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Using the GAO report to streamline government operations and reduce spending

Updated on January 30, 2013

Earlier this year the GAO issued a report identifying duplications within the various government departments and agencies. To clarify the duplications identified in the report amount to multiple agencies/departments overseeing their responsibilities for specific topics. This duplication was created by laws generated by Congress where multiple agencies or departments have been given some authority for the same topic but different aspects. In this respect one agency may a violation exist while another says no. Individuals and businesses/organizations are at a loss as to how to comply with conflicting decisions between departments.

It is important to remember that there are hundreds of agencies within the departmental with varied responsibilities with the current government structure. The fact that multiple agencies or departments are involved with monitoring compliance or providing guidance to individuals and businesses/organizations for specific laws has been a fact for years. Dealing with the government structure as it is and has been costs the private sector money which could be better spent on expanding business and hiring more employees. There were and are many cases where multiple regulations are issued by different departments/agencies which place different requirements on citizens and businesses to which they must comply. This can and does cause confusion.

The situation in the preceding paragraph is not meant to present a picture where I am criticizing the structure of departments and agencies as the structure is not the problem. Each agency has a reporting structure but there is no defined reporting structure between departments and agencies. To put it more clearly there needs to be a reporting structure for various topics between agencies where a decision by one supersedes the decisions of others on the same topic. Interdepartmental responsibilities must and should be identified as to what government entity has the ultimate responsibility for various laws and regulations on the books. This cannot be accomplished by the departments and agencies themselves but must be initiated by Congress. Congress is the one who has created this situation and they are the only resource who can resolve it.

I understand the need in some cases where various aspects of laws on the books fall under specific departments/agencies such as the FDA and the Department of Agriculture. These two agencies have specific responsibilities and both impact the food that is grown to feed us and sometimes other countries in the world. The example of these two departments is the tip of the iceberg to coin a phrase as there are many situations identified within the GAO report. The point I am making is that the laws and responsibilities passed by Congress must clearly identify who the ultimate responsibility for various aspects/situations associated within specific laws. Basically if a conflict exists where different decisions are made with regards to things such as food, which agency or department has the final say on actions required when a violation is identified.

Our government does have some issues/problems not the least of which is the current deficit and the fiscal cliff. Our government though it has some problems is still one of the greatest if not the greatest government in the world. Many governments of the world have faced or are facing tough fiscal issues and the actions of our government will or can have an impact on the world economy it agreement can be reached to address the economic issues of the day. It is hoped the issues identified within the GAO report issued earlier this year will be a starting point to have a more streamlined government. A sound fiscal policy whatever it involves must be a bi-partisan solution. As a statement by President Obama indicates nobody will get all they want in an agreement and all sides must work together for the common good of the country. We elect those in Congress to make the necessary tough decisions and our fiscal policy is one which cannot be ignored or kicked down the road for future elected officials to resolve. It must be solved now not later.


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