything about the budget knows that the GAO is the primary source for detailed analyses of government programs. If Congress really wants to cut the budget without just taking a meat-ax to every program regardless of the consequences it needs the GAO desperately. It is the strongest ally any budget cutter could possibly have. GAO analysts know the ins and outs of government programs better than anyone in Washington. Its database is filled with decades full of reports recommending savings that would have saved trillions of wasted dollars over the years if they had been followed. Instead of slashing GAO’s budget, Congress ought to be increasing it.
Bruce Bartlett is a columnist for Forbes.com, the online side of Forbes, the nation’s premier financial magazine.
He served for many years in prominent governmental positions including executive director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Deputy Assistant Secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush Administration, and as a senior policy analyst in the White House for Ronald Reagan.
Bruce is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Impostor: How George W. Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, and thousands of articles in national publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, Fortune and many others. He appears frequently on CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN and Fox News, and has been a guest on both the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report.
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